ORANGE PARK – Orange Park High Lady Raiders girls basketball team never got their game on track in their district 3-5A semifinal and lost a 58-37 decision to Terry Parker High School on Tues., Feb. 4 at Orange Park High School.
“We couldn’t get over the turnovers and didn’t get back on defense like we should” said a somber Frederick Cole, Raider
head coach, who strenghtened his playoff prospects with the likes of Ribault, Ponte Vedra, Bishop Kenny, Mandarin and Bartram Trail, all high-ranked teams, on his schedule.
Despite the loss, seventh seed Orange Park (20-7, 3-5A champion last year, region quarterfinalist) advances to the region playoffs with the new playoff points system and will travel to second seed Pensacola Pine Forest (17-4, 7A region quarterfinals last year) on Thurs., Feb. 13. The opposite side of Orange Park’s region bracket has St. Augustine (18-5), third seed, hosting Fort Walton Beach (19-7), sixth seed.
“All the credit to Terry Parker,” said Cole. “They were able to execute and knock down shots. They took full advantage of what we were doing.”
At the end of the first quarter, the Raiders only trailed by two, 14-12. Little by little, the Braves figured out how to stop the
Raiders as the outside was pressured, not allowing the Raiders to set up a shot. When the Raiders would drive the lane, the Braves simply had girls a full head taller, who stayed inside and refused to let
the Raiders jump. Time and again, Terry Parker just reached up and stole the ball.
“We’re a jump shooting team. That’s what we’ve always been. When it’s going good, it’s very good,” said Cole. “When it’s not going good like tonight, it’s just no good at all.”
Down by eight after the half, the Raiders started clawing their way back in, 26-21. Any time the Raiders would get on a roll, the Braves called a timeout and reset, refocused, and took away the Raiders angles. At the end of three, Terry Parker was up 36-25.
With 4:22 left to play, the Braves were up 48-30, and the Raiders tried every spot on the court to shoot from, and couldn’t buy a basket from a neighborhood bake sale.
In a show of class, Cole put all the seniors in for the last minute of play, and they paid him back with a few more points on the board. In the end, the Raiders closed out the 2020 season going down 58-37.