Notebook: Big matchups highlight this week in local hoops
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 11:56 p.m.
It's a big week for local sports.
In addition to district tournaments in girls soccer taking place (Suwannee, P.K. Yonge and Keystone Heights are local hosts), it's also the final week of the regular season for boys soccer.
Boys basketball will bring a couple of showdowns.
The first will be between P.K. Yonge, which hosts Williston to with the District 5-3A tournament's No. 1 seed basically up for grabs. The second will be Friday night at Santa Fe Community College, when Eastside and Gainesville meet.
In the Blue Wave-Red Devils matchup, both teams have one district loss (P.K. Yonge at Williston and the Red Devils at Newberry). Meanwhile, GHS has one loss in 4-5A, while Eastside has two. Watching this one closely will be red-hot Columbia, which has two district losses and topped both the Hurricanes and Rams in the last week.
A game to determine the area's No. 1 girls team will take place next Monday in Mayo, as undefeated P.K. Yonge swings by to face Lafayette (16-2). This is the rematch of a 74-73 overtime win by the Blue Wave on Dec. 8. It also could be the game Hornets' senior guard Natalie Land breaks Cornelius Ingram's area career scoring record of 3,252 points. She entered this week (with games against Trenton and at Oak Hall and Hawthorne) less than 100 points behind CI.
So, at this point it looks like Land (19.7 ppg) could break the record against either the area's top team or on the court Ingram first became a local legend. Not a bad storyline either way.
Palatka's 5-foot-6 junior guard/forward Jamesha Willis is listed as third in the state in scoring (24.9 ppg) by maxpreps.com.
Her numbers aren't the product of a few big scoring games, as her highest output of the season was 35 points in a 60-53 victory against Palm Beach Central. She also hasn't put up those numbers by standing behind the 3-point line, as she has made just 14 of those through 13 games.
What she has shown a tremendous ability to do is get to the foul line.
Seven times this season she has attempted at least 10 free throws, and she attempted 18 in back-to-back games in late December.
Willis also is averaging 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.3 assists for Palatka (10-3), which has won nine of its last 10.
The FHSAA has announced the list of eight applicants for the Executive Director (formerly commissioner) position, and two candidates live in Gainesville. FHSAA senior associate executive director Sonny Hester and Oak Hall athletic director Jeff Malloy have applied. In addition to his work at Oak Hall, Malloy also is a member and was the immediate past president of the FHSAA board of directors. Finalists will be determined by the board of directors at the Jan. 27-28 meeting. The finalists will be interviewed at the FHSAA's April 6-7 meeting, and the next executive director is set to be announced April 8. He will start as executive director designate on July 1. Current executive director John Stewart is scheduled to retire Nov. 1 and will help ease the transition in his final four months on the job. ... Due to declining participation, the FHSAA has scrapped fall soccer's state series. ... Maxpreps.com ranks teams in each sport, regardless of classification. Two former local coaches have their teams among basketball's elite. Orlando Olympia's Mark Griseck (P.K. Yonge) and Orlando Dr. Phillips' Anthony Long (GHS) have their teams ranked second and sixth, respectively. Coach Willie Powers has P.K. Yonge sixth on the girls side.
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