GIRLS BASKETBALL

Hollywood Christian runs over P.K. Yonge


Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.

You have to look for the silver lining to every gray cloud, which is exactly what P.K. Yonge head coach Willie Powers did after watching his defending Class 2A state champion Blue Wave squad, minus leading scorer Niya Johnson, get taken to the woodshed by defending Class 1A runner-up Hollywood Christian Saturday night.

The high-flying Eagles, who fell to The Rock Academy of Gainesville in the 2010 title game in a 51-48 thriller, put on an offensive and defensive clinic in the Blue Wave gym and improved to a sparkling 24-1 on the season with a 65-28 runaway win.

“That's why they are ranked 20th in the nation,” Powers said. “I thought we played very hard, and the young girls got baptized into high school basketball, which is very good for us going into district tournament play.”

With Johnson, the Blue Wave's high-scoring junior guard, relegated to watching from the bench after undergoing surgery earlier this week to repair a broken nose, P.K. Yonge (18-6) simply had no answer for the Eagles, who dominated play at both ends of the court.

The home team hung tough early, trailing only 16-10 after the first period, but the Eagles, who hit eight 3-pointers in the game, started finding their stroke and outscored the Blue Wave 19-6 in the second period to take a commanding 35-16 lead at the half and coasted from there.

Hollywood Christian was led by junior guard Ariah Osceola, who knocked down five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 17 points. Joining her in double figures were sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (14 points) and senior forward Kaley Howard (10 points). Junior forward Rebecca Lyttle just missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Junior forward Aariel Allen was the lone P.K. Yonge player in double digits with 11 points, while senior Candace Dixon and sophomore Brooksie McGraw each had four points. Senior Tracey Scott led the Blue Wave with five rebounds while junior Jessica Nathan added four boards.

Powers, who made sure all his bench players got some valuable minutes in against the Eagles, said he expects to have Johnson back in the lineup in the coming week. Johnson also sat out Friday night's game, a tough one-point loss to Tallahassee Maclay.

“She (Johnson) had surgery last Monday,” Powers said. “She suffered the injury last week against Orange Park and played a whole week with it broken. That's how tough she is. It was good for us to play without her for a couple of games and show everybody else that they can handle the ball and everything else.”

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