Lady Wave Corey Buie Memorial Invitational
P.K. Yonge, Gainesville post victories
Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 12:11 a.m.
After cruising through the bulk of their regular season schedules, two defending state championship squads were presented with challenges Saturday at the Lady Wave Corey Buie Memorial Invitational.
In the final pair of games at the single-day event, both Florida A&M and P.K. Yonge faced stiff competition against teams far exceeding their classification.
While the Baby Rattlers, defending 3A state champs, fell to Class 6A Gainesville, 61-47, the host Blue Wave narrowly escaped their first annual invitational with a 50-46 win against Class 5A Bradwell Institute from Hinesville, Ga.
“We've been having to refocus (from winning a championship) all year,” P.K. Yonge coach Willie Powers said. “We're playing a tough schedule, so hopefully by the time we get to districts we're ready.”
The Blue Wave (13-5) jumped out to a 10-point lead after one quarter against the out-of-state Tigers (5-10) in the night's final game, but quickly saw a cold-shooting stretch at the end of the half evaporate their advantage to 24-21.
Though P.K. Yonge was paced by a 19-point performance inside from Alabama-signee Brooksie McGraw, the often-fouled center went 5 for 10 from the free-throw line. As a team, the Blue Wave hit just 19 of 35 from the charity stripe in their four-point win.
“We didn't hit many free throws, which was an Achilles' heel,” Powers said. “When you hit free throws, you win by 20.”
In the penultimate matchup of the event's six games, Gainesville proved Power's maxim true by going 19 for 25 at the line in its 14-point win against Florida A&M.
The Hurricanes (18-1) jumped out to a 26-14 lead at the break, which only swelled once the Baby Rattlers (13-4) began to press in the second half. Gainesville point guard Kayla Lovett was sent to the line five times after weaving through the FAMU traffic and hit 10 free throws to help the Hurricanes lead by as many as 20 in second half.
With Florida Gators coach Amanda Butler watching from the front row at mid-court, Lovett scored 17 points and was joined in double figures by Janiah McKay, who netted a game-high 21 points.
“We practiced knowing that they did win the state championship last year,” GHS coach David Gordon said. “We knew that they were probably going to press and that they were bigger than we were. But they weren't quicker than we were.”
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