Sharks continue district play this week


After finding success on the road, where the Ponte Vedra’s Boys Varsity Basketball Team won 4 out of the five away contests, the Sharks were confident of extending their four game winning streak when they returned to the Shark tank on Friday, December 4.

However, the energized Nease Panthers had other ideas as they completely shut down the high scoring Shark attack by employing a 3-2 zone defense in their stunning 47-40 victory over Ponte Vedra.

Playing in front a near capacity crowd that jammed the Shark tank, it was the Panthers who were able to feed off the energy from the raucous crowd while the host Ponte Vedra squad appeared very tight throughout the contest.

Both teams got off to a jittery start as a full three minutes had elapsed before either team was able to net a field goal. The Sharks led 6-0 before the Panthers were able to get on the board with a pair of free throws with 2:44 remaining in the opening quarter. The Panther dry spell would be their last on the evening as the Nease duo of Sam Guenther and Matt Seymour rallied the Panthers to a 21-18 lead at halftime.

The third quarter would prove fatal for the ice cold shooting Sharks as the hosts were only able to tally a minuscule five points, while Nease added a modest eleven markers to take a comfortable 32-23 lead heading into the final quarter.

The desperate Sharks were able to close the gap to five points late in the contest by employing a full court press, but cold shooting from behind the three point arc doomed the Sharks.

Ponte Vedra netted but 6 of an astounding 32 attempts from three point land as Nease’s zone defense shut off any PV inside game.

Coming into the contest the Sharks were averaging more than 62 points per game, but were thoroughly shut down by the determined Panthers.

Nease’s duo of Seymour and Guenther combined for 31 points on the evening while the two season leading scores for the Sharks, JD Pirris and Matt Johnson were limited to a combined 22 markers, far below their season average. Pirris and Johnson managed to net only 8 of their 34 attempts from the field, including a frigid 2 for 21 from three point country.

If there was a bright light for the Sharks, it was the hustling play of junior Chris Tomacewski’s from off the bench. Tomacewski’s intense defensive effort contributed to a number of Nease turnovers in the final quarter but his teammates were unable to take advantage due to their poor shooting.

When the final buzzer sounded with Nease on the top end of the final 47-40 score, the large throng of Nease supporters stormed the court to congratulate their beloved Panthers and their energetic, popular, and charismatic coach Josh Bailen.

The defeat brought to a sudden and disappointing end for what had started out to be a very productive week for the Sharks.

On Tuesday, Ponte Vedra breezed to a 54-35 victory over Clay and then followed up the following day with an impressive 75-60 win over Fletcher in their annual Battle of the Beaches.

The Sharks put Clay away early with a 20-9 lead after the first quarter as Matt Johnson scored 11 of his game high 20 points.

Pirris added 14 points for the game, just half the number of points the junior would net the following evening against Fletcher when he poured in a career high 28 points.

Matt Johnson chipped in with 15 while junior Lance Kren came off the bench and netted a career high 17 points, meshing 7 of his 8 shots attempted in the contest.

The Sharks hope to quickly atone from their stunning defeat at the hands of their arch rivals with a couple of important district games this week.

On Tuesday the Sharks hosted Menendez, the team that eliminated Ponte Vedra last year in the FHSAA playoffs, before traveling to Palatka tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 11) to take on a traditionally successful Panther squad.

Both varsity game are schedule to start at 7:30 PM, following a pair of Junior Varsity games that tip off at 6:00 p.m.