Sharks Basketball Season Closes with a 17-9 Record
It certainly was not the way this year’s Ponte Vedra’s boys basketball team wanted to see this season to come to a close, dropping a narrow 1-point loss to Menendez in this years tournament opener.
However, after the dust has settled and the tears have dried up, a 17 win season while overcoming some very difficult obstacles can only be labeled a success by anybody’s standards.
Certainly after a 20 plus win season from the previous year that culminated in a district championship, more of the same was expected from this year’s PVHS returnees.
However, just days before the season opener at Bartram Trail, the Sharks were dealt a devastating blow when 4 year varsity veteran performer Matt McGuier suffered a season ending knee injury.
McGuier was a sure bet this season to give the Sharks yet another talented twosome as they experienced in their recent past, first with the dynamic duo of Beau Beech and Jackson Johnson, and again last year with Johnson paired with out court shooting specialist Quinn Carey.
“Losing Matt McGuier early in the season was such a blow to this group on multiple levels,” said PVHS head coach Marcus Perez. “Matt is not just a terrific player but he was a galvanizing leader. His work ethic and dedication in the offseason were a phenomenal example, and not getting to enjoy the fruit of that work was disappointing for everyone,” added Perez.
Without the presence of McGuier it created a heavy burden on Ponte Vedra’s Carey to almost put this team on his back.
Carey would end the season with a scoring average of 20 points per game, while the rest of the team often struggled in tallying points. And when Quinn, who was less than 100 per cent while battling a flu bug, experienced a rare off night in shooting in the loss to Menendez, the rest of the Sharks also struggled.
When asked if perhaps the Sharks were a little uptight in playing the elimination game against a team they had defeated twice earlier in the season Perez replied: I don't think we went into an offensive "funk" as much as our opponents began to key on Quinn. We knew all season long that we had to make shots for this team to win.” said a disappointed coach.
For the entire contest the Sharks managed to connect on but 2 of 16 shots from behind the arc, well below the 40 per cent the team had averaged coming into the contest.
Just to prove that their win over the Sharks was no fluke, Menendez capped their storybook week by defeating the district’s top seed Palatka 57-50 in the district final.
Outside of Carey’s outstanding scoring, the signature trademark of this year’s Shark team was their relentless defense—- and remarkable team chemistry.
Ponte Vedra held their opponents to less that 44 points per game, the first time in PVHS 7 year history that they limited their foes an average of less than 50 points per game.
Although one would be led to believe that their offensive production might have taken a nose-dive from earlier years, that was simply not the case. The Sharks outgunned their opposition by an average of 51.4 to 43.7, second only to last year’s team in margin of victory.
And there’s the team chemistry as mentioned above. One would surely suspect that a team that has as many as 21 players on their roster, with 15 being seniors, this would be the perfect recipe for discontent from those that watch the games from the bench.
Often times the loudest cheering one would hear, especially at many of the Shark road games, would be from those same reserve players lustily rooting for their mates from the bench.
Playing a very difficult schedule that, outside of the mandatory district opponents one is required to face, the Sharks played no cupcakes during the season.
Until the final home game of the regular season, when the Sharks defeated arch rival Nease for the fourth straight time, there was but two Friday home games on their schedule.
For the first time in school history Ponte Vedra swept the season series with Creekside.
Coach Perez’s 21 man squad played two of their most talented opponents, both on the road, coming up with a split in a pair of games where the Sharks were decided underdogs.
The Sharks upset a very talented Bishop Kenny team 57-46 and lost a tight contest at Baker County 40-38 in a game that could very well have been a Shark victory if a couple of questionable calls had gone the other way.
After losing the season opener by a slim point to an always talented Bartram Trail five, the Sharks made amends for that loss with a decisive 61-42 win over the Bears.
“Overall, I think this was an incredibly challenging season,” added coach Perez.
There can be little doubt that followers of Ponte Vedra basketball have to be grateful that one could find such a coach with Perez’s impressive coaching resume. The combination of Coach Perez and program leader Bud Beach have yielded strong results and must have PV basketball fans excited about the future.
Perez has guided the Sharks to an impressive 38-16 record during his two years as the head coach and is looking forward to even more success in the near future.
The Sharks return 4 players who were part of the rotation this year, Juniors Thatcher Rottinghaus and Matt Johnson, and sophomores JD Pirris and Tyler Perez.
Toss in some talented players from this years talented Junior Varsity team that posted a 20 win season and one can see there’s a lot of optimism for next year.
Although it will be a challenge to match this year’s stingy defensive minded team, next year’s team will feature a more diversified offensive attack.
“Next year's team will be dramatically different in terms of look and style,” said the energetic Perez.
“With only 6 potential returning players, that leaves lots of room for the up and coming JV kids. Having worked with many of those kids in AAU, I see us picking up full court, trying to deny passes and really making it difficult for teams to run offense.
Offensively, I see us being much more balanced, running an open post motion that will give every guy space to read and make plays. We will shoot it a great deal more and really focus on tempo,” remarked Perez.
When asked about the upcoming JV players Perez added: “Those kids all know how to pass, catch, screen and cut equally, which will make us a difficult team to defend. Our defense will create offense, combined with an uptempo mentality; its really the type of basketball I love to teach.
