Lady Broncos doused in final seconds

By Dennis Bergin
Posted 12/5/18

JACKSONVILLE – There is an old adage in team sports that coaches can learn a lot more about their team from losing than thy can from winning.

Middleburg High head girls basketball coach Michael …

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Lady Broncos doused in final seconds


JACKSONVILLE – There is an old adage in team sports that coaches can learn a lot more about their team from losing than thy can from winning.

Middleburg High head girls basketball coach Michael Hayward found this out last Saturday when his team lost a heart-breaking last second buzzer beater at the hands of a Bishop Kenny.

Kenny guard Cara McCarthy scored on a last second shot to propel still-unbeaten Bishop Kenny 67-65 over previously unbeaten Middleburg (4-1) in non-district step up game that featured two unbeaten teams at Bishop Kenny.

“The emotion that the team displayed after the game in the locker room showed that this team is passionate and committed,” said Hayward. “Going into this season we have talked about a championship mentality. They showed me that today.”

The Middleburg loss comes after blowout wins over Oakleaf (73-26) and Englewood (62-8) last week and a dominating performance at the Inside Exposure Thanksgiving Preseason Classic at Sandalwood High; wins of 67-33 over Robert E. Lee and 52-43 over Sandalwood.

The gauntlet continues with 8A-Bartram Trail (2-1) on Mon., Dec. 3. The Lady Bears won in overtime over Fleming Island High on Thursday with a 63-21 loss to Nease on Nov. 27. Nease, at 5-0, and Middleburg will clash in district 3-7A action on December 14.

Against Bishop Kenny, after Bronco senior guard Mallory Roney tied the game at 65-65 on two free throws with 26 seconds left in the game, Kenny freshman guard Maddie Miller’s game winning attempt shot was tipped by Britany Range setting up McCarthy’s heroics.

“The ball got tipped and just ended up in the Kenny players hands and she got off an uncontested eight footer to beat us,” said Hayward.

The Broncos (4-1) were led by Range who scored a game-high 33 points, including three 3-pointers, and connected on 8-of-11 free throws while Roney added 12 points.

Middleburg moved out to a 34-30 advantage over the Crusaders (5-0) at halftime but ran into foul trouble in the third quarter in which they were out scored 20-9 as the Lady Crusaders led 52-43 heading not the final quarter.

“When Mar’ria Davis and Skylar Baltezegor each picked up their fourth fouls it forced us to change our defensive pressure,” said Hayward. “We had to play some zone and their outside shooting hurt us.”

The Broncos managed to climb back into the game and even grabbed a 60-56 lead on a layup by Davis with 2:49 left in the game but a Kenny went on 11-5 run to close out the game.

“This game will prepare us for big district games against Nease and Englewood,” said Hayward. “This was the first game I felt we played a good 32 minutes. We fought back after trailing late in the game and we played with emotion. We need to control that emotion.”

Middleburg’s scoring machine is driven by three players; Range, Roney and sophomore Skylar Baltezegar, all with scoring averages in the double digits; 16.3, 19.0 and 13.8, respectively.

“Skylar Baltezegar has become a big part of a new offensive look as she is a strong post player that is evolving into our run game,” said Hayward, referring to his Fleming Island High transfer.

Bishop Kenny, who converted eight 3-pointers, was led by Jasmyne Roberts with 22 points and Miller added 20 points.

In their regular season opener against Oakleaf on November 27, Middleburg trounced the Lady Knights 73-26 with a devastating 24-5 first quarter and a 20-4 third quarter. Roney led the Lady Broncos with 26 points with four of four three pointers and eight rebounds. Range added 16 with two threes and Baltezegar snagged seven rebounds with three blocked shots. Junior Mar’ria Davis, an Oakleaf High transfer, scored 13 points and had three rebounds against her former teammates.

Against Englewood, a 62-8 win, Range led scoring with 20 points.


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