CORAL SPRINGS, FL - In just his first season at the helm of J.P. Taravella High School boys' basketball team, coach Brent Maffett has led the school to its first district championship and first-ever regional quarterfinal win in school history.
“I have been coaching forever, but coming here it was just a matter of changing the culture,” said Maffett, who got two free throws from senior Jalen McKenzie with 3.4 seconds left to lift the host Trojans past Wellington, 64-62 last week. “We knew we had a good team, it was just a matter of putting the pieces together.”
The Trojans won their eighth straight game and improved to 17-5 with the win. Taravella will travel to play Forest Hill in the Class 7A regional semifinal on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
The only time Taravella made it to the regional quarterfinals came in 2005 when they lost to Boyd Anderson, 70-46.
“I believed they had the tools, but maybe not the toolbox when I first got here,” Maffett said. “Sometimes kids just need a vision, and they needed to learn to play at this level. They had never competed at this level. They never had the opportunity to do it. We have a lot of kids that have played together as a team. They have toughness, and they come to work.”
“I don’t have to worry about them,” he added. “They are model students and good kids. They are good student-athletes.”