We couldn't do as much of that with our personnel this year, but next year we absolutely can have a more fast paced game. My teams in Atlanta and Boston played that way and we did a lot of that at Missouri as well. It's a super fun way to play! That said, we will have minimal experience in playing varsity minutes.”
In closing Perez stated: “I think everyone is disappointed with the way the season ended. As a coach you're always haunted by losing to a team you believe you can beat. Still, once the sting wears off, we can look back at what a special year it was for many of our guys.
I'm proud of their collective effort. In many ways, this was a transition year in terms of passing the torch and I'm excited to see what the young guys will do. The culture is more ingrained and the young guys are definitely believers in the process. They'll be hungry, especially since we all feel like we didn't finish the season on an upswing.”
Thanks to the work of coaches such as Marcus Perez, his loyal assistant Saleem Ahmad, JV coach Parker Smith, and the base work created by Bud Beech, Ponte Vedra basketball has come a long way since that hopefully long forgotten 0-25 debut back in 2009.
And this year’s group of seniors can proudly look back that their 17 win season was second only to last year’s team in wins over the course of a season, and percentage wise, the 2nd best mark in PVHS history.
Shark fans are already eager for the the 2015-16 season. It should be fun!
Sharks Season ends with a 17-9 Record
Ponte Vedra’s 2014-15 season ended last night with a stunning 1 point loss to Pedro Menendez last night in the first round of the FHSAA basketball playoffs.
Poor shooting, some ill timed turnovers, and most importantly, an outstanding one-man show from Menendez sophomore sensation Zach Bryant spelled doom for the Sharks in their 41-40 defeat at the hands of the Falcons.
Bryant was a 1-man wrecking crew against the Sharks as he tallied an unheard of 75 percent of his teams points, including a driving layup with 0:04 seconds left on the clock for the game winner.
Ponte Vedra had just taken a 1-point lead with 0:15 remaining on a 3-pointer from Thatcher Rottinghaus, only the 2nd 3-pointer made on the entire evening by the Sharks. However, the Falcons brilliant sophomore guard dashed the hopes of a PVHS long tourney run when Bryant converted his game winning shot.
A desperation mid court heave by Ponte Vedra’s Quinn Carey was missed as a jubilant Menendez team flooded the court to celebrate their first win of the season over the Sharks after two regular season defeats.
Bryant finished the evening with 31 points to easily top all scorers while Ponte Vedra’s Carey was the only Shark in double figures with 16.
Before fouling out late in the contest, Donovan Garrard ended his Shark career with 8 points and a team leading 10 rebounds.
Scoring 16 points in his final game, Carey ended his career with 1118 career points, and 3rd in all-time Shark scoring history behind only Beau Beech and Jackson Johnson.
The final all time PVHS stats have now been updated and can be viewed by clicking on a link on the right side of the welcome page.
Sharks Wrap up Winning Regular Season Friday
Playing their best basketball as the regular season draws to a close, the Sharks travel to Mandarin Friday in quest of their 7th straight victory after defeating a fired up Creekside five 46-42 on Tuesday night.
The Sharks have now won 9 of their last 10 games to improve their overall season record to 17-7, including season sweeps over their closest rivals, Nease and Creekside.
The Sharks began their successful run this week by trimming Ridgeview and Clay to conclude the mandatory district portion of their schedule before resuming their rivalries with the Panthers and Knights.
An outmanned Ridgeview team, with but one win on their schedule, was no match for the Sharks as they fell to PVHS 62-26. Eighteen Sharks saw action on the court with every player contributing in at least one statistical department.
On January 20 Ponte Vedra survived a minor scare from a much improved Clay Co. team in a 56-44 victory over the host Blue Devils.
Clay Co. had cut into a 7 point Shark lead early into the 4th quarter before the Sharks could pull away from the Blue Devils.
Leading by a scant 39-38 margin the Sharks then made their move. Donovan Garrard tallied on a pair of layups, JD Pirris hit a driving layup and then Matt Johnson cemented the deal with a 3 pointer to give the Sharks some much needed bathing room.
The Sharks prevailed despite a rare off shooting night from Quinn Carey. After hitting his first 3-pointer he attempted on the evening, Quinn then went stone cold from the field as he was off target on his next 10 attempts.
Carey, however, was able to hit five straight free throws in the 4th quarter as the Sharks outscored the hosts 17-8 during the stretch drive.
Ross McCarthy had a big game for the Sharks with a double double, 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Sophomore Tyler Perez and senior Pat Boylan provided a big lift for the Sharks. Corey Russi pitched in with 5 steals while sophomore JD Pirris and Junior guard Matt Johnson combined for 9 assists.
The Sharks returned to the Shark Tank the following night to host arch rival Nease in their first Friday night appearance on their home court since November. A near capacity crowd on Senior Night was rewarded with a convincing 53-37 Shark victory.
Ponte Vedra utilized their patented defensive pressure in defeating arch rival Nease for the 2nd time this season, and the 4th straight victory over the Panthers over the past two years.
Playing his last regular season game on his home court, Quinn Carey recaptured his shooting stroke with a game high 23 points, including 4 three pointers to lead all scorers. Ross McCarthy continued his fine play by adding 10 points and a team high 7 rebounds as coach Marcus Perez was able to play all 14 of his seniors dressed for the game.
