JACKSONVILLE – Fleming Island High girls basketball coach Joey Williams did not like bowing out of the regional playoffs early last year with their 51-48 loss to Bartram Trail in the district final …
JACKSONVILLE – Fleming Island High girls basketball coach Joey Williams did not like bowing out of the regional playoffs early last year with their 51-48 loss to Bartram Trail in the district final and the region semifinal and 2018 brings a fresher attitude with some new faces.
“I think we got some players wanting to get back to the game like we know it,” said Williams. “I had a lot of the girls all summer shooting in the gym.”
In a two-day preseason tournament at Ribault High, the Fleming Island 2018 team, led by Clay Today player of year Aubry Burke and with senior returner Hope Rozier put together a five to seven player power play with sophomore Emma Richards adding some youthful defensive vigor in a blowout of Menendez in game one. Richards opened the contest with two backcourt steals leading to Rozier layups as the full court pressure defense known to Golden Eagle fans looked to be in high gear.
New faces included baseline players Isabelle Flores and Yahira Guerrero, both near six footers with stretch under the boards igniting the rebound and release game of Williams.
One notable returner to the lineup will be volleyball power player Rayna Durden, who was out last year after pushing the Golden Eagles into the Final Four in 2016.
In game two of the tournament, Fleming Island lost by a point to Ribault in a tight contest ended by a set of free throws.
Besides, Bartram Trail, Fleming Island will see Oakleaf, Buchholz and Creekside in their district 4-8A lineup. Oakleaf was 12 miles away on Friday in the Terry Parker Preseason Tournament with the Lady Knights taking on Paxon High on Friday.
Oakleaf finished 21-5 last year with a district semifinal loss to Bartram Trail and with two regular season losses to Fleming Island. Oakleaf coach Frank Jenkins also had a fresh set of faces on the court at Parker with Dajah Oden a top returner. Missing will be senior graduates Sabria Littles and Andrea Diaz-Merced who is now at Edward Waters College, and Jalisa Lee, Mikela Smith and Jazlyn Dukes.
New faces on the court at Parker were sophomore guard Drew Fergara, sophomore forward Martina Ramsey and senior forward Denayah Francis.
Fleming Island opens with away games at Buchholz (Nov. 27) and Bartram Trail (Nov. 29) before coming home to host Oakleaf (Dec. 6) and Creekside (Dec. 11).
Oakleaf opens with an away match at Ponte Vedra (Nov. 20) before returning home against Middleburg (Nov. 27) and Parker (Nov. 28). The Knights open district play with Creekside on Nov. 4, at Fleming Island December 6 and home against Bartram Trail December 11.