Friday, January 9
Nease (Ponte Vedra) 54, Oak Leaf (Orange Park) 51
Buchholz (Gainesville) 66, Melbourne Central Catholic 60
Winter Haven 69, Gainesville 52
Ribault (Jacksonville) 64, Dunbar (Fort Myers) 51
Palm Beach Lakes (West Palm Beach) 76, Seffner Christian 71
Saturday, January 10
Nease (Ponte Vedra) 65, Melbourne Central Catholic 41
Flagler Palm Coast (Bunnell) 56, Winter Haven 53
Dunbar (Fort Myers) 77, Seffner Christian (Seffner) 60
Palm Beach Lakes (West Palm Beach) 56, Ribault (Jacksonville) 54
Freedom (Tampa) 62, Oak Leaf (Orange Park) 50
Buchholz (Gainesville) 66, Gainesville 62
The event has several of the top teams in the state coming for a two-day jam packed event! Highlighted on the schedule are games that feature Gainesville High vs. Winter Haven in a classic rematch from last season. The Lady Hurricanes are led by Janiah McKay (Auburn signee). In last year’s Challenge, McKay showed up and showed out in two games where she scored nearly 40 points by herself in each game!
Dunbar vs. Ribault is going to draw a lot of fans from Jacksonville and Fort Myers respectively and fans state wide! The last 3 Class 4A State Championships were determined by these two programs. They are both heavily favored to meet again in this year’s title game in Lakeland come February. Dunbar won Lee County’s first state championship three years ago. The Lady Trojans of Ribault have won back to back titles including a 31-0 season two years ago! Ribault has won a state record 10 state championships in girl’s basketball. Their only loss was a 66-61 overtime decision to current #11 USA Today Miami County Day at the Andy Hart Memorial at Lafayette High School on December 12th. In that game, the Trojans led by 3 until a buzzer beating 3 pointer by Miami County Day sent the game to overtime.
Dunbar has 3 division 1 signees and Ribault has at least two with a future major Division 1 player in Racine Davis.
Seffner Christian brings a Top 20 national player to Gainesville in Chelsie Hall. The Lady Crusaders, runner up in class 3A last season will take on Class 7A state semifinalist Palm Beach Lakes on Friday then the Class 4A state runner-up Dunbar Lady Tigers.
Flagler Palm Coast, which was ranked as high as 27 in the USA Today poll, and last week #29, brings stud Tammera Henshaw and potential D1 players Ivana Boyd and Armani Walker. FPC participated at the Andy Hart Memorial and won a 62-61 thriller over Gainesville High when Janiah McKay missed the back end of a two-shot free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining.
Nease High School is led by University of Florida 2016 commitment Sydney Searcy.
Tampa-Freedom has a strong team coming to Gainesville, led by Tulane signee Tayler Emery, who is averaging over 40 points per game!
Winter Haven has been to 15 of the past 18 Final Four’s in Lakeland under former head coach (and current FAMU Head Coach) Ledawn Gibson and current head coach Johnnie Lawson. Lawson is first cousin to Tracey McGrady who played his early high school days at Auburndale High School near Winter Haven.
The Gainesvile Lady Hurricanes and the Buchholz Lady Bobcats were NOT scheduled to play this year until a conversation with Canes coach David Gordon in Mayo. He explained the coaches could not come to an agreeable date. After talking with teams in the event and making some adjustments, the top two teams in Alachua County will play each other on January 10th at 7:30pm. “It is great for the area and great for the game of girl’s basketball to see two top programs play. It will be a great way to close this year’s Challenge.”
Tickets will be available at the gate the day of the event. Admission is $8.00 and is good for the entire day of hoops. Parking is free.
For more information, please contact Rob Moramarco at 407-921-5773 or MORAMARL@HOTMAIL.COM
A BIT ABOUT WHO IS ROB MORAMARCO
Rob Moramarco is a former basketball and tennis coach at Eastside High School under former legendary coach Mike Kirkman. He teaches Mathematics at his high school alma mater, where he graduated in 1993. He began organizing events around the state of Florida in 1991 including the old Collegetown Classic at the O’Connell Center. He is an NCAA Certified scout and author of the Moramarco Girl’s Basketball Report which is subscribed to by colleges on every level (NCAA, NAIA, JUCO). He is married to wife Martha, has a 2 year old daughter Mia Blair, and they are expecting twin girls to arrive in late March/early April.