And what a way the home folks were treated as the closing seconds of the game wound down! Crowd favorite, 6'6 Senior Vince DePorre, ended the contest in fitting fashion, with a dunk (well- a semi dunk) in the closing seconds that put the exclamation point on a night that belonged to the Sharks.
After embarrassing a Creekside team earlier in the season by limiting the Knights to their lowest points scored in their school’s history, few expected Creekside to score but 18 points in the return matchup.
Playing in front of a large following on Senior night, the host Knights had surpassed the 18 points they scored earlier at Ponte Vedra by the midway point of the second quarter. With Senior Adam Tretheway burying a trio of three point shots, the Knights had stretched their 2nd quarter lead over the Sharks to 19-12.
The sign of a resilient team, and one that is well coached and can make the necessary half-time adjustments, could be the trademark of this season’s Shark squad.
After being burned by Tetheway’s 14 first half points, the Sharks limited the Creekside ace to but 3 second half points, while also putting the clamps on the remaining Knights.
Not panicking when the Sharks leading scorer on the season Quinn Carey got in early first half foul trouble, the senior dead-eye shooter quickly made his presence know in the 3rd quarter with some brilliant out court shooting. Carey connected on 4 of his 3 point specialties in the period as the Sharks outscored the startled hosts 15-3 to take a 34-27 lead into the final quarter.
The Sharks had a seemingly secure 40-29 lead with 3:30 left to play before the Knights made one final run. Aided by a questionable charging call after Carey had connected on a driving layup, compounded with a technical on the Shark bench, Creekside narrowed the gap to trail 40-35 with 1:33 left.
However Carey, who tallied 22 of his game high 25 points in the second half, then silenced the large crowd by making 6 consecutive free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Sophomore guard JD Pirris had another strong all around game for the Sharks with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of steals and blocked shots.
The Sharks will tuneup for next week’s playoffs with a contest Friday night on the road against a very good Mandarin team. The Mustangs boast of a very fine record this season with some impressive wins against top notch opponents and will be fired up to atone for an earlier loss to the Sharks back in November.
The Sharks will then begin, what they hope will be a long run in the upcoming playoffs, when they play Menendez in the tourney’s first game next Tuesday at Clay High School. Although the start time as not been announced, it is likely the start time will be at 6:00 PM.
Quinn Carey breaks 1000 point Barrier
A busy week looms ahead for the boys varsity basketball team at Ponte Vedra, a pair of district games, and concluding with a rematch with arch rival Nease that is sure to attract another large following of supporters from both schools.
Sporting an impressive 13-7 overall record, the Sharks are now playing their finest basketball of the season, losing only a tough road game at Palatka in their last six contests.
Headlining last weeks action was 6’3 senior Quinn Carey surpassing the 1000 career point mark in the Sharks 59-42 victory over Menendez.
Needing 23 points to become the 3rd player in school history to accomplish this feat, Carey drilled a 2-pointer with about 4 minutes remaining in the contest. Ponte Vedra head coach Marcus Perez quickly called a timeout, action was stopped and Perez presented the sharpshooting Carey with the game ball.
Carey would finish the evening with a career high 29 points to join a pair of former Sharks in the 1000 point club. Beau Beech, current star on the North Florida basketball team, and Jackson Johnson, now playing baseball at Tulane University, now welcome Carey into their fraternity.
Last Tuesday’s home victory over Menendez was the 2nd win over the Falcons on the season as the Sharks are now 4-2 in district play.
Following a sluggish start on the part of both teams, the Sharks sharpened up their offense in the final two quarters of action.
Leading by only 3 points after a low scoring first half that saw the locals on top 20-17, The Sharks nearly matched their entire first half output with 19 markers in the pivotal 3rd quarter.
Ponte Vedra did even better in the final quarter by pouring in 20 points, with 16 of those points coming from the free throw line, to pull away from the Falcons.
In addition to Carey’s 29 points, the Sharks received a great performance from JD Pirris. The sophomore guard tallied 8 points and led all players in rebounding with 11. Donovan Garrard added 9 points to the Sharks total while Matt Johnson topped the victors in assists with 6 and Ross McCarthy blocked 3 shots.
The Sharks will follow-up Tuesday’s district game vs. a RIdgeview team, that has but one win on the season, to face a pair of teams they had beaten earlier in the campaign.
The Sharks will cross the St. Johns River on Thursday to battle Clay Co, the host school for the district tournament that will begin in two weeks. The Sharks will then return to the Shark Tank on Friday to tangle once again with Nease, a team still smarting from losing earlier to the Sharks on a last second 3-pointer made by Quinn Carey.
The Nease game will mark the last regular season game for this year’s senior class at PVHS. An unheard total of 15 seniors will be honored prior to the 7:00 PM tipoff as this promises to be an emotional time for Shark followers.
Instead of the usual preliminary tilt with the school’s Junior Varsity teams squaring off, the first contest will also be Senior night for this year’s Ponte Vedra Girls basketball team as they host St. Joseph Academy at 6:00 PM.
Shark Junior Varsity Team Having a Great Season
This year’s Junior Varsity team may have stumbled out of the gate by dropping their first two games, but its been nothing but victories from there on out. After a thrilling road victory Friday night against an always talented Palatka team, the Sharks have now won 13 straight games while posting an envious 13-2 record.
