GHS edges P.K. Yonge

P.K. Yonge's Aidan Bell grabs a rebound with teammate Randall Robinson boxing out Gainesville's Josh Hayes on Tuesday.
P.K. Yonge's Aidan Bell grabs a rebound with teammate Randall Robinson boxing out Gainesville's Josh Hayes on Tuesday. (Photo by C.J. Gish)

It was your typical city game on Tuesday night at The Purple Palace.

But that’s a good thing.

Gainesville’s Seth Childers made two free throws with 3.8 seconds to play to ice the game for the Hurricanes, who stayed unbeaten with a 57-54 win against visiting P.K. Yonge.

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GHS senior Theo Stephens led all scorers with 22 points, including an and-one with 2:12 to play in the game as the Hurricanes (3-0) moved ahead 52-50, and they never trailed again.

“City games are always going to be like this,” said second-year GHS coach Mike Barnes, who won 17 games in his first season. “PK is going to give their best against GHS and GHS is going to give their best against P.K. It’s important to the guys. They all know each other and they want bragging rights.”

P.K. Yonge's Elijah Harris guarded by Gainesville's Jordan Bodie on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish P.K. Yonge’s Elijah Harris guarded by Gainesville’s Jordan Bodie on Tuesday.

The Blue Wave (0-3), who have lost three games against a very challenging schedule, had a chance to send the game into overtime or possibly win it.

Senior Moses Horne, who drained a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in the first half to give PKY a 25-24 lead at the break, took the final shot from the top of the key.

Down 55-53, Horne’s shot was no good but he was fouled by Childers, ironically with 4.5 seconds to play in the game.

Horne was just inside the 3-point line and given two shots but he made just one of two.

Childers was fouled, and he redeemed himself.

“I went 0-for-2 earlier in the game and I knew it was going to come down to two big shots, so I knew walking up it was do-or-die,” Childers said. “If I missed them they had a chance of winning so I knew I had to knock them down to secure the ‘W,’ so that’s what I did.”

It marked the end of a thrilling fourth quarter that consisted of five straight 3-pointers, including six if you count Stephens’ and-one.

P.K. Yonge junior Alijah Bertrand came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer with 4:21 to play for a 44-43 lead and another 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining for a 47-46 lead.

However, senior S.J. Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer for a 46-44 lead with 4:03 to play and Childers made a 3-pointer with 3:12 to play for a 49-47 lead.

“I think PK played really great tonight,” Barnes said. “They hit a lot of timely shots and we were able to hit some timely shots and get some stops at the end. P.K. was very physical tonight and I think we’ve got to handle that a little bit better.”

Five players scored seven or more points for the Blue Wave, led by Horne with nine points.

Gainesville's Seth Childers (right) guards P.K. Yonge's Moses Horne on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Seth Childers (right) guards P.K. Yonge’s Moses Horne on Tuesday.

“It was a good, competitive game by both teams,” said P.K. Yonge coach Boderick Johnson, who is in his fifth season with the Blue Wave. “I told our guys our goal was to limit the turnovers and also rebound the ball because I know interiorly they are bigger than us, but the way our guys competed, and fought, different players sparked us at different times, so I’m just proud of them. Credit to GHS. They made the plays that they had to make.”

P.K. Yonge just recently got all of their players back as the football team was eliminated from the state playoffs last Friday.

The Blue Wave will get a week off before traveling to city rival Eastside next Tuesday.

“We’ll live with this and fight another day, but I appreciate the opportunity just to coach these young men,” Johnson said. “They’re great individuals, first and foremost, but they’re going to be even better as the season rolls along. We’ll get a chance over these next several days of practice to really kind of go over some things that we intend to do. So, we’ll be ok.”

GHS, which snapped a 3-game losing streak in the series last January, has now won two in a row in the series.

P.K. Yonge will get a chance to even the 2-game series at home on Jan. 17.

Make sure you get there early but expect to stay late.

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