Historic seasons by a pair of Chiefland teams highlighted several deep postseason runs by area teams.
The Indians’ boys (26-2 overall) and girls teams made it to the Class 1A state semifinals for the first time in both programs’ history. The Indians’ boys trailed by a single bucket at halftime (31-29) but were unable to keep pace as eventual state champ Malone pulled away for a 67-59 win. Chiefland was powered all season by the 1-2 punch of guards Kyle Weeks and Gangelo (GG) McLendon.
The Lady Indians lost to eventual state champ Paxton in the Final Four. CHS freshman phenom Kiya London, who’s 6-foot-2, averaged 15 points per game for the 18-2 Indians.
Eastside’s boys and Hawthorne’s girls were other area teams to make it to the Final Four in their respective classifications.
Santa Fe’s boys, PK Yonge’s girls and Hawthorne’s boys all reached the regional finals.
Gainesville High’s girls won district and defeated Pensacola 70-61 in the regional quarterfinals. The Lady Hurricanes season ended with a 56-53 loss against eventual state runner-up Pine Forest. Eastside’s girls team won its district and reached the regional semifinals in Class 5A.
Buchholz’ girls fell victim to a tough first-round draw in Class 7A after finishing runner-up in District 3. The defending state champion Lady Bobcats, led by Janiyah McKay who Flourish featured in February’s issue, battled before falling 77-73 to eventual state champ Wekiva in the opening round.
Gainesville’s boys team won its district and beat Milton in the 6A Regional quarterfinals before falling to Pensacola.
Oak Hall’s girls claimed a district title but lost in the opening round of the Class 3A regionals, as did the Eagles’ boys team.
Oak Hall golfer Carolina Holloway signed with Washington & Lee University. She played seven seasons of variety golfer, serving as co-captain for both the boys and girls squads during her career. She will be a fourth generation athlete at the school as her great grandfather was captain of the track team, her grandfather played football and lacrosse, and her mother played soccer for the Generals, according to Oak Hall’s website.
Oak Hall soccer player Sam Malnik has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career at Amherst College. He was a member of the Eagles’ varsity squad for seven years and also was on the school’s weightlifting team for three years. He plays club soccer for Miramar United FC, which was No. 1 in Florida and No. 1 in the Southeastern United States region.
In addition, Oak Hall volleyball player Kelsie Tebbett signed with Aurora University in Illinois. The 5-foot-9 middle blocker recorded 116 kills and 44 blocks this past season.
Drew Schaeffer was named Oak Hall’s next volleyball coach, replacing long-time coach Cari Martin after her December resignation.
Calling Oak Hall a “dream job” on the school’s website, Schaeffer also said the switch was “bittersweet” because he left his alma mater of Port High School. He inherits an Eagles’ program with a rich history despite last season’s 11-14 record.
Martin guided the team to 18 district and 12 regional titles while reaching the state’s championship six times, including state titles in 1997 and 1999.
St. Francis senior lineman Eric Junior has been offered an athletic scholarship to continue his football career at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich. Listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Junior played both sides of the line and also served as deep snapper. He’s also receiving interest from Benedictine, Florida Tech and Jacksonville, according to St. Francis coach Davis LaMarre.
St. Francis High’s 3rd Annual Wolves Golf Classic is scheduled for April 26. Registration and breakfast begins at 8 a.m. followed
by a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The cost of $100 per golfer covers green fees, range balls, breakfast, lunch and on-course refreshments. Registration is through the school’s website (sfchs.org) or by contacting advancement director Sabrina Harris at 352-248-0356 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds benefit SFCHS Student Activities.