It has been customary on the eve of a Ponte Vedra Varsity basketball game that students and fans would slowly but surely straggle into the Shark Tank. However, those that appear just in the nick of time to watch yet another varsity thriller, have been missing an outstanding show put on by this year’s Junior Varsity team.
With an unheard of total of 15 seniors moving on following graduation this spring, a number of spots could open up for many of this years talented JV team.
This years collection of 9th and 10th graders have posted their sterling record despite having 3 sophomores playing on the varsity.
The young Sharks are fortunate to have as their coach this season one of the greatest players in University of North Florida history in Parker Smith.
302 times UNF PA announcers barked over the loud speaker a scene all too familiar during Smith’s remarkable career for the Ospreys: “Parker Smith for ——- and the crowd would enthusiastically bellow out THREE!
Smith ended his stellar career at UNF as the all time leader in 3 pointers made and the 3rd leading scorer in Osprey history.
The 2014-15 Shark JVs possess plenty of depth and, more importantly, some untapped potential that will surely translate into continued success on the hardwoods for the next few years.
With many of their games won by such lopsided margins, Coach Smith has been able to spread the wealth around. After the Sharks dropped their first two games way back in November, they have since won their next 13 games by a margin of 20 points per outing.
Five different Sharks have led their team in scoring in a game during the season while as many as 8 of the 14 Sharks on the roster have scored in double digit figures. However, mainly due to their deep bench, no player has scored more than 20 points in a single game.
Leading the deep Sharks in scoring with a modest 12 points per game is sophomore center Lance Kren with sophomore Drew McCarthy also in double figures at a 10 points per game clip.
Kren also tops the Sharks in rebounding with 66 rebounds with sophomore Chris Tomacewski close behind with 58.
Piloting this smooth sailing ship has been yet another sophomore, point guard Mike Nicandri. Unselfish almost to a fault, the diminutive Nicandri has demonstrated that he can score when needed, as demonstrated by his 20 point outing against Fletcher. Arguably the most talented ball handler on both teams, Nicandri should challenge for valuable playing time when he joins the varsity next season.
Teaming up with Nicandri in the back court is vastly improving Reid Smith. Smith is 2nd only to Nicandri in steals but has really stepped up his play of late, coming up with 4 or more steals in 3 of the last five games.
Freshman Addison Shaw has been steady backing up Nicandri and Smith and will likely settle into a starting role on next year’s JV squad.
The entire varsity front line will be graduating this spring, leaving varsity head coach Marcus Perez with a huge void in the height department. With none of the returning underclassmen over 6’2 in height, Perez has high hopes that one or more of these promising JVs will development over the summer months.
In addition to starters Kren, McCarthy, and Tomacewski, one should not overlook a pair of freshman in 6’6 Jack Johnson and 6’3 Zach Summers, as well as 6’2 sophomore Eston Hensley.
The lanky Johnson has improved greatly under the direction of Coach Smith, while the energetic Summers has great athletic ability and runs the floor very well. Hensley plays fearless out on the court, is very strong for his age and also handles the ball exceptionally well for a big man. One — or all —- of these youngsters could be pleasant surprises in the near future.
Taking a back seat to nobody, in any sport or in any class at PVHS this season, is a JV basketball duo who could very well tear up the record books in football next year—- Ke’von Ahmad and Nick Tronti.
Although Shark football fans are anxious to see these two team up in the upcoming football season, Tronti and Ahmad are sure having a good time making their presence known in basketball.
Twice this season Ahmad has delivered game winning last second baskets to keep the winning streak alive while Tronti's physicality on the court has also been a difference maker.
Shark fans should make plans to arrive early this Monday evening when Ponte Vedra hosts Bartram Trail with the JVs eager to make amends for their season opening loss at the hands of the Bears. Its been nearly a full month since the Varsity or the JVs have played in front of the home folks. And for those that arrive early for the 6:00 PM tip off for the first game, they will not be disappointed with their early arrival.
Sharks Begin New Year at Full Strength
After limping though their first half of the season with a more than respectable 9-6 record, Ponte Vedra’s varsity basketball team will begin the second half of the 2014-15 schedule with a clean bill of health.
“Today will actually be the first day we have everyone available for practice in over a month,” said Ponte Vedra Head coach Marcus Perez.
“We had the flu and bronchitis ravage our team before exams started in mid December. That, combined with holiday schedules and minor injuries, has kept us from being at full strength. “
However, there is a silver lining to the Shark woes as Perez was able to get many of his reserve players some valuable playing time.
“ Many guys have benefitted from our lack of depth and we always use the holiday tournament as a chance to get everyone playing time and I'm excited to see how those who got a chance to develop can add to our performance in games,” Perez added.
The Sharks have been competitive in each of their first 15 games leading up to Tuesday’s road encounter at Ridgeview. Their six losses have been by a combined 16 total points, with all of the narrow defeats coming in the games final moments.
Two of the Shark downfalls came in the recent St. Augustine Holiday Classic played at the Bartram Trail Gymnasium.
Already playing without 6’4 returning frontline starter Ross McCarthy, the Sharks suffered a couple of major setbacks in their opening contest with Atlantic Coast. Donovan Garrard left the game early in the second half with a possible broken nose, while the Shark’s leading scorer, Quinn Carey, injured his ankle early into the 2nd quarter.
