Region finalists top All Area boys big school team

Gainesville's Theo Stephens (left) and Santa Fe's Don'trell Jenkins led their teams to the regional finals in 2023.
Graphic by Seth Johnson / Photos by C.J. Gish
Editor’s Note
This is the fourth of five stories unveiling the 2023 Bosshardt Realty All Area Basketball Teams. Click here to read about the Small School girls team, the Big School girls team and the Small School boys team. Go to our All Area girls basketball team landing page by clicking here. Go to our All Area boys basketball team landing page by clicking here.

The 2022-23 high school boys basketball season saw plenty of success for area teams and individual players.

And while none of the big school (3A-6A) teams advanced to the FHSAA State Boys Basketball Championships in Lakeland, three schools came up just an eyelash short as they advanced to the regional finals.  

Those three teams dominate the Bosshardt Realty Big School All-Area boys basketball team.

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In their second year under coach Mike Barnes, Gainesville finished 23-7, went 7-0 against city rivals Buchholz, Eastside, and P.K. Yonge, won the District 2-6A title for the first time in five years, and defeated Forest (Ocala) and Oakleaf (Orange Park) in the state playoffs before losing their region final matchup at eventual state runner-up Ponte Vedra, 72-61.

Gainesville's Josh Hayes with a fourth quarter dunk against Eastside on Thursday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Josh Hayes led the Hurricanes with 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while scoring 13.7 points this season.

Senior guard Theo Stephens was Gainesville’s unquestioned leader, averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game along with 4.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 steals per game in a team-high 29.2 minutes per contest.

“Theo always plays extremely hard,” Barnes said. “He always plays his best in front of big crowds and really enjoys playing in games versus city teams. He knows where to be defensively in help and does a lot of little things offensively that help get his teammates open. Offensively he can score at all three levels. He is a special offensive player and really just a special player all-around.”

Stephen’s teammate, senior center Josh Hayes, joins him on the first team. The 6-foot-9 Appalachian State signee came over from The Rock School in Gainesville this season and finished second for the Hurricanes in scoring with 13.7 points per game and led Gainesville with 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

“Josh had his biggest for us at the defensive end of the floor,” Barnes said. “His ability to be an intimidating presence around the basket by altering and blocking shots was extremely important to our success this year. He rebounded at a high level this year as well. Offensively, Josh has great hands and finishes well around the basket. He would crash the glass hard and get putbacks for us. He is an unselfish passer who always looks for his open teammates.”

Joining the Gainesville teammates on the first team is Santa Fe senior guard Don’trell Jenkins. Jenkins, who nearly led the Raiders to the 4A state title as a sophomore in 2021, averaged a team-high 18 points a game and added 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Santa Fe finished 22-7 and won 18 games in a row at one point before a 71-69 setback to North Marion (Citra) in the District 5-4A championship game. The Raiders were the top seed in Region 2-4A and advanced to the region final before being knocked off 66-60 by eventual state runner-up The Villages.

“Don’trell Jenkins is a natural leader and a hard worker,” Santa Fe second-year coach Glen Banks said.

Columbia's Isaac Broxey (10) and Ty'jahn Wright (4) helped the Tigers to the Region 1-5A Final.
Photo by C.J. Gish Columbia’s Isaac Broxey (10) and Ty’jahn Wright (4) helped the Tigers to the Region 1-5A Final.

Another region finalist, Columbia (Lake City) from Region 1-5A, is represented by senior guard/forward Isaac Broxey.

Broxey led the Tigers with 17 points a game and chipped in 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Columbia finished with a 20-10 record and defeated Pine Forest (Pensacola), won at Booker T. Washington (Pensacola) in the region semifinal, and came up just short of a final four appearance as they lost 35-34 at eventual 5A state runner-up Mainland (Daytona Beach).

“Isaac has been incredible for us these last two years,” Columbia coach Steve Faulkner said. “He eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone this year, which just puts an exclamation point on a great high school career. His work ethic, leadership, and his ability to make big shots have been keys to our success during his career.”

The final member of the first team is senior guard/forward Moses Horne of P.K. Yonge. Horne was the only Blue Wave player in double figures with 16 points per game, and he led P.K. Yonge to the District 2-3A title and another appearance in the state playoffs.

“Moses was able to come over to P.K. this past season (from The Rock) and made an immediate impact to the team,” P.K. Yonge coach Boderick Johnson said. “Moses was named as the 3A-District 2 player of the year for his performance throughout the season.”

The second team is led by Gainesville senior point guard Seth Childers. Childers averaged a team-high 5.9 assists per game to go along with 4.8 points and two steals.

“Seth controlled the game for us,” Barnes said. “We could push the ball when it was in his hands or we could slow the game down and run sets. He is the best communicator that we have on our team. When we were in tight games, Seth always made sure the guys on the court were all on the same page. Deep down, he is just a winner.”

Joining Childers on the second team are senior guard/forward Ty’jahn Wright of Columbia and senior forward/center Kyren Washington of Santa Fe.

Gainesville's Seth Childers attempts to knock the ball loose against P.K. Yonge's Moses Horne on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish P.K. Yonge’s Moses Horne (24) and Gainesville’s Seth Childers were both named to the 2022-23 All Area team.

Wright averaged almost 12 points a game while adding almost five rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

“Ty has been our Swiss army knife the last two years,” Faulkner said. “I’ve asked him to play numerous roles and he embraced every single one of them. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help us win.”

Washington averaged nine points and led Santa Fe with 4.2 rebounds per contest.

“Kyren Washington is very athletic and was a glue guy for our team this year,” Banks said.

Keystone Heights is represented on the second team by senior forward/center Seth Gagnon. The Indians finished 14-11 and just missed the postseason after losing to Eastside in the opening round of the District 5-4A tourney.

“Seth ended up averaging 18 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks per game, and he is a generally awesome kid and leader for us,” Keystone Heights coach Matthew Snowberger said.

The final member of the second team is Buchholz senior guard Jacob Sterck. Buchholz just missed the postseason under outgoing coach Blake Golden, as they lost a tough 59-55 decision at Gainesville in the District 2-6A title game.

Sterck led Buchholz with 13.8 points per game and chipped in 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

BOYS – BIG SCHOOL (3A-6A) (1st Team) 

G – Theo Stephens, GHS (Senior)

G – Don’trell Jenkins, Santa Fe (Senior)

G/F – Isaac Broxey, Columbia (Senior)

G/F – Moses Horne, P.K. Yonge (Senior)

C – Josh Hayes, GHS (Senior)

BOYS – BIG SCHOOL (3A-6A) (2nd Team) 

G – Jacob Sterck, Buchholz (Senior)

G – Seth Childers, GHS (Senior)

G/F – Ty’jahn Wright, Columbia (Senior)

F/C – Seth Gagnon, Keystone Heights (Senior)

F/C – Kyren Washington, Santa Fe (Senior)

Honorable mentions:

Buchholz – Ryan Webster (Sr., G), Palmer Walton (Jr., F/C), Tyler Gainey (Sr., PG)

Columbia – Seth Stockton (Sr., F), D’Maceo Sheppard (Sr., F/C)

Eastside – Shelton Hall (Sr., G/F), Kelvin Baker (So., G)

Gainesville – Anthony Leivonen (Jr., F)

Keystone Heights – Gregory Pelham (So., G)

P.K. Yonge – Elijah Harris (Sr., G), Isaiah Cooper (Sr., F)

Santa Fe – Makhi Lewis (Sr., G), Braylon Guyden (Jr., G)

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