There is a lot at stake for the Braden River boys basketball team this Friday night when it plays Venice for the Class 7A-District 11 championship.
In fact you might say there is more on the line than just a second straight district title for the Pirates, though that means a lot. But this veteran team has higher goals and a win over Venice would certainly help in many ways.
This game is to clear a much easier path to the Region 3 final and eventual trip to the state final four.
The two top teams in this region appear to be Braden River (22-4) and Stuart Martin County (22-3).
If Braden River beats Venice and gets by its first round region opponent it would be home for the region semifinal most likely against Stuart Martin County, which finished 10-0 in its district.
If the Pirates lose to Venice and go into the regions as district tournament runner-up they would likely have to go to Stuart Martin County for their region quarterfinal game and that is something they want to avoid at all costs.
Here is a little bonus. The District 12 championship game is Saturday night so if the Pirates beat Venice, Braden River head coach Matt Nesser and his staff will be able to scout that game.
The other top teams in Class 7A-Region 3 appear to be Wiregrass (17-9), Tampa Chamberlain (13-7), St. Petersburg (16-9) and Clearwater (18-10).