Carey did give the shorthanded Sharks a huge boost when he limped back onto the court two minutes into the final quarter and quickly drew the Sharks to within a single point of Atlantic Coast.
Unfortunately, the Sharks then went into a deep freeze and were unable to score during the games final moments and fell to the victors 45-39.
With no time to rest his ailing ankle, and with the heart of the Shark’s schedule just around the corner, Carey sat out the remaining two games of the Classic.
It appeared that the shorthanded Sharks were on a path to victory against St. Augustine, thanks to a 4 point lead with a minute remaining. However, a PVHS turnover followed by a couple of misses on the front end of one and one free throws spelled doom for the Sharks.
With 7 second remaining, and the Sharks leading 53-51, the Yellow Jackets Evan Moore drilled a 3 pointer to subdue the Sharks 54-53.
The Sharks avoided being swept in the Classic by bouncing back the following morning to convincingly defeat Paxon 42-29. The Sharks finally awoke from their slumber from the 10:00 AM tip off to awaken with a 22 point fourth quarter flurry to improve their record to 9-6.
Thatcher Rottinghaus, followed up his game leading 21 point output in a losing cause against St. Augustine to lead the Sharks with 14 points.
Although the Sharks have had frequent troubles on the offensive end of the court, that certainly has not been the case with their defense, holding their opponents to but 43 points per game.
“I am very proud of our defensive intensity,” remarked Perez. “We work very hard at it and our guys have embraced it. The fact that we hold teams well below their scoring average night in and night out is a terrific sign for our potential down the stretch.”
Coach Perez biggest concerns heading into the stretch drive is to eliminate those frustrating scoring droughts.
“We have had far too many games where we score just a few points in a quarter. That stems from 2 sources — our propensity to turn the ball over, and from our struggle to finish at the basket. We have been working very hard at those two things over the break and we will continue to work at them every practice so we can improve.”
When asked to comment further on this year’s team Perez added:
“The personality of this team is very unique. We are focused on the game in front of us and nothing more. I think we spent some time worrying about measuring up to last year's success. That has been a distraction. We still control our destiny in the district but ultimately our goal is to be playing our best basketball the week of the district tournament. Whether we win the district regular season or not, win 20 games or not, the goal has always been to win the district tournament and be able to play at home in the regionals.
If we're playing our best by the first week in February, the results will be simply a by-product of playing the right way. Ultimately, my goal is to have a team of young men we can all be proud of - not for the winning but for the way they have bonded together to be part of something bigger than themselves. With 21 players, it can be difficult for some to set aside their egos for the betterment of the group. That is our definition of success, to have a true team and not a collection of individuals.”
Although Coach Perez is close to all his players, there is one player who has received the highest of praise from the Shark coach, despite not playing a single minute this season —- Senior Matt McGuier.
“The loss of Matt McGuier for the season during the second week of practice was devastating,” lamented Perez.
“ Not only was Matt one of our top players, but he was also one of our most vocal leaders in the heat of competition on the floor. We have had to adjust our offense significantly because he could really score.
I'm proud of the way Matt has handed himself through this process. He tried to rehab and play (on a torn ACL). When that didn't work out, he has done everything he can do to help from the bench. Matt represents everything we aspire to - he has put his own needs/desires aside for the team.
He could have easily checked out once his opportunity to play was over and wallow in the pain of losing the senior season he worked so hard to prepare for. Instead, he has been at every practice, encouraging and pushing our guys, helping in drills and leading. He has been an inspiration to me as a teacher!” said a grateful Perez.
The Sharks will begin the New Year where they left off in 2014 —- On the road. The Sharks will play a pair of important district contests beginning Tuesday, Jan 6 vs. Fletcher and an all important rematch at Palatka on Friday, Jan 9.
Sandwiched between those district battles will be a rematch with Fletcher at the home of the Senators On Wednesday, Jan 7th, before the Sharks finally return home for the first time in 10 dates when they host Bartram Trail on Monday Jan. 12.
SHORTHANDED SHARKS DROP OPENER TO ATLANTIC COAST
Playing much of the game without three of their starters, the shorthanded Sharks dropped the opening game of the St. Augustine Classic 45-39 to Atlantic Coast.
Quinn Carey, a 3 year starter sporting a robust 20 points per game average, incurred an ankle injury early into the contest and failed to return until the 6:40 mark in the final quarter. Donovan Garrard, another 3 year veteran, left the game for good early in the 3rd quarter with a facial injury, while 2-year starter Ross McCarthy has missed the past three games.
Trailing by as many as 11 points shortly before Carey returned to the floor in the final quarter, the Sharks made a strong move to catch Atlantic Coast, pulling to within one point of the victors at 39-38 with 2:24 remaining in the contest.
However, the Sharks offense went into a deep freeze and remained scoreless the rest of the way as their record dropped to 8-5 on the season.
All 14 of the Sharks suited up for the game made an appearance as coach Marcus Perez attempted to find a winning combination in the early afternoon tilt played at Bartram Trail High School.
Playing only about 10 minutes, Carey led Ponte Vedra in scoring with 12 points, nine of those coming in the games final 6 minutes to again lead the Sharks in the low scoring affair.
With the three front line regulars seeing limited action, the Sharks were soundly defeated on the backboards with none of the PVHS performers able to pull down more than five rebounds.
Ponte Vedra will make a quick return back to Bartram Trail on Tuesday Morning when they face either St. Augustine or Oakleaf High in a game scheduled for an early 11:30 AM tipoff.
Shark Cagers Earn Well Deserved Holiday Break
(Editor’s note: This is a story that was scheduled to appear in this week’s edition of the Ponte Vedra Recorder, but since the paper was devoted exclusively to a recap of 2014, it was never printed. Look for stories to appear weekly following the new year every Thursday during the basketball season)
After winning two of their three road games against very stiff competition, the Ponte Vedra basketball team has earned a well deserved nine day respite during the Holiday break.
Following a 51-43 victory on December 16 against St. Augustine, the Sharks then split a pair of down to the wire contests in their next two outings.
The Sharks Quinn Carey nailed a 3 pointer on Friday to nose out arch rival Nease 42-39, and came inches away from repeating the feat on Saturday, only to see his last second shot fall off the iron as the Sharks dropped a 40-38 contest at Baker County.
All four of the Shark losses this season, have been games decided by a mere total of nine points. The Sharks near the halfway mark of the season with a very respectable 8-4 record.
In the Sharks contest at St. Augustine the Sharks pulled away from the Yellow-jackets by doubling up their opponents 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
Contributing to the victory against St. Aug was some terrific free throw accuracy as the Sharks connected on 16 of their 17 attempts. Thatcher Rottinghaus connected on all 6 of his attempts at the line as did sophomore JD Pirris. The perfect night at the stripe for JD ran his consecutive made free throws to 14 in a row, second only to the all time mark of 33 straight set last year by Jackson Johnson.
Many of the Shark faithful that traveled to Nease on Friday, may have felt that PVHS would have an easy time of deposing of their neighboring rivals, who entered the game with a less than stellar record.
However, exhaling the energy generated by a near capacity crowd, the Nease Panthers nearly pulled off the upset. The Panthers led by as many as eight points late in the 3rd quarter before Quinn Carey made the first of his buzzer beaters by nailing a 2 pointer to narrow the Nease lead to 6 points entering the final quarter of action.
With the Nease gymnasium rocking with the huge support from both of the student bodies in attendance, Ponte Vedra’s sharp shooting Carey again came to the rescue in the deciding fourth quarter by scoring 9 of his 16 points, including a desperation 3 pointer in heavy traffic that was the game winner—— with only 1 second left on the clock.
Carey did receive plenty of help from his teammates in the final quarter, with much of the support coming from veteran center Donovan Garrard. The 6’4 senior tied the game at 32-32 and then converted a 3 point play moments later to give the Sharks their first lead since early in the 3rd quarter. Garrard would finish the evening in double figures with 10 points and a team high 7 rebounds.
There can be little doubt that the Sharks best effort, although in a losing cause, came the next night in front of a raucous and near volatile crowd at Baker Co. The host Wildcats, featuring a Division I signee in high scoring Charles Ruise, had won eight of their first nine games.
The Sharks had a generous 8 point lead at 35-27 entering the final period and, perhaps with some help from some numerous calls in the fourth quarter that went the way of the Wildcats, Baker Co. came from 8 points behind to outscore the Sharks by 10 points in the fourth and deciding quarter. The Sharks were called for numerous fouls in the second half, many of those fouls, committed in the offensive end of the court.
Although the Wildcats shot poorly from the charity stripe, the changes in possessions gave the Wildcats many more opportunities to fire away in the final period, much to the dismay of the large following of Shark rooters who made the jaunt to Glen St. Marys.
Baker Co went on a 10-0 fourth quarter run to pull ahead of the Sharks 38-35 before Ponte Vedra’s Carey was able nail a long 3 pointer with less than a minute remaining in the heated contest.
Carey’s bucket tied the game at 38-38, and a missed field goal opportunity by Baker Co gave the ball to the Sharks with a chance to play for the last shot. However, the Sharks turned the ball over and Baker Co’s Ruise hit a floater in the lane with :07 left in the game for the game winner.
In a near repeat from his previous night’s heroics against Nease, Carey’s 3 pointer at the buzzer, while heavily defended, just missed, as Baker Co’s boisterous fans, went into delirium.
Carey, now the target for all of Ponte Vedra’s recent foes to stop, had a very productive week with games of 16 points against St. Augustine and Nease, and then capped his weekend with 22 points in the losing effort at Baker Co.
Donovan Garrard was a monster on the boards against Baker Co with 12 rebounds while Pirris sparked with his steady play for the Sharks.
Ponte Vedra will take advantage of the nine day vacation break to hopefully bring their game to peak for the all important second half of the season.
The Sharks will resume action on Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM when they play Atlantic Coast in the first of three games in the annual St. Augustine Classic. With St. Augustine’s gym under construction during the classic, all three games will be played at Bartram Trail High School.
Baker Co. Rallies to Nip Sharks
Baker County improved their record to an impressive 9-1 on the season with a 40-38 victory over the Ponte Vedra Sharks.
Before a large, and sometimes volatile crowd, and perhaps with some help from some calls in the fourth quarter that went the way of the Wildcats, Baker Co. came from 8 points behind to outscore the Sharks by 10 points in the fourth and deciding quarter.
