Stakes are high this week for high school basketball.
In the 3A-District 2 tournament, the two seed P.K. Yonge Blue Wave girls team defeated the Bradford Tornadoes in the semifinals, 52-44, on Wednesday. However, their work will not stop here.
Blue Wave Slam Tornadoes
By the second quarter, P.K. Yonge (13-7) had racked up 21 points, putting them ahead by two (21-19) entering the second half. The three seed Tornadoes (14-9) could not keep up. The Blue Wave outscored the Tornadoes 15-8 in the third quarter for a 36-27 lead to maintain control.
The Blue Wave coach Willie Powers, joined WRUF’s Steve Russell to discuss the season and the district tourney. Bradford was a “very scrappy team, well-coached” team, Powers said. He noted the outcome could have gone either way.
In Rough Waters
Powers said P.K. Yonge had an “up-and-down” season. The eight-senior team had lost three of their seniors due to injuries and many players have been out sick with the flu or other sicknesses, Powers said.
With players in and out, the Blue Wave have had a hard time finding consistency, but Powers said they “go to every game and see what we have and work with it from there.”
In addition to these setbacks, Powers said he has seen a change in sports overall. He had the opportunity to coach many different types of players. However, he claims there is a large factor playing into a major shift in basketball today: participation. He sees that participation quite low.
The morale and motivation of the players is down, Powers said. He believes players are lacking a figure to push them and do not have the same level of competitiveness as in previous years.
Despite these challenges, the Blue Wave make it work. Powers mentioned they had three starters from the JV team playing in Wednesday night’s game. The top scorer against Bradford was sophomore Ashlyn Young with 13 points.
Hope For The Future
Powers has high hopes for this team, saying that getting these younger players in the district championship game will give them good exposure for seasons to come.
P.K. Yonge goes for the district title at top seed Ocala Trinity Catholic (15-9) tonight.