The Gainesville High School boy’s basketball team lost to Ponte Vedra in the Regional Final game by a score of 61-72. After the loss, the Hurricanes’ season is officially over.
Within a minute of the third quarter starting, the Hurricanes took a lead over Ponte Vedra, their first lead since the beginning of the first quarter. It seemed as if all the momentum was now on the Hurricanes’ side, as they had fought back from a 10-point deficit.
However, the Hurricanes could just not contain the Ponte Vedra offense. Ponte Vedra scored 19 points in the third quarter and held the Hurricanes to 12. The Hurricanes trailed by eight points going into the fourth quarter and it was too much to overcome.
Deadly From Three
Ponte Vedra was lights out from three-point range throughout the game. They made 12 three-pointers and had five in the first quarter, alone. Although the Hurricanes were nearly as efficient at scoring baskets, they weren’t hitting three-point attempts. They only made two three-point shots in the entire game.
It wasn’t enough to keep up with a hot-shooting Ponte Vedra. Every time the Hurricanes seemed to have a rally going, Ponte Vedra would nail a three-pointer to regain momentum. The Hurricanes’ perimeter defense ended up being their Achilles heel.
Although the Hurricanes’ effort ultimately fell short, they received great performances from the two players that have led them all season. Seniors Theo Stephens and Josh Hayes scored 23 points and 15 points respectively. They accounted for over 60% of the Hurricanes’ points.
Theo Stephens was a problem when he had the ball. He created his own shots and proved he could take the game into his own hands when he scored eight points in a row. Josh Hayes was a constant presence in the paint, both offensively and defensively. He bullied defenders throughout the game and limited Ponte Vedra’s inside scoring.
After the heartbreaking finish to the season, the Hurricanes will look to bounce back next season. With seven seniors graduating, the current juniors and sophomores will have big shoes to fill. Juniors Anthony Leivonen and Elijah Williams saw significant playing time this season and will need to become leaders if the Hurricanes want to match their success from this year.