After committing but 4 fouls in the first half, with the Sharks on top of Baker Co 19-17 at the intermission break, The Sharks were called for numerous fouls in the second half, many of those fouls, committed in the offensive end of the court.
Although the Wildcats shot poorly from the charity stripe, the changes in possessions gave the Wildcats many more opportunities to fire away in the final period, much to the dismay of the large following of Shark rooters who made the jaunt to Glen St. Marys.
Baker Co went on a 10-0 fourth quarter run to pull ahead of the Sharks 38-35 before Ponte Vedra’s Quinn Carey was able nail a long 3 pointer with less than a minute remaining in the heated contest.
Carey’s bucket tied the game at 38-38, and a missed field goal opportunity by Baker Co gave the ball to the Sharks with a chance to play for the last shot. However, the Sharks turned the ball over and Division I signee Charles Ruise hit a floater in the lane with :07 left in the game for the game winner.
In a near repeat from his previous night’s heroics against Nease, Carey’s 3 pointer at the buzzer, while heavily defended, just missed, as Baker Co’s jubilant, but raucous fans, went into delirium.
The game turned into a scoring dual between Baker Co’s Ruise and the Sharks Quinn Carey. Carey won the scoring dual with 22 points on far fewer attempts than Ruise, as the First Coasts leading scorer coming into the game at 25 per game, tallied 21.
While Carey carried the Sharks in the scoring department, Quinn received some outstanding support from many of his teammates. Donovan Garrard had a monster game on the boards with a season high 12 rebounds.
In but his 2nd start of the season, JD Pirris may have earned his way onto a permanent starting berth for the Sharks. JD chipped in with 6 points, had 7 rebounds and added 3 assists while committing but 1 of the 18 Sharks turnovers against the very aggressive Baker Co defense.
Although dropping their fourth game, as opposed to eight victories, the Sharks effort fought in a highly tense atmosphere can only strengthen the Sharks as they begin the second half of their season.
The Sharks four losses were separated by only nine points against a very demanding schedule, a schedule that does not get any easier as we head into the New Year.
The Sharks will get a well deserved nine days off before resuming action on Monday, Dec. 29 in the St. Augustine Classic. In the first of three straight games to be played at Bartram Trail’s gymnasium, the first of their opponents will be a very good Atlantic Coast team. The final two opponents have yet to be determined.
Fans should make note that the starting time for the Monday opener with Atlantic Coast will tip off at 1:00 PM.
Carey’s Buzzer Beater Nips Nease
Trailing by as many as eight points with 8 minutes and 2 seconds remaining in the game, the Sharks rallied back to defeat arch rival Nease 42-39 before the usual frenetic crowd that seemingly always make the Nease-Ponte Vedra rivalry so special.
Forced to sit on the bench for much of the first half in foul trouble, Shark’s sharp shooter Quinn Carey came to the rescue in the deciding fourth quarter by scoring 9 of his 16 points, including a desperation 3 pointer in heavy traffic that was the game winner with only 1 second left on the clock.
Carey’s game winner surely would have made long time Nocatee resident, and NBA Hall of Famer Sam Jones proud, as Carey’s 3 pointer banked in off the glass, a specialty of the former Celtic great a half century earlier.
The game, played in front of a near capacity crowd that had the Nease gymnasium rocking at all times, was a game of runs. Trailing by 3 points, the Sharks then went on a 12-0 run in the second quarter to take a 20-15 lead just before the halftime break. 11 of the 14 point Shark points in the quarter came from the free throw line, with sophomore JD Pirris leading the charge with 4 free throws.
Jephne Cesar dropped in a 2 pointer shortly before the buzzer sounded at half to shorten the PVHS lead to 3 at the break, beginning a 10-0 run for the host Panthers before Donovan Garrard stopped the run by making a free throw at 2:19 of the 3rd quarter.
Carey made the first of his second half buzzer beaters at the end of the 3rd quarter to trim the Panther lead to 30-24 entering the hectic final quarter.
Carey then got plenty of help from his teammates in the final quarter, much of the support coming from veteran center Donovan Garrard. The 6’4 senior tied up the game at 32-32 and then converted a 3 point play moments later to give the Sharks their first lead since early in the 3rd quarter.
Nease’s Cesar, who led all scorers on the evening with 21 points, tied up the game at 37-37 with 1:37 remaining. Carey then calmly drained a 17 foot jumper to give the Sharks a 39-37 lead.
Nease’s Julian Sadowski then drove the baseline and canned a 2-pointer to tie up the game at 39-39, setting up Carey’s heroics.
Both teams were very patient on offense and extremely physical on defense, in a game plagued with numerous fouls. When the buzzer mercifully sounded to end the game, the Sharks had 3 players on the floor playing with 4 fouls with Thatcher Rottinghaus having earlier fouled out. Meanwhile, Nease had 3 players one away from disqualification.
The Sharks did take advantage from the foul line by converting on 19 of their 27 attempts, including 6 out of 7 makes by Garrard. Donovan had a fine all-around game for the victors, who improve their season record to 8-3, by contributing 10 points and pulling down a team high 7 rebounds.
The Sharks will have little time to celebrate their win over their arch rivals as they will quickly turnaround and head down US 10 to face a 8-1 Baker County team in a 7:30 PM tip off.
