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Nease High School Girls Basketball

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Dec, 2021

A WINNING SCENARIO PUNCTUATED BY THE BIG DUB

In many competitive circles, the norm is, “familiarity builds contentment’.  With that being said, the more success one experiences in life, the more intuned one becomes with established expectations.  Nease and Bartram have competed on countless occasions in the past, with many resulting in bitter disappointment for the loser.  In the sense that a rivalry evolves, the stakes become higher and the environment more electric.  Friday night in the DEN, was the time to reacquaint  and get after it, or should I say, each other.

Without being present on Friday as the statistician, I chose to interview all 10 members of the Lady Panthers squad to get a good feel and perspective of the different scenarios that persisted on game night.  It was once said, that if you are the Michelangelo, you can paint the picture anyway you wish. So, thus begins my storyline. 

However, arriving at the truth is the key to good and/or bad fulfillment.  In an excerpt from the Black Panther, based on the knowledge of the truth: “more connects us than separates us.  But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish builds barriers”.  I believe we now have the gist of things. The 2021 edition of Nease girls basketball proclaims: in the Panther Den, ‘Earned, not given’ is the rally cry. Helen Keller once said, “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships”.

Enough with the pre-hype rhetoric. We can’t go on sparing you the prevalent details that transpired on Friday night.  The Lady Bears came into the gym confident and determined to spoil the home party. The goal was to play an isolation defense against the Lady Panthers top scorer, Syd Gomes.  Ultimately, the visitors held out high hopes of frustrating and taking Gomes out of her game. The strategy might have worked if not for the 'step up’ mentality by Nease.  The Lady Panthers answered the call by displaying the ability to excel behind a duo, trio, or even a quartet, when and if circumstances dictated such. Yes it is true, on the horizon is the making of a complete team.  Staying connected in good and bad times.

Several things were favorable to the Lady Panthers on the night.  First of all, conditioning.  The team full court relentless style of play, is a testament to their off season training and commitment.  Secondly, the home crowd spurred positive vibes all night.  Last, but certainly not least, the confidence to step up collectively as a TEAM when it mattered most.  People tend to remember most, how you finish in competition.  Why settle for being average when you can be extraordinary?  Maya Angelou (late renowned poet) once said, “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”.

Now with all the different scenarios and inspirations previously mentioned, we have now arrived at the point of declaration.  What is your name? LADY PANTHERS STAND UP! Yes, Nease playing without a true center, had the dubious task of curtailing another prominent post player.  Bartram featured a 6-3 center with a high ceiling (no pun intended).  The Lady Panthers answer came packaged in a legitimate 5-10 frame.  Out of the shadows came an ‘Alley Cat’.  Senior co-captain forward, Allison Fifield took on matters as a personal challenge.  Oh, and did she respond to the test. The ubiquitous influence from Fifield was on full display all night.  More precise details will follow later.

In the war of attrition, Nease opened the contest with an early edge of momentum.  The adrenalin rush was set at a high level against the familiar county foe (Bartram). Fifield, C. Robinson, and Ryan provided the edge, combining for nineteen (19) of the team’s twenty-three first quarter points.  The relentless defensive pressure would also produce 7 steals along with 4 blocks from Allie. Nease would lead 23-15 after eight minutes of play.

The Lady Bears responded in the second quarter, while taking advantage of a lull in the Lady Panthers repertoire. Nease was 3/13 shooting, to include 0/4 treys and 0/4 free throws. In addition, the home team’s disconnect in the quarter would result in 6 turnovers. To the disdain of the Nease coaching staff, Bartram began to capitalize.  Bartram knocked down big shots, which included a banked trey to close the period.  Using an 18-8 period, the visitors excitedly walked off the court with a 2 point advantage (33-31) at the half. For Nease, there was obvious concern in Panther land.  Gomes did not score in the first half (0/6, including 0/3 treys and no FT attempts), but she still managed to stay connected with 6 big dimes.

A slow start by Nease after the half put Bartram in the drivers seat.  The Lady Bears pushed their advantage to 8 points before a red alert came to the Lady Panthers.  Cami connected on a three-pointer and Syd’s game began to surface.  She would score 6 points in the period.  When the horn sounded to conclude the quarter, both teams had played on even terms (13-13). However, Nease continued to trail 46-44 with one final period to play.  To the victor goes the spoils, YOU KNOW!

With bragging rights on the line, Nease would respond in a big way during the final 8 minutes of regulation play.  The relentless defensive pressure from the Lady Panthers played big dividends.  By pouncing on the Lady Bears with a sense of urgency, Nease would eventually wear down Bartram. The  backcourt of Cami and Syd combined for 19 points in the period.  Behind another 6 points from Allie and an intentional foul on Gomes after a made layup, Bartram was forced into submission. TheLady Panthers thoroughly put the Lady Bears to rest with a 29-9 fourth quarter advantage.  Nease (5-1) came away with a great team win 73-55.

The collective five starters would ultimately lead the way in securing the DUB for Nease.  Allison Fifield had her most complete performance as a Lady Panther.  The senior, tallied 21 points and grabbed 10 boards to lock down the double-double on the night.  In addition, her defensive prowess (4 blocks, 3 steals and a sustained physical presence in the middle) was a force to be reckoned with. Despite being undersized, Kendyl Ryan (Red Bull) made her presence known also. The 5-6 junior forward flexed her muscles to the tune of 14 points and 7 rebounds , while helping to offset the size advantage by Bartram.  In the words of R&B singer Anita Bell, “Giving you the best that I have”.  A song that resonated with the great Michael Jordan as pregame hype.

The guard tandem of Cami, AKA ‘microwave' (20 points, 5 rebs, 2 steals and 2 assists) and Syd the ‘Matrix' (14 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals) completed the leading quartet.  What would a night in the south be without a little ‘sweet tea’. Unsung hero and sophomore forward Ella Harrison, played her role by quietly producing 4 points, 4 steals and 5 rebounds. Nease will now set sights on a road affair against the undefeated (7-0) county rival from St. Augustine.  The Lady Jackets and Lady Panthers will do battle onTuesday night in a big District clash at 7:30.   Bring it on!  WE READY.  Coach Bernie Blue 

 

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Nease Girls Basketball

10550 Ray Rd 
Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081

Phone: 904-547-8300

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