North Santa Rosa

Magical Season Comes To An End

Tuesday-The two time defending state champs will get a chance to win a third as Ponce de Leon outlasted the Lady Royals, 47-41. The young Jay squad had the lead most of the game, but the Pirates’ hot shooting in the fourth quarter and foul trouble for the Royals ultimately gave Ponce the lead for good.

Ponce de Leon came out from the beginning of the game pressing the Royals baseline to baseline and for the most part, the Lady Royals were able to beat the press and convert some jump shots in transition. Both Carleigh Baker and Kaylee Gilbreath hit 3’s early on to give the Lady Royals a 13-8 lead to end the first quarter in front of a packed gym. However, both Maddie Grimes and Carleigh Baker would pick up two fouls a piece and would be forced to sit most of the second quarter.

With both Grimes and Baker sitting, the young Lady Royals would get even younger as Geogia Lewis and Hattie Locklin would come in and hold their own against the senior laden Pirates. Kaylee Gilbreath would hit a couple of 3’s and make two free throws to be the lone scorer for Jay in the second as Ponce would out-score Jay in the second, 12-8.

Up 21-20 coming out of halftime, Jay’s defense ratcheted down to smother Ponce, who now was out of the press and playing zone in the third quarter. Ponce would only score five in the third quarter. Kaylee Gilbreath would add four in the third quarter, Grimes added three, and Presley Hawthorne hit a three at the buzzer to end the quarter and give the Lady Royals a 31-25 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter would not be as kind to the Lady Royals as Ponce hit three crucial three pointers to get them within striking distance of Jay. With Baker fouled out and Grimes with four fouls, with under two minutes left in the game, Jay had three eighth graders and two ninth graders on the floor down by 3. Ponce would make their free-throws down the stretch to extend their lead to six.

“Its been a storybook season,” head coach Jorey Diamond stated after the game. “So much accomplished by this team. I’m so proud of the kids and my assistants. We battled all night and I’m excited about what the future holds.”

All things come to an end and a basketball season is no different. But when you see how hard these players worked all year and the confidence that they have in each other, this ending was a little tougher to swallow. Still, when something comes to an end, something new is on the horizon. And that horizon looks bright for the Jay Lady Royals. With the community behind them, as evident in the nearly 1,000 Jay faithful that made the trip to Ponce de Leon, the Town of Jay is anxious on seeing what is on the horizon.

“I feel so fortunate to teach and coach in the best community on this earth,” Diamond concluded.

JHS 13 8 10 8-41

PDHS 8 12 5 22-47

(P. Hawthorne 8, C. Baker 3, G. Lewis 4, H. Locklin 6, K. Gilbreath 15, M. Grimes 5)

Posted by on Feb 15 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

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