In case you missed it on Thursday, March 1, Mike Ridaught joined Zach Alboverdi & Pat Dooley on “The Tailgate” on WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM in Gainesville at 4:35 p.m to talk high school sports. Here are the things they discussed on ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union:
The P.K. Yonge girls & boys basketball teams both advanced to the Final Four. The girls lost in the state semifinals yesterday while the boys will play next Wednesday following a dramatic win this past Tuesday.
It was a good season overall for the P.K. Yonge girls because they did make it to the Class 4A state semifinals, but it was a disastrous game yesterday in Lakeland. In fact, Coach Willie Powers said it was probably one of the most frustrating games he’s been through in his life. The Lady Blue Wave lost to Carrollwood Day (Tampa) by 32 points, 67-35, and finished the game with 40 turnovers! They only had seven points at the half and 13 turnovers in the first quarter. But looking at the big picture, it was a team that Coach Powers wasn’t sure if they would make it to the final four, but they did. They finished the year with a 20-8 record. Freshman Mya McGraw led P.K. Yonge with 15 points and nine rebounds so they’ll have someone they can kind of build around for next season.
For the boys, what a game this past Tuesday night at P.K. Yonge. They hosted Providence (Jacksonville), which is the school that former Gator Patric Young played at, along with Duke’s Grayson Allen. It’s a program that has won three state titles in the past seven years and they were state runners-up last year. Great atmosphere at P.K. Yonge though. The game came down to the final seconds. Providence hit two free throws to go up by one with eight seconds to play. But Israel Wilcox hit a floater on the left baseline at the buzzer to give the Blue Wave the stunning victory, 43-42 (P.K. Yonge will play Master’s Academy (Oviedo) on Wednesday, March 7, at 10 a.m. in the 4A state semifinals at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland).
Tomorrow night, the only other boys’ basketball team still alive in Alachua County will be at home playing for a spot in the Final Four. Gainesville will host Choctaw (Fort Walton Beach) on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Yeah, unfortunately, Eastside (Gainesville), St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville), and Hawthorne all had their seasons come to an end on Tuesday. Eastside lost by only three at Palatka in Class 6A. They actually led for most of the game against last year’s state semifinalists. St. Francis lost by seven at FAMU (Tallahassee) in 3A, and Hawthorne, which had been to the final four in four of the last six years, was blown out by 30 at Madison County. That Madison County team is really good and has a lot of their state championship football players on the team. There’s seven of them. Madison County will play either Bell or Monday in the Class 1A state semifinals. Those two teams play tonight in Bell.
So that leaves P.K. Yonge and GHS as the only remaining Alachua County teams. Gainesville’s been on a pretty good run. This will be their fifth regional final since 2009, and the last time they hosted the regional final they won and went on to win state that year. In fact, since the 2014-15 season, Gainesville has a better record than Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale), Miami Norland, Edgewater (Orlando) and Pensacola – teams that have traditionally been pretty good in boys’ hoops. Gainesville has now had four straight 20-win seasons, and they’ve won over 100 games since the 2014-15 season. They rolled through their district tournament, beating Forest (Ocala) and Columbia (Lake City) by 30 points and they just won at Englewood (Jacksonville) by 14. That was a team that finished 26-5. Diamond Smith came off the bench to score a game-high 15 points for GHS, which is peaking at the right time with their 10th straight win. They’re now 24-5 on the season but get a tough test against a Choctaw team that is 25-2. In MaxPreps all-classification rankings, GHS is ranked 11th in the state and Choctaw is 12th so it will be a tough match-up. But here’s the good news. The Hurricanes don’t have to make that long trek to the Panhandle and they are 51-3 at home in the last four years. We’ll have ‘live’ video of the game tomorrow night beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Softball and baseball season are in full swing. Both the Gainesville softball and baseball teams are off to great starts.
We’ll start with softball first. GHS is actually nationally-ranked. They are up to No. 22 in the country according to MaxPreps. They are cruising behind sophomore Alissa Humphrey’s three no-hitters. Against Vanguard (Ocala) on Tuesday, she tossed a 2-hitter and struck out 20 batters and allowed only one walk. For the year, she’s got five shutouts in seven appearances and a 0.32 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched. They’ve got three players hitting over .500 on the season, including one player, Humphrey, who is batting .613 with three doubles and a HR and a team-leading 19 hits in 31 at bats, so she’s not just getting it done in the circle. But Gainesville softball is off to an 8-0 start right now. We’ll get into softball more next week but also keep an eye out for defending 1A state champion Union County (Lake Butler), Trenton, and even Chiefland in Class 1A. They’re all ranked top three in the state right now in Class 1A.
Meanwhile, the Gainesville baseball team is 2-0. They beat defending 1A state champion Trenton and snapped the Tigers 20-game winning streak. They’re coming off a 3-0 shutout of Santa Fe, but they get a big test tonight in Lake City against Columbia, a team they split with last season. I believe that what happened to them last year will fuel the fire for a great season this year. In 2017, GHS was 19-6 heading into the district tournament as a co-No. 1 seed. However, they lost the coin toss to Columbia so had they had to play the district tournament in Lake City and ran into a really good pitcher, a lefty named Kyler Adams of Vanguard (Ocala). He kept the ‘Canes off balance that day and GHS lost the game in extra innings. But Adams did such a good job, and this is rare, but his teammates gave him a victory ride on their shoulders after the game. So there’s that dreaded district semifinal game, which you have to win in order to make the state playoffs. But I think Gainesville will make it in this year. They’ve got a bunch of key players back from that team. Joseph Strong, who hit 10 HR’s with a .359 average and 28 RBI, is back. He also went 2-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Chase DeMichele returns after batting .299 with five doubles and a 4-2 record with a 2.20 ERA. Plus, Luke Marquis (9 appearances, 2-1, 0.73 ERA) and Payton Weinberg (led the team with 38 strikeouts) will give them a deep pitching staff.
Also, P.K. Yonge’s baseball team is undefeated. Senior 2B Ethan Brunson hit a grand slam, his first home run of the season, and finished with eight RBIs in a 25-14 win over Eastside (Gainesville). Seven different players recorded extra-base hits for the Blue Wave, who are off to a 5-0 start.
For the latest in high school sports in Gainesville, check out our daily reports on 106.9 FM every weekday around 7:50 a.m. Here is a link to the archives.