North Santa Rosa

Royals Are Champs!

Friday-The Jay Royals are district champs! Jay (21-3) hosted Paxton (22-4) and came away with a hard-fought victory over the Bobcats, 65-45. The district championship marks the first for the school in basketball in 25 years. The game capped off an unbelievable week for Jay High as the boys hosted their district tournament on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday while the girls hosted the regional semi-final and won on Thursday.

In an over capacity John C. Smith gymnasium, the Jay Royals put on a show. “That was the biggest crowd I’ve witnessed at a high school basketball game,” Hullet said of the crowd. “The community was out in full support.”

Three different Royals scored in double digits on the night (Tristan Watson, Mason Allen, Ethan McDonald).

The game started with Paxton taking a quick 4-0 lead. Jay would quickly connect on some early three’s to take the lead back from the Bobcats. Tristan Watson hit two in the first, Mason Allen would connect as well, and the versatile Sammy Melvin hit one also. The Royals would take a 16-8 lead.

From early on, it seemed that the Bobcats wanted to prove they belonged against the more athletic Royals by playing tough and through the whistle.

“I’m so proud of our mental toughness during that game,” head coach Hank Hullet stated after the game. “I believe they wanted to challenge us physically, and we kept our composure throughout.”

Mason Allen would connect on a couple of 3’s in the second quarter to extend Jay’s lead temporarily in the second quarter, but Paxton would go on a small run to end the quarter and out score the Royals 16-15 in the second quarter.

Up 31-24, Jay did just what they needed to coming out of halftime and put up a big 23 points in the third. Tristan Watson and Ethan McDonald combined for 16 points in the quarter.

Things would get a little chippy in the fourth quarter for both sides, but again, the Royals were able to handle the big moments and make big plays in the game.

Coach Hullet spoke after the game about what the win meant to him and his team. “I’m so happy for our kids to see some return on the time and effort that they put into the program.”

Many at the game repeated over and over that they’ve never witnessed so many in attendance at a Jay High basketball game. After a week of being in the gym every night (except Wednesday), Friday night felt like a party for the students and those in attendance just as much as it felt like a game. “I love the family atmosphere that has been established in the program.” Once the Royals took care of business on the court, the party turned into what really did feel like a family reunion of sorts. “It was awesome seeing all the support that we had in the stands,” Hullet added. “It was great to go through the crowd after the game and talk to former players who are just as excited as the kids that played the game.”

So, for all the Jay faithful, there are a couple of days to catch your breath and get ready for what could be another fun week. The Lady Royals will be playing at Ponce de Leon on Tuesday for the regional final championship and a trip to the final four. The boys will be back in action on Thursday. That game should be at Jay against Bethlehem. Check back once the official announcement has been made.

What a week to be in Jay and to be a Jay Royal!
“There’s no better place,” Hullet said.

PHS 8 16 14 7-45

JHS- 16 15 23 11-65

(T Watson 18, S Melvin 9, E McDonald 16, T Nowling 2, M Allen 13, B Godwin 7)

Photo courtesy of Natasha Godwin
Posted by on Feb 11 2023. Filed under High School, Jay, Local, Sports, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *