Prep roundup: Panthers open with road win
Showing it means business after a difficult 2015-16 season, the Palatka High girls basketball team opened its new season with a 49-45 victory Monday night at Deltona.
The Panthers got points from nine players in Craig Washington’s debut as head coach. Down 25-19 at halftime, they pulled within 33-32 by the end of the third quarter and came on strong with a 17-point fourth.
“They had to work the jitters out,” Washington said. “They missed some layups that were open, but I was proud of them. They hung in there and worked hard. They got that winning taste in their mouth.”
Freshman Shar’ray Johnson scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in her first varsity game. Elexus Banks scored nine points, Jaysha Edwards eight.
Kavashia McCormick had seven points for Palatka, Lar’Quiera Watts six. Edwards led the team with nine rebounds. Watts joined Johnson with nine. Timaya Fuce made four steaks and three assists. Banks made five steals.
n Makenna Miller opened with four straight three-pointers on her way to a 27-point night as host Orange Park Ridgeview routed inexperienced Interlachen, 65-29.
The Panthers led 34-7 at halftime before the Rams came back with an 18-point third quarter. Starting three freshmen and two sophomores, Interlachen made 38 turnovers its opener.
“This is a team in transition,” said IHS coach Mike Stevens, new to the girls basketball program but a former girls soccer coach and current boys tennis mentor. “They jumped on us quickly with three-pointers. We were in a compact zone and (Miller) killed us from outside. We played better in the second half, but it was too late.”
Ellah McGruder scored 11 points and Destiny McClendon had 10 for the Rams. Alexis Rodriguez was next with six.
n Jordan Nearing scored three goals and assisted on two others and Hannah Harvey scored her first two career goals on Monday night, leading the Palatka to an 8-0 road win against Jacksonville Wolfson.
The Panthers are 2-5 after starting the season 0-5.
Kaaliyah Roberts and Jasmine Segovia each scored a goal and an assist, while Peyton Pellicer had a goal and Julia Mertes added an assist for Palatka, which outshot Wolfson, 43-0. Abrielle Robertson recorded the shutout without a single save made.
n Three goals scored in the first 15 minutes of the second half broke a 2-2 tie and lifted host Fort White to a stunning 5-2 win over Interlachen, dropping the Rams to 1-6.
Amanda Quinby scored off an assist from Emily Lundy and Lundy scored off an Esmeralda Santiago helper in the first half. Jada Green gave up all five goals and had 10 saves, while backup goalie Kaci Polk stopped four shots.
n Visiting Interlachen returned to its winning ways after bouncing District 5-2A rival Fort White, 6-1.
Daniel Perez had his second three-goal hat trick of the season with Ricardo Aviles adding two goals and Nico Calero nailing a penalty kick. Kason Bell and Jose Santiago had two assists each, while Benjamin Foster added a solo helper for the Rams (3-1) in their first district game of the season. The Rams host Santa Fe tonight in a big district matchup.
Juan Espinosa had three saves in the first half and Craig Berry had five saves in backup in the second half, giving up the Indians’ only goal.
n A penalty kick in the first half proved to be the difference as host Orange Park stopped Palatka, 1-0, in a District 4-3A battle.
Palatka (1-2, 1-1), which outshot Orange Park, 18-8, got five shots from William Clevenger in a match in which it lost one of its top players, center-midfielder Caleb Herrington, to a hamstring injury in the third minute of play, according to coach Jeff Malandrucco. He is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Palm Coast Matanzas.