Ponte Vedra’s boys’ basketball team completed yet another successful three- game stretch without a setback last week, but it wasn’t easy. The three-game sweep with victories over Trinity Christian, Bolles and Fletcher stretched their record to 14 wins against but one setback, easily the best start in school history.
The Sharks began their week with a decisive 58-16 victory over Trinity Christian. So stingy was the PVHS defense that the 16 points tallied by Trinity were the fewest points allowed by a Shark team in the 13 years of Ponte Vedra basketball. With a tough Bolles squad on the docket to face the Sharks the following evening, coach Kevin Whirity was able to give several of his players some much needed rest as 11 of his players dented the scoring column.
Bolles invaded the Shark Tank the following night with a highly ranked team that had only tasted defeat once during the season. A fired-up PVHS five got off to a resounding start as they bolted out to 17-2 start against the visiting Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs showed why they boasted an outstanding record as they chipped away at the deficit and seemingly had the Sharks on the ropes. With the Sharks clinging to a one-point lead with about 2 minutes remaining in the hard-fought contest, senior guard Alex Madson came up with the pivotal play of the game. Madson took an inbounds feed from JT Kelly and banked in a contested layup to give the Sharks a 53-50 lead. Fouled on the play, Alex cashed in the free throw that ignited a closing 10-1 run by the victorious Sharks.
Madson was terrific in the 61-52 victory and drew high praise from his coach.
“Alex has been a rock for us all season,” gushed Whirity. “His ability to contribute and impact the game across so many facets is uncanny. The guy can flat out play, and no stage is ever too big.”
Madson scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field while adding a trio of steals and assists. A defensive stopper as well, Madson equaled a school record the previous evening with eight steals in the victory over Trinity Christian.
Two days after the big program victory over Bolles, the Sharks were dealt a rude awakening from a talented Fletcher team. The Sharks played a poor first half against the visiting Senators that did not at all please the Sharks energetic second year mentor.
“Our guys needed a quick reminder of the game plan and that our effort level was poor,” said Whirity, who called on his reserves to play much of the second quarter. “Fletcher was playing as a team and was executing with much higher energy.”
It looked like the Sharks were doomed to defeat when they trailed by 10 points with but 6 minutes remaining. Suddenly, after shooting seemingly nothing but blanks at the basket for much of the contest, coupled with some clutch out court shooting from Jack Polian and JT Kelly as well as a stifling defense, the Sharks roared back with a 15-2 run to keep their winning streak intact with their comeback 50-46 win.
Luke Pirris led the Shark scorers with 13 points, while sophomore Nathan Buncosky had 11 tallies. Whirity was also pleased with his teams’ depth over last weeks stretch. Sophomore Israel Nuhu earned some kudos from his coach after playing his best game of the season against Fletcher with a team-leading eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
“Israel continues to improve daily and the sky is the limit for this young man,” added Whirity.
On Tuesday night, the Sharks fell 45-36 at Providence, the area’s top-ranked team.
The Sharks will take the court Friday night at home with a contest against Ridgeview with the varsity game scheduled for a 7:30 tip-off.