Sharks streak stopped at Six by Palatka
A grueling three game stretch of weekend games against the stiffest of competition got off to a great start beginning with Thursday’s resounding 65-35 district win over Clay. However, after the underdog Sharks shocked once beaten Bishop Kenny 57-46, the Sharks ran out of gas in the second half in Saturdays battle with Palatka.
When asked if prior to last weekend’s contest if he would have been happy with winning two out of those three games coach Marcus Perez said: “Absolutely, but we let the Palatka game get away from us.”
The Sharks were coming off their best effort of the season following their Friday win over Bishop Kenny, and were enjoying a 14 point lead early into the second half Saturday night against Palatka.
Quinn Carey lit up the scoreboard in the first half against their district rivals from Putnam County, scoring 20 of his game high 26 points by halftime, as the Sharks entered the final two quarters with a seemingly safe 30-20 lead.
However, Panther coach Don Lockhart made a decisive defensive adjustment during the half-time break that turned the tide in Palatka’s favor.
5’10 junior Devin Hightower was assigned to guard Carey and he turned in a masterful job against the Shark sharpshooter, limiting Quinn to but 6 second half points, with only 4 of those scored against Hightower.
Hightower than added further insult to the Sharks by converting a floater in the lane with 1:29 remaining in the contest, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game at 40-39, a lead they would never relinquish.
It is likely that fatigue played a factor in the Shark’s demise after playing a debilitating game the previous evening against Bishop Kenny.
The Sharks out-court shooting completely disappeared in the second half when they were limited to a paltry 11 points over the final 16 minutes of action. The basket appeared to have a lid on it during the final 8 minutes of action as Ponte Vedra failed to connect on a single field goal in the final quarter, and to add further insult, also missed some vital free throws that could have cemented the win.
The district loss to Palatka, that gives the Sharks an overall record of an impressive 6 wins against 3 defeats, and a district record of 2-1, took away some of the euphoria from Friday’s signature victory over Bishop Kenny.
The Sharks broke open a tightly contested contest with a huge fourth quarter effort against the talented Crusader squad that featured a pair of Division 1 prospects. PVHS exploded for 26 final period points to pull away from their hosts to earn a 57-46 victory.
The star on the evening was 6’2 junior Thatcher Rottinghaus, who turned in his finest game while wearing a Shark’s uniform.
Rottinghaus, who did not play in the Sharks first three games of the season, with Ponte Vedra dropping two of those contests by a combined total of four points, lit up the stat sheet in the impressive victory over BK.
Thatcher missed but one shot from the field on the evening in scoring a game high 22 points, and had a game high 7 rebounds, and 4 assists while committing but one turnover. Fifteen of his points came in the decisive second half as the Sharks broke open a very tight game with 26 points in the final quarter.
The Sharks began their first of the demanding three games with a surprisingly easy district win over Clay Co. Coach Perez was able to empty his abnormally deep bench of 17 players in the contest, with 10 players denting the scoring column.
Carey once again led all Shark scorers with 26 points with Rottinghaus the other Shark in double figures with 12.
Rottinghaus also contributed 14 points in the loss to Palatka in a game that pointed out a major concern for coach Perez and the Sharks.
Carey and Rottinghaus scored 40 of the Sharks 41 points, with only a single free throw by Donovan Garrard the only point scored by a remaining Shark.
The first 9 games of the season has Carey scoring an average of 22 points per game with Rottinghaus also in double figures with 14 ppg. but there is a dramatic drop-off after the two scoring leaders with nary another Shark scoring more than five points per outing.
The Sharks will now hit the road before the Holiday break beginning with a short jaunt down US1 to play St. Augustine in a make-up game on Tuesday, a game that was postponed earlier due to severe weather warnings.
Sharks fans should note the very unusual start time. The varsity game is scheduled to tip off at 3:30 in the afternoon, following the Junior Varsity game game set to begin at 2:00 PM.
Friday the locals will play at arch-rival Nease in a game that always attracts large and enthusiastic crowds. Saturday will find the Sharks on the road to face another top rated opponent.
Once beaten Baker County, with division 1 signee Charles Ruise scoring more than 24 points per outing, will be another severe test for the Sharks. It was Baker Co who ended the Sharks outstanding season from a year ago with a thrilling overtime win before a capacity crowd at the Shark Tank.
Following a 9 day lay off for the Holidays the Sharks will then return to action on Dec 29 when they play Atlantic Coast in the first of 3 straight games in the Holiday Classic at Bartram Trail.
SHARKS SHOCK BISHOP KENNY
If there were any questions concerning the strength of this year’s Ponte Vedra basketball team, they were certainly put to rest following last nights shocking road win against once beaten Bishop Kenny.
Featuring two of the leading scorers in the First Coast area in Christian Carlyle and Chris Joyce, the Sharks once again imposed their suffocating defense, as well as a career night from 6’2 Junior Thatcher Rottinghaus in defeating the host Crusaders 57-46.
With North Florida head coach Matt Driscoll in attendance to observe the Bishop Kenny high scoring dual, as well as the Sharks sharp shooting Quinn Carey, it was Rottinghaus who stole the show on this evening.
Rottinghaus, who did not play in the Sharks first three games of the season, with the Sharks dropping two of those contests by a combined total of four points, lit up the stat sