GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Former Clay High Blue Devil girls basketball ace, Shantal Tobler, now the new head coach of the Clay High girls basketball didn’t have the homecoming she was planning in her home opener against the Bishop Snyder Cardinals Monday evening.
“We have to learn to keep pushing the ball, don’t give up and don’t walk on the court, for sure," said Tobler, after Snyder won 44-19 in her home opener. "It’s just a matter of getting better every day.”
Tobler, a 2011 graduate of Clay High, was a 12 points per game shooter on a team that finished 14-11 in her senior year. The Lady Blue Devils in 2011 was part of a district 4-4A lineup that included St. Augustine (26-3, lost in region final) and Bartram Trail (23-6). Clay lost in the district semifinal to Menendez.
Against Snyder, the Lady Blue Devils were stymied early and could never build any comeback as the Cardinals held the Devils off to a 44-19 defeat.
It wasn’t a lack of defense that kept Clay out of the W column as Ashonti Jones was dominant on the boards, coming down with the ball after blocking and breaking up Cardinal attacks. The Devils couldn’t adjust to the heavy early press of the Cardinal defense and would be stripped of the ball over and over. Clay was shutout 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
At the break Tobler made numerous adjustments and finally had her team settled down.
“Finishing on offense was our biggest issue tonight," said Tobler, whose brother Ulysses "Boobie" was a quarterback for the Blue Devils football team with her family lending athletes to Blue Devil sports for decades. "I need to bring them up with more shooting drills and more defensive drills. Staying on top of the ball is the main thing.”
By half, Clay finally put seven points on the board, but Snyder was still sinking shots as well, 20-7.
“Oh my gosh I wish I could still put on the uniform and get out there to show them," said Tobler. "It’s hard to take the basketball IQ that I have and transfer that mentality to them. It hurts. So, I’m going to drill it into them first. I’ll continuously keep repping the same stuff until they get it into their heads”.