Suprises, strong starts highlight first weeks of basketball season


A handful of games into the high school basketball season and there are several players who are beginning to standout for both Ponte Vedra Sharks and Nease Panthers.

One of the surprises in the early season has been the play of Sage Pytel, who has become an immediate contributor for the Panthers’ girls basketball squad as she leads the team in multiple categories and is only a freshman.

She is averaging a team-high 9.3 points per game for the 2-3 Panthers and is also leading the way with two assists per contest.

Junior McKenna Owens and sophomore Abilgail Robinson are not far behind Pytel in both points and assists, while senior Daniela Reich has been a force on the boards and defensively with team-high averages of 5.8 rebounds and three steals per game.

For the Ponte Vedra High girls, they are riding their first wave of momentum this season with two consecutive wins over Ridgeview and Bartram Trail, 55-54 and 52-30, respectively.

The Sharks have been tested early and wasted no time with a tournament to open the season and they have been up to the test, scoring mor than 50 points in all but one of their first five games.

It is no surprise that the offense has come out clicking with seniors Morgan Gavazzi and Kennedy Rosendahl, who are a pair of sharpshooters and have a knack for scoring.

Fellow senior Maya Richards provides hustle and energy to the team on both sides of the ball.

It has also been a strong start to the season for the Sharks’ boys basketball squad, who are 4-1 and have proven early on that they can win in a variety of ways, as they defeated Raines 82-58 in a shootout and followed it up by winning a defensive slugfest against Impact Christian Academy, 37-35.

The Sharks are getting ready to play in the Sixth Annual Fortegra High School 9:12 Basketball Invitational at FSCJ’s south campus Dec. 7-9 before facing the Panthers in a rivalry showdown at home on Dec. 15.

For the Panthers, they have been in every game to open the season and earned their first victory with a dominant 54-40 showing against Bartram Trail on Dec. 1.

A couple of tough road contests await the Panthers before they face the Sharks, as they will play the Bishop Kenny Crusaders Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and the rival St. Augustine Yellow Jackets Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

High school basketball, Ponte Vedra Sharks, Nease Panthers