GHS, Columbia finish 0-2 at Thanksgiving Classic

Gainesville's Jayden Terry passes the ball in against Glynn Academy at the Insider Exposure Thanksgiving Classic in Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Gainesville's Jayden Terry passes the ball in against Glynn Academy at the Insider Exposure Thanksgiving Classic in Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Photo by Mike Ridaught

The Gainesville girls basketball team suffered its second straight loss to open the season with a 47-38 loss to Glynn Academy (GA) on Tuesday night at the 10th Annual Insider Exposure Thanksgiving Classic at Bolles (Jacksonville).

The Lady Hurricanes went 0-2 in Jacksonville, losing 55-33 to Milton (GA) on Monday.

“I think we have a lot of work to do as far as a team,” said GHS head coach Jazlynd Rollins. “We definitely need to work on ball handling. We need the skills, we need to get in the gym. Right now, we just have a lot for these kids to learn. We’ve got a lot of young girls who are just now coming into high school and I think this is just a teaching moment for them.”

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In the opening quarter on Tuesday night, junior Kendall Ruise tied the game at 6-6 on a layup.

However, the Terrors (1-0) went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter for a 15-6 lead.

Junior Taylor Mullins buried a couple of 3-pointers in the second quarter, the second of which brought the ‘Canes within six at 24-18.

But Glynn Academy’s Kyra Page (13 points) also made a couple of triples in the quarter, including her second which extended the lead to double digits at 28-18 at the half.

GHS answered early in the second half.

Senior Joselyn Wallace made a pair of free throws to make it single digits.

After the Terrors converted a free throw, Gainesville’s Jayden Terry heated up with her first 3-pointer from the right wing to make it a two-possession game at 29-23.

Martin Davis answered with a 3-pointer of her own to extend it to a 32-23 lead for Glynn Academy.

But once again, GHS responded.

Mullins’ 3-pointer got the Hurricanes within six again at 32-26. She finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Gainesville coach Jazlynd Rollins talks strategy with the Lady Hurricanes at the Insider Exposure Thanksgiving Classic in Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Photo by Mike Ridaught Gainesville coach Jazlynd Rollins talks strategy with the Lady Hurricanes at the Insider Exposure Thanksgiving Classic in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

“Spot up shooter, she’s a great shooter,” Rollins said. “I expect that from her. I need her to be more vocal and be a leader, lead by example, and I think she’ll be fine.”

Back-to-back buckets by Martin, who finished with a game-high 20 points, pushed the lead back up to 10 and GHS trailed 40-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Terry scored the first points of the final quarter to make it a seven-point game at 40-33, but that’s as close as the Hurricanes would get the rest of the game.

The junior finished with a team-high 15 points for the Lady Hurricanes, including 12 in the second half.

“I expect her to handle the ball, I expect her to score,” Rollins said. “She can score really well. Now we just have to get other girls involved.”

Gainesville never gave up, outscoring Glynn Academy 20-19 in the second half.

“We fought, but we weren’t smart,” Rollins said. “I think we need better basketball IQ. I think we need to learn the game a little bit more. You can put all the fight in but you’ve got to be smart on the court.”

GHS will host 4A state runner-up Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

“That’s going to be tough,” Rollins said. “It’s going to be a tough game. We have a tough schedule, but that’s the only way we’re going to get better by playing people who are better than us.”

Central Florida Christian Academy (Ocoee) 45, Columbia (Lake City) 21 – Columbia turned the ball over 27 times and trailed by 23 points at the half in a 45-21 loss to Central Florida Christian Academy (Ocoee) on Tuesday afternoon at the Thanksgiving Classic.

“One of the goals for tonight was to play a little bit better than we did yesterday (a 55-23 loss to 6A regional quarterfinalist Ponte Vedra on Monday), and I don’t know if we did that,” said Columbia coach Anthony Perry. “Because we didn’t have a preseason (due to sickness), these two games that count, count as our preseason, so we’ve got a bunch of things to work on.”

The Lady Tigers struggled early as junior Jolena Gardner (team-high nine points) was the only player to score in the opening quarter as CFCA built an early 14-5 lead.

Jolena Gardner
Columbia’s Jolena Gardner

“She played better than yesterday,” Perry said. “We’re looking for her to have a breakout season. She’s going to have to bring that every night.”

Columbia did show some signs of life early in the second half.

Junior Ayesha Broxey knocked down a 3-pointer just 10 seconds into the third quarter and added a second bucket, followed by a Garner free throw for a 6-0 run.

However, the Eagles, who didn’t score their first bucket until 2:15 remained in the quarter, finished off the third with an 8-0 run followed by the first four point of the fourth quarter.

“The game has ebbs and flows, but once you throw in the towel it’s pretty hard to get that back and that’s what I saw, and that’s uncharacteristic of our team over the last couple of days,” Perry said. “From a coach’s perspective, we practice better than this so we’re definitely expecting to play better than this.”

CFCA freshman Janiyah Swift scored a game-high 14 points, followed by sophomore Valeria Munoz with 10.

Broxey and Zuri Hollie had five points apiece for Columbia, which will host Suwannee (Live Oak) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Lady Tigers will travel to Santa Fe (Alachua) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

From Monday (Boys basketball)

Oak Hall 58, Redeemer Christian (Ocala) 21 – The Oak Hall Eagles opened the season Monday night by avenging last season’s district championship game loss to Redeemer Christian, traveling to Ocala and dominating the Lions, 58-21.

Senior Andrew Powell led the Eagles’ scoring with 16 points and senior Jackson Beach had a solid all-around game with 10 points, eight assists, eight steals, four rebounds, two blocked shots and no turnovers in 22 minutes of playing time.

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