Our Sonic Drive-In Player-of-the-Game for Thursday, February 15 is Taysia Joseph of the Eastside (Gainesville) girls’ basketball team.
Joseph, a senior, scored a team-high 14 points and added 12 rebounds as Eastside outlasted Menendez (St. Augustine), 32-29, to win a defensive battle in their Region 2-6A quarterfinal Thursday night on the Lady Rams’ court.
“I’m so excited, that’s why I’m crying,” she said. “I mean, I’m a senior, and this could’ve been my last game ever and I didn’t want that to happen so I played my heart out. I’m just so excited and I can’t stop crying.”
Joseph scored six of Eastside’s seven points in the opening quarter, and was already in double-digits with 10 points at halftime as Eastside led 17-12 at the break.
Menendez matched their first half point total in the third quarter alone, outscoring the Lady Rams 12-5 to take a 24-22 lead into the final period.
But Eastside turned it around in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Falcons 10-5 to pull out the win.
After Darrnisha Varnes hit her third three-pointer of the game for Menendez with 1:35 left to tie the game at 27-all, Diasia Medley answered seconds later with her only basket and the Lady Rams only three-pointer of the game to give Eastside the lead for good.
“This was the first time our team has been in this position of the postseason for nine or 10 years and I’m just glad that we got to do it for our seniors,” said Eastside 2nd-year coach Lonnika Thompson. “We played hard out there and it paid off.”
Joseph was also 6-of-8 from the free throw line for Eastside (16-9), which will travel to Ponte Vedra next Tuesday in a regional semifinal game.
Juniors Deasia Danzy and Jonaia Godbolt added six points apiece for the Lady Rams.
“I’m just excited,” said Thompson, whose team also won the Class 6A-District 6 title. “We have our seniors and we wanted to send them off the right way. We didn’t want this to be their last game so we just played hard.”
Varnes led Menendez with 17 points. The Falcons season comes to an end at 16-9.
Every game The Prep Zone will recognize a Player-of-the-Game. The recipient receives a $10 gift certificate courtesy of Sonic Drive-In of Gainesville & Ocala.