SJRAC girls basketball showcases four state powers

Lady Raiders fall twice; Broncos runnerup

By Randy Lefko
Posted 1/30/19

PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Orange Park High’s girls basketball team got a quick jolt in the St. Johns River Athletic Conference tournament held Jan. 22-26 at Nease High School. Four teams in the SJRAC …

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SJRAC girls basketball showcases four state powers

Lady Raiders fall twice; Broncos runnerup

Posted

PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Orange Park High’s girls basketball team got a quick jolt in the St. Johns River Athletic Conference tournament held Jan. 22-26 at Nease High School. Four teams in the SJRAC conference; Nease, Bartram Trail, Middleburg and Orange Park, all hold top 15 rankings in their respective classes.

In their SJRAC semifinal Thursday at Nease, the Lady Raiders, ranked ninth in Class 6A, lost 56-14 to No. 1 7A-Nease on Thursday then taking a 50-45 loss to No. 13 8A-Bartram Trail on Saturday. Middleburg, ranked fifth in 7A, lost to Nease in the final 55-19.

“Tough day at the office,” said Orange Park coach Fred Cole, after the Nease game. Orange Park falls to 18-4, still 8-0 in district 4-6A.

Nease, 22-1, ranked fourth in Florida and tops in Class 7A, clogged the middle of the Raiders offensive strike zone with all-everything center Camille Hobby, a 6’-3” powerhouse who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Hobby also powered her stat package against Middleburg (17-5) in the SJRAC final; a 55-19 win for Nease also on Saturday. Hobby had 15 points against Middleburg.

“Nease is on another planet from any team around here and no one can do what they can do, they are a great team,” said Cole. “Nease can close out on the three and funnel you to 6’4 and 6’3 (in the middle) and that is a great luxury to have.”

Orange Park was held to single digit quarters against Nease with the second quarter an unforgiving zero points. Nia Brown was top scorer with four points with Sydney Rowland adding three.

Against Bartram Trail, Cole noted the Lady Raiders had their chance to get the victory.

“Bartram Trail just played good basketball and we got down early due to mistakes and we had a chance in the fourth to win the game and we didn’t capitalize,” said Cole. “It’s on me as the coach to lead us to those victory in close games and I failed. We always self scout ourselves and we will be ready for the playoffs.”

In their semifinal win over Bartram Trail, 58-46, Middleburg was led by Mallory Roney’s 18 points with center Skylar Baltezegar adding 17 and Britany Range putting in 10. Baltezegar also snagged 18 rebounds with Range blocking four shots.

Against Nease, Middleburg fell behind with a 12-3 first quarter and a 14-2 second quarter.

Middleburg and Orange Park meet in their season finales on February 1 with the Broncos taking on Bradford County on Mon. Jan. 28. Orange Park finishes their regular season with Atlantic Coast on Tues., Jan. 29 then away games at Oakleaf and Middleburg.

District tournaments open on February 4 with Nease hosting 3-7A (Middleburg; Nease defeated St. Augustine in 2018) and Ridgeview hosting 4-6A (OPHS, RHS; Westside defeated OPHS). Clay hosts 5-6A (Ponte Vedra defeated Menendez). Bartram Trail hosts 4-8A (Fleming Island, Oakleaf; Bartram Trail defeated Fleming Island). Fort White hosts 4-5A (Keystone Heights; Newberry defeated Bradford) and Trinity Christian Deltona hosts 2-3A (St. Johns Country Day School; Trinity defeated SJCDS).

Fleming Island rebounded from a 73-38 trouncing by Terry Parker on Mon., Jan. 21 in a Martin Luther King Tournament at University Christian with a 56-42 win over The Rock in Gainesville at the Wolf Pack Challenge Tournament. Fleming Island, 13-7, 6-2 in district 4-8A, takes on 1A-Hawthorne (16-2, region finalist in 2018) on Mon., Jan. 28 and 5A-Bolles (12-7) on Thurs., Jan. 31 in the season finale.

Keystone Heights, 14-9, 6-2 in district play, finishes with Clay on Mon., Jan. 28 and Ridgeview on Thurs., Jan. 31.

Ridgeview (13-6, 6-2), stealthly sitting in the second spot behind Orange Park in 4-6A, finishes at Clay on Tues., Jan. 29 and at Keystone Heights Thurs., Jan. 31.

St. Johns Country Day School (14-6, 5-0) finishes at Florida Deaf on Thurs., Jan. 31 then home against Bishop Snyder on Fri., Jan. 31 (5:30 pm). St. Johns lost 29-17 to 4A-Oak Hall on January 18, beat 3A-St. Francis 43-10 on January 19 in the NFBB Conference Tournament, lost 40-25 to 1A-Hilliard on January 22 and beat 7A-Ed White 36-28 on January 24.

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