ORANGE PARK – With two district champions and three district runnerups among them, Clay County high school girls basketball teams showed off some prowess during regular season play, but just one …
ORANGE PARK – With two district champions and three district runnerups among them, Clay County high school girls basketball teams showed off some prowess during regular season play, but just one team made the second round of region playoffs; Middleburg High.
Led by the dynamic duo of senior Mallory Roney and junior Britany Range, the Lady Broncos had the unlucky draw of, first, having eventual 7A-runnerup in their district Nease High three times in regular season play, in the district 3-7A final and, finally, in the region semifinal; all games with the wrong result for Middleburg fans, on top of having 6A runnerup Bishop Kenny on their slate. The final loss to the Lady Broncos came by way of 5A region semifinalist Orlando Jones, who lost to eventual runnerup Lake Highland Prep.
Range pushed her game up a bit from last year with more points; 19 per game with 44 threes with an efficient basket of six rebounds, four assists and four steals per game for coach Michael Hayward.
Range may draw top billing on the Clay Today SUPER 11 girls basketball team, but teammate Mallory Roney was a razor thin number right behind her in stats and effectiveness with her own 17 points with 45 threes; seven rebounds, three assists and three steals to give Hayward a 1-2 combination of attack.
Under the boards, sophomore center Skylar Baltezegar was privy to double digit rebounds 15 times through the season; plus 10 points per game, plus 76 blocked shots to keep the Bronco attack rolling.
Unfortunately, Nease had more.
Chosen by Clay Today Sports Editor Randy Lefko and his A-Team sports page team, the SUPER 11 is the county collection of the top 11 players for 2018-2019.
From the district champion lineups, Orange Park center Shamia Capers, a junior, performed magnificently against much taller opponents in most games to get her 14 points and seven rebounds while being the cleanup batter off coach Fred Coles battery of three-point bombers.
Tops on the faraway stripe, junior guard Macie Faucett, with 44 from long range, added a fearless defensive attack that led to plenty of Raider layups at the other end. Faucett shared duties from downtown with teammate Yoly Rosado who finished with 47 threes and joins the SUPER 11 lineup off the perimeter.
One other supershooter, Keystone Heights senior guard Haley Julius pulled the trigger for an incredible 57 field goals while pushing the Lady Indians to their district title under coach Jessica Sykes-Carter. Julius also had the unique distinction of making an ESPN highlight reel with a long-distance toss for a score.
Not as much a big shooter, but more of a driving force behind a best Ridgeview High season, was junior guard Trenity Gilford who had strong drives into the paint to nail her 28 points per game as the Lady Panthers made the district final; losing to the Raiders, and enjoyed a first-time region playoff game.
For St. Johns Country Day School, junior guard Kendall Sage again commanded all the offensive attention of coach Yolando Bronson and responded with her slick combination of layups and three pointers for 14 points per game with five rebounds as the Lady Spartans finished as district runnerups to Trinity Christian of Deltona.
In an erratic season of emotions, Fleming lsland High, who had Final Four finisher Bartram Trail as their thorn in the side, did not quite have the return season of two straight playoffs runs under coach Joey Williams, but not because former Clay Today Player of the Year Aubrey Burke did not play out. Burke hit for 16 points per game with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists and got double play from sophomore backfield mate Emma Richards who added a spark to the Williams’ attack with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals on the opposite side of the court. Fleming Island’s district 4-8A had three teams; Bartram Trail, Creekside and Fleming Island ranked in the top 30 in Class 8A.