The Class 8A-11 district championship game wasn't in doubt for long.
Lakewood Ranch High (24-4) started fast and never slowed, beating visiting Venice High 71-38 for its third-straight title. The Mustangs have now won 36 straight games against district opponents dating back to Feb. 2015.
It was a team effort offensively. Only two Mustangs, sophomores Keon Buckley (12) and Christian Shaneyfelt (11), scored double-digits, but 11 different players got on the scoreboard. Coach Jeremy Schiller rested his key players in the fourth quarter.
Schiller said earlier this week, he divided his team and staff in two: People who had won a district title previously, and people who had not. He's going to do the same thing next week, he said, and he can't wait to have everyone stand on the same side this time.
"You never really know what to expect in a district championship," Schiller said. "I trust our guys and I know what we are going to do consistently, but you never know what the other team is going to do. I thought they would come out, be more aggressive and come at us. By slowing down the game, it gave us confidence because of the way we attacked."
Schiller added that he's proud of the way his team has played thus far, but knows there's another step it needs to reach if it wants to win a state title.
"We still haven't clicked on all cylinders for a single game, and we're going to need it," Schiller said. "I'm going to do everything I can to help them get there."
The Mustangs will host Riverdale High (16-9) on Feb. 22 in the regional quarterfinals.