High School Blitz

Published: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 5:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 5:50 p.m.

Five things of note

1. Williston football coach Jamie Baker has resigned to pursue cattle ranching, which his family and his wife’s family have done for years. Baker went 29-25 in five years with the Red Devils.

2. Former P.K. Yonge/now Georgia Southern guard Willie Powers, a three-time Gainesville Sun player of the year, tore his ACL on Jan. 8 and will miss the rest of the season. Powers’ 14.5 ppg led GSU and also ranked eighth in the Southern Conference. He also was fifth in the conference with 3.6 apg, and his 80-percent foul shooting and 1.5 spg ranked eighth. “Willie was having an All-Conference type season so I do feel for him,” coach Jeff Price said.

3. One of the state’s top basketball prospects, Miami Pace’s 6-foot-8 Rakeem Buckles (ranked No. 40 nationally by Rivals.com), will be in town Friday night, as two-time defending FHSAA Class 4A state champion Pace will visit Buchholz at 7:30 p.m. A Louisville signee, Buckles also had offers from Miami, Cincinnati, Florida State and the Gators.

4. Bell’s outstanding pitcher Holli Moore has committed to South Georgia College and will sign a national letter of intent Jan. 22. Moore was the runner-up for The Sun’s small-school player of the year last season.

5. Buchholz goalkeeper Joshua DiGiovanni was named MVP of the White division of the Bobcat Invitational soccer tournament held earlier this month.

Defending Josh

Before this season began he already had played in back-to-back FHSAA boys basketball state championship games (first with The Rock and then P.K. Yonge), and was The Sun’s small-school player of the year in 2007-08.

Well, Josh Snodgrass returned to the Blue Wave for his senior season with 20 pounds of extra muscle packed on, making the 6-4 American University signee’s inside-outside game even more difficult to defend.

So, how do you slow arguably the area’s top scoring threat?

Here’s what District 5-3A rival Williston tries while rotating various defenders:

“He’s going to get his, he’s that good,” Red Devils’ coach David Vespignani said after his team gave up 26 to Snodgrass in a 59-48 road loss Tuesday night. “We’re not going to shut him out or stop him.

“What we hope to do is play physically against him and hopefully wear him down some. That way, maybe shots he was hitting in the first half might be a little tougher for him to make in the fourth quarter. Maybe he’ll be tired.”

Local football commitments

Player HS Pos College

Otis Brown GHS WR Ball State

Travis Evans Williston RB Georgia St.

Kendall Kelly GHS OL South Fla.

Kevin Lowery GHS DT Arkansas

Armand Maxwell GHS DB Butler CC

Kevin Prindle Buchholz QB Hamilton

Jamal Reid Lafayette WR/DB Miami

Rodney Scott Dixie Cty RB Mississippi

Jordan Weingart Buch. OL West Va.

Rams tough

The Eastside girls basketball team will have two big local tests in the next week.

First, the Rams (14-6) will host unbeaten P.K. Yonge this Friday at 7 p.m. for senior night. And then, on Jan. 22, Eastside will travel to Buchholz, hoping to avenge a 67-57 home loss that happened on Nov. 25. That rematch is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip.

Coach Daphnie Johnson’s Rams have very balanced scoring, led by Ashlee Bryant and Umekie Debose, who each averaged 11.2 ppg through Wednesday. Junior Ariel Rollins (9.2 ppg, tied with Tekerya Davis) actually has the team’s most 20-plus point outings with three (two since the new year began).

Davis leads the team in assists (4.5 apg), Lonna Turner (8.7) and Whitney Dollison (7.2) top the rebounding, and Bryant also averages a team-best 2.7 steals.

Upcoming dates

Girls soccer district tournaments

Jan. 19-23 (Taylor County, Fort White, Interlachen, St. Francis)

Boys soccer district tournaments

Jan. 26-30 (Fort White, Interlachen, Oak Hall)

Girls weightlifting sectionals

Jan. 31 (Keystone Heights)

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