OAKLEAF - Oakleaf High freshman point guard Kaylah Turner, Knights girls basketball coach Frank Jenkins; Middleburg guard Britany Range and her coach, Michael Hayward, and St. Johns Country Day School eighth grader Mary Kent Kent and her coach, Yolando Bronston, were among the selections by the Florida Dairy Farmers nominees for area athletes to sport-specifice players and coaches of the year for winter sports.
Kent and Turner, both surprise nods for Class 7A and Class 2A girls basketball as one just a few underclassmen, to get a nominee nod in all sports.
Turner, in Class 7A, led Jenkins’ final year of coaching with her run and gun style of gutsy play that got her 17 points per game, five steals per game and two assists per game.
Turner, with freshman teammate Fantasia James running the Knights’ backcourt, pushed the young squad to a 16-11 overall record with a six game season opening win streak, an quasi-upset 46-41 win over Mandarin and two wins over Nease High and acclaimed head coach Sherri Anthony.
Oakleaf ended its season with a district championship loss to Flagler Palm Coast, 49-32, with the FHSAA playoff points system not selecting the team for the regional playoffs.
In their district 1-7A lineup, Oakleaf was up against three region playoff qualifiers; Flagler Palm Coast, Sandalwood and Flagler Palm Coast.
For coach Jenkins, a nominee for 7A girls basketball coach of the year, the season’s final two games may have been the high and low for the year with a come-from-behind win over Nease in the district semifinals and his final game in a district championship game.
In Class 7A, among the nominees were Sandalwood’s Mmari Wright, a senior, and Mandarin coach Anthony Flynn, who finished at 14-8.
In Class 5A, Range joined the ranks as a top state player with her 20 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, three steals and near five assists as the Lady Broncos ran the roughest schedule in the county to a region playoff finish.
Range, with super center teammate Skylar Baltezegar carrying the Lady Broncos on their respective shoulders, will graduate to play at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, while Baltezegar returns to add to her prowess under the backboard for one more season.
Range had best game totals of 38 points and 36 points twice in a win over Sandalwood (38) and wins over Lincoln (10 3-Pointers) and Oakleaf (7 3-pointers).
Led by Hayward, who coyly put his team’s schedule out as one of the toughest, had wins over the likes of Tallahassee Lincoln, Bartram Trail and Raines before the season got thumped by Bishop Kenny, Raines, Apopkia and Ribault in a mid-season slump before correcting with six straight wins; one over previously unbeaten University Christian, to earn a district title and region playoff berth. The Broncos would lose 71-65 in their region semifinal to Tallahassee Rickards after beating Booker T. Washington 49-37 in their playoff opener.
In Class 2A, where St. Johns finished behind Bronston with a 17-9 record, Kent took over the high-scoring duties from senior Kendall Sage, who had nagging injuries throught the season. Kent finished with a 12.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game. Kent was an additional threat on Bronston full pressure defense and came up with timely steals that converted to three pointers for both herself and Sage. Sage finished with a 14.4 scoring average for the Spartans and also surpassed the 1,000 points mark for her career.
Kent had best games of 32 points against Ridgeview with six three-pointers and 26 points in the Lady Spartans playoff finale with another six three-pointer game. Sage passed 1,000 points against Ridgeview with her game-high 34 points.
Bronston got the Lady Spartans into the playoffs with a sixth seed with University Christian the top seed. The Spartans did defeat Trinity Christian of Deltona in the regular season only to lose in the district championship.