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Nease High School Basketball

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Feb, 2021


Nease season came to an end in the trilogy at Spruce Creek on Thursday night.  The Lady Panthers stared the Lady Hawks squarely in the eye at the Regional Quarter Finals.  The teams were playing each other for the third time this season.  Nease took the first contest (46-39) in November, before losing the next game (75-65) in January.  The stage was now set for the ‘trilogy’  and the Lady Panthers came in salivating for the chance to advance to the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ with a win.

Spruce Creek (17-5) entered the contest ranked #4 (7-A) by MaxPreps, while Nease (19-6) tipped the scale at #12.  The winner would advance to the Regional Semifinal next Tuesday.  Everything one could hope for, was front and center.  The game plan was to neutralize the sharp-shooting Lady Hawks by not allowing them to feast at ’The Nest’. Nease was no stranger to road games, having  already logged seventeen of twenty-five games away from the friendly confines of ‘The Den’.

Camryn Robinson helped Nease deliver the first punch of the night with a trey to open the contest. After the first 2:30 minutes were played, the Lady Panthers held the one point advantage (5-4).  Nease seized the early momentum by going on a 12-2 run before Spruce Creek closed out the period with a three pointer.  The lead stood at 17-9 after one quarter and the home crowd apprehension grew with each possession and basket.

The Lady Hawks opened the second stanza with a quick basket to narrow the lead 17-11.  Over time Nease had a chance to expand on the lead, Spruce Creek would capitalize by scoring off extra possessions underneath their baskets.  At 5:43, the home team trailed 24-16, but would follow with a 6-0 run to reduce the margin to 2 points (24-22) with under two minutes left in the quarter.  Nease responded with a trey from C. Robinson and a layup by Gomes to go into intermission clinging to a 29-24 lead.  However, an obvious concern came to the forefront for the Lady Panthers.  After one half of play, Nease had yet to visit the free throw line.

It is a given In most inter circles, that outcomes of games are generally determined by the team that controls the trenches.  For obvious reasons, the quiet whisper would perpetuate itself as an on-going dialogue during the second half of play.  So, with sixteen minutes of play left on the hard court,  the outcome of the trilogy was still up for grabs.  A basket by Fifield opened the third period, but Spruce Creek quickly responded with back to back baskets.  The score stood at 31-28, before Alli scored again for Nease.  The clock stood at 5:37 when Nease was forced to use a timeout, as Spruce Creek took their first lead of the night (34-33) on consecutive three pointers.
The game would now turn into a slugfest, as both teams exchanged blows.  Syd converted both free throws to give Nease the lead again (35-34).  The Lady Hawks was successful on a ‘and one’ basket to retake the lead 37-35.  Gomes would secure an offensive rebound put back to knot the score at 37-37 at the half way point of the period.

With 3:02 remaining, the score was deadlocked at 39-39.  Neither team batted an eye, as the drama continued to escalate.  Spruce Creek scored consecutive baskets to lead 43-39, before Cami found Kendyl Ryan on a beautiful feed.  Desi went 1 for 2 at the free throw line to close the deficit to one (42-43).  Nease would regain the lead (46-43) on consecutive layups from Cami and Syd.  But, just when it seems Nease would hold bragging rights going into the final eight minutes of play, The Lady Hawks scored on a banked trey at the buzzer to even the score at 46-46.

Both teams gathered for their second wind, while the whispers and echoes created a tense environment entering the final quarter.
Spruce Creek came out with a trey and a converted basket off a Nease turnover.  The quick 5-0 run coupled with the banked three-pointer to end the third period, gave the home team a 51-46 lead within the first :30 seconds of the quarter.  With Lady ‘Mo’ fully on their side, Spruce Creek began to smell blood in the water.  The never-die spirit of a Lady Panther resurfaced at the hands of senior Stephanie Manherz.  Nursing foul trouble, Steph would convert 1 of 2 at the charity stripe along with a banked trey of her own.  Nease now trailed 50-51 before Spruce Creek converted yet another offensive rebound and put back.  A driving layup would follow and as fast as one could say hocus locus, the home team held a five point advantage (55-50).  With 5:28 left to play,

