P.K. Yonge junior has team thinking playoffs
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 11:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 11:52 p.m.
All season long, while the P.K. Yonge boys basketball team tried to repeat the success of last year's state runner-up team, all Blue Wave players kept hearing was the voice of doubters.
"People were saying we weren't going to be any good because we had two (Division-I) players and a (Division-II) player leave," junior Josh Snodgrass said. "A lot of people didn't recognize how much talent was left."
If they didn't then, they might after this week.
The Blue Wave took care of IMG Academy — featuring Florida commit Kenny Kadji — on Saturday in a game they never trailed and led by as many as 18 points. During that game, Snodgrass led all scorers with 29 points, as well as collect seven rebounds and three assists.
But it was an overtime win against Newberry on Thursday that proved sweetest.
That's because, as Snodgrass said, the Panthers have been the source of most of the doubting.
"We heard through the grapevine that they were talking a lot because a lot of their players are friends with people on our team," Snodgrass said. "But that just makes us come together and play better."
Snodgrass — the do-everything wing player who normally plays the 2 and 3 positions but has had to play some power forward and center lately because of injuries — made sure he made a statement of his own against Newberry. Snodgrass scored a game-high 21 points, including six in overtime, while his team outscored the Panthers 10-3 in the extra frame to win, 54-47.
"I knew once we got into overtime, we'd beat them," Snodgrass said. "That win was really important because it's really made us come together right now."
Despite losing some talented seniors, including Georgia Southern's Willie Powers, the Blue Wave are now 13-4 and have their sights set on the playoffs, beginning Feb. 4.
"We've had our ups and downs this year, but we're starting to peak now," Snodgrass said. "If we keep this up, I have confidence we'll be in Lakeland again."
The Tigers' senior point guard averaged 24 points — while shooting 52 percent from the field — as well as 4.7 assists, as Columbia picked up three District 4-5A wins this week. Their biggest was a 65-58 win over Gainesville on Tuesday night, when they handed the Hurricanes their first district loss of the season. The Tigers are now 11-7 overall and 6-2 in their district.
Neale, a sophomore guard, averaged 21 points while going perfect from the free-throw line and shooting 14-of-28 from 3-point range, as the Eagles picked up three district wins against Hawthorne, Branford and Bronson. Neale also averaged nine rebounds and almost three assists, as Oak Hall improved to 14-4 and 9-1 in District 5-2A.
The Eagles' freshman goalie recorded two shutouts against district foes this week to increase his season total to eight. Johnston blanked District 4-2A foes Lafayette, 3-0 on Tuesday, and St. John Lutheran, 8-0 on Friday. Oak Hall improved to 12-4-2 overall and 5-1 in their district.
This season, the Eagles' six seniors have accounted for 80 percent of their goals and contributed seven shutouts to lift Oak Hall to a 12-6-2 record (5-0-1 in District 4-2A). This week, the senior class — consisting of forwards Sarah Fagler and leading scorer Colleen Ugliano, defenders Marie Hamilton and Ellie Theurer, sweeper Emily Shore and goalkeeper Morgan Johnson — led the way in a 2-0 win over a high-scoring P.K. Yonge team.
Josh Boyd, Buchholz — Boyd led his team with 16 points, as the Bobcats took care of Naples Golden Gate, 68-49, on Saturday. Boyd hit two straight 3-pointers late to spark a 13-2 run and put the game away with less than three minutes left.
Stephen Lott, Santa Fe — Lott hit five 3-pointers to give him a game-high 19 points, as the Raiders (13-6) beat Ocala West Port, 68-56, on Saturday.
Coral Denton, Oak Hall — The Eagles' senior forward scored 17.7 points points, 12.3 rebounds and shot 13-of-18 from the free-throw line in Oak Hall's three wins last week.
Jordan Chung, Oak Hall — The sophomore forward had four goals and three assists in the Eagles' two wins this week, including three goals and two assists in Oak Hall's romp of Lafayette. Chung now has 24 goals and seven assists on the season.
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