Pine Forest was definitely into the threes on Friday night.
As in the first three minutes of the third quarter, a quarter in which Pine Forest outscored Pensacola High by a 17-9 margin.
As in No. 33 DeMarcus Glover, who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
And as in three consecutive district titles for the Eagles after another impressive 60-41 win over the Tigers in the District 1-6A title game at Pace High School.
"Three district championships feels good, but there's more at stake, and we're focused this year (on going all the way)," said Glover, who also finished with six rebounds in the win.
After a first half which was dominated by defensive play from both teams, the Eagles (26-1) came out in another gear in the third quarter, something that's become quite a knack for them.
"The first three minutes, (coach Brad Grant) preaches that every day in practice," Pine Forest forward Shamar Johnson said. "If we can come out in the first three minutes and take control and go up by 20 or 40, we win the game.
"It's like the first half, we see what's going on and we go in the locker room and adjust. The third quarter, that's when we just turn it up."
Pine Forest led by only five at the half, 21-16, but turned that lead into a double-digit lead at 38-24 just eight minutes later.
"Our motto since Coach Grant has been here is that no matter if we're up or down (at the half), it's 0-0 and it's a whole new ballgame," Glover said. "We try to come out and win the ballgame in the first three minutes."
The first three minutes of the third quarter had an opposite effect on the PHS Tigers, which suddenly went cold from the field. PHS finished the night shooting only 25 percent from the floor.
"We did go cold, and actually we talked about coming out in the first three minutes and making sure we were ready to go," PHS coach Terrence Harris said. "We wanted to pressure on defense, but I think the turnovers, not making shots and missing free throws, you just don't give yourself a chance.
"Not only that, but the second shots we were giving up. There were two things we wanted to do tonight, and that was not giving up second shots and limit our turnovers. We had 20 turnovers and gave up tons of second shots."
The Eagles' reward for a third-straight district title will be another home game in the first round of the regional playoffs. Pine Forest will host Crestview at 7 p.m. Thursday.
PHS (19-8), making its first playoff appearance since 2010, will travel to take on Fort Walton Beach in the Region 1-6A quarterfinals.
"I want to give credit to my assistant coaches, first and foremost," Pine Forest coach Brad Grant said. "Those guys come to work every day and work extremely hard.
"Three district championships, that feels great. I can't quite wrap my head around it right now. It's a sense of accomplishment, but it's not the way I want them to end it. I want them to go a little further."
Follow Brady Aymond at twitter.com/BAymondPNJ
PINE FOREST 60, PHS 41
PHS...5 11 9 16-- 41
Pine Forest...11 10 17 22-- 60
PHS (19-8) -- Auston Powell 4, Roderick Carmichael 2, Christopher Hamilton 2, Dacon Buchanan 2, David Weathers 4, Deron Moreno 14, Traquan Knight 5, Brandon Hamilton 5, Donte Hicks 2.
Pine Forest (26-1) -- Shamar Johnson 11, Charlie Wilson 8, Daveyon Finkley 2, Dante Young 5, LaDamian Robbins 3, Reggie McKelvey 4, Zanavian Williams 6, Deonya Walton 2, Demarcus Glover 19.
Next: Pine Forest plays host to Crestview on Thursday in Region 1-6A quarterfinals; Pensacola High travels to take on Fort Walton Beach on Thursday in Region 1-6A quarterfinals.