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Nease High School Basketball

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Feb, 2021


When one takes into account the level of competition played throughout the season, Nease has played arguably one of the toughest schedules in the area.  District 1 (7-A) is perhaps, one of the elite conferences top to bottom (Oakleaf, Nease, Bartram, Mandarin, Flagler Palm Coast and Sandalwood).  The six teams represented can put fear in the hearts of most opponents. 

On Thursday night, Nease (#2) squared off against Oakleaf (#1) at Bartram for the District 1 (7-A) Championship.  A collection of interested bystanders were well represented in the crowd.  Many came to see how the trio of Sophomore standouts for Oakleaf (Lady Knights) would fare in the highly anticipated affair against the unassuming talent of the Nease (Lady Panthers).  The David vs Goliath would be played out on the hard court.  Those in attendance would not be disappointed with the action-packed contest.  Nease was primed for the upset and opened the game with the first bucket.  Oakleaf quickly responded with a trey and the battle horn could be heard from afar.

Nease would trail 14-5 with 1:40 remaining in the opening quarter.  Junior standout, Sydney Gomes connected on consecutive 3-pointers to close out the period with Oakleaf leading (16-11).  The Long range shots by both teams would pay dividends on the night.  Nease continued to claw away at the lead and after a trey from Allison Fifield and a basket by Desiree Robinson, The Lady Panthers were down by three (21-18).  Oakleaf’s Scott converted two free throws to increase the lead (23-18) at the midpoint of the quarter.  Behind consecutive treys from Gomes and Fifield, Nease surged into the lead (26-25).  A basket by Oakleaf preceded a double technical assessed against both team players with under 1:35 remaining in the half.  Syd would convert 4-4 free throws and the Lady Panthers excitedly ran off into intermission with the one point lead (30-29).

As stated earlier, the long-range shots were utilized by both teams as answers to deficits.  Each squad opened the third quarter with back to back three-pointers on their first possessions.  Unfortunately for Nease, senior guard Stephanie Manherz was whistled for her fourth foul  2 minutes into the period and the Lady Panthers still holding on to the lead (33-32).  The tit for tat answers ended when  Nease gained control with a 10-5 run, forcing a timeout from Oakleaf.  A trey from Allison Fifield and a basket by Camryn Robinson, put the Lady Panthers up by six (47-41) with :19 seconds left in the quarter.  The Lady Knights capitalized on a Lady Panther misfortune with a basket to close out things, but still trailed 47-43 entering the twilight zone (money quarter).

The physical play that resulted in fifty fouls and hostility toward the officials in an earlier matchup, reared it’s head again.  However, the Lady Knights would benefit heavily from the officiating calls.  Nease would not make a trip to the charity stripe in the second half, while Oakleaf feasted at the line.  The wide disparity would prove to be a big difference in the final minutes of regulation play.  Nease held on to the lead after a steal and basket by Kendyl Ryan (49-43).  Scott quickly provided an Oakleaf answer with a big three to close the gap (49-46).  After another basket and 1 of 2 free throws, Oakleaf knotted the score at 49-49 with 4:46 to go.  A bomb by C. Robinson put Nease back ahead 52-49.

Things would turn sour for Nease in the final three minutes of play. With minimum to no opportunities at the free throw line down the stretch, Nease lead slowly dwindled.  The Lady Knights used a 11-0 run (6 free throws) to punctuate the 18-5  decisive quarter.  Oakleaf (21-2) secured the District Championship over Nease (19-6) with the (61-52) victory.  Both teams will advance on in the State playoff series next week.  As the District runner up, Nease will travel to face the winner of Friday’s District II Finals between Lake Mary and Spruce Creek (Thursday, 02/11).  The Lady Panthers defeated Lake Mary and split with Spruce Creek in games played this season.

In spite of the fourth quarter meltdown by Nease, the Lady Panthers still have high hopes of meeting Oakleaf again in a trilogy for a ‘Sweet Sixteen’ reward to the winner.  Moral victories are good, but this rendition of the Lady Panthers have higher aspirations.  We fear no one, because collectively, we feed as a pack.  But, back to the realization of the task at hand. The Lady Panthers must take care of business on the road next Thursday to keep their season alive.  Against Oakleaf, Sydney Gomes and Allison Fifield combined for 31 points, 18 and 13 respectively. Syd also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists, while Camryn Robinson added 9 points and 4 dimes. Desi Robinson hauled in 10 rebounds and  Stephanie Manherz  contributed 9 rebounds with 4 assists in limited minutes due to prolonged foul trouble.                 


Nease High School Basketball

10550 Ray Rd 
Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081

Phone: 904-547-8300

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