Gomes continued her perfect night at the charity stripe with 2 free throws to cut the deficit to three (52-55).  After a  basket by Spruce Creek, a quick timeout was called by the home team.  The Lady Hawks converted a basket out of the time out to boost the lead (59-52).
Fifield knocked down a trey for Nease and the score stood at 59-55 at the midway point of the quarter.  As was the case all night, the Lady Hawks always came up with an answer.  Both teams exchanged baskets again.  A driving basket in the lane by Alli was countered by a driving layup and two free throws from Spruce Creek.  Nease still trailed 57-63 with 3:13 to play.  A Manherz basket cut the deficit t (59-63) with 1:27 left. 

 In a fourth quarter where possessions were crucial, the home team was able to melt the clock by playing keep away.  A free throw shooting frenzy would close the contest and turn out the lights on a determined Nease squad.  The Lady Panthers were unable to find the range on several opportunities in the waning minute of play. Gomes converted 6/6 free throws in the period, but the unfortunate circumstances were too much to overcome in the bitter 67-63 loss.

Four players scored in double figures for Nease.  Sydney Gomes tallied 21 points and a perfect 8 for 8 at the charity stripe.  Allison Fifield had a strong showing with 15 points before fouling out in the final minutes.  Stephanie Manherz and Camryn Robinson scored 10 points each and Desiree Robinson pulled down 14 rebounds on the night.  The emotional loss will hopefully propel the returning players to do the ‘WORK’ needed for a welcome return to the promise land.

The season took it’s toll on the Lady Panthers.  From surviving season-ending knee injuries to 2 starting guards (senior Grace Beyer and junior Savannah Gomes) to the never-ending challenges with Covid, Nease weathered the storm.  The team remained united behind the TRUST mantra and the ‘It’s all about us’ slogan.  With the playing rotation narrowed to six players for the better part of the stretch run and a challenging scout squad, the Lady Panthers proved to be real road warriors.  Taking on all challengers, Nease came away with a well-fought 19-7 record to conclude the senior campaign of four players (Bryonna Dexter, Desiree Robinson, Grace Beyer and Stephanie Manherz).

Best of luck to all of you in your future endeavors and thanks for the memories.  You all have each left a lasting memory, or two, or maybe three (smile).  But more importantly, always remember, ‘Once a Lady Panther, always a Lady Panther’.  IT IS ALL ABOUT US!!!  Take it to heart and if you sit quietly for a moment, meaningful whispers can be heard and you will always find your way ‘HOME’.

It has been a pleasure to serve as your statistician, hype guy, game reporter and your #1 Fan.  Time to break camp, for it has been a
 L-O-N-G night.  So, good early morning America and an early Happy Valentine’s Day to my Lady Panthers and Coaching Staff.  Thanks for allowing me to go along for the ride.  May God continue to bless and keep you safe.  Coach Bernie Blue

A few significant facts to highlight  a rewarding and successful season:
-       8-0 in the DEN
-       11-7 on the road
-       19-7 Final Record
-       60 PPG. avg.
-       #7 (Highest MaxPreps season ranking)
_       4 of 7 losses to state ranked 7-A foes (Twice to Oakleaf and Spruce Creek)

        Leading Scorers
-       Sydney Gomes (545 points / 20.9 ppg.)
-       Stephanie Manherz (9.7 ppg.)
-       Camryn Robinson (9.2 ppg.)
-       Desiree Robinson (7.7 ppg.)

-       Desiree Robinson (232 rebs. / 9.7)
-       Sydney Gomes (7.3 rpg.)
-       Manherz and Fifield (4.9 and 4.8 respectively).

        Assists                                 Steals
-       Stephanie Manherz (3.3) (3.2)


Nease High School Basketball

10550 Ray Rd 
Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081

Phone: 904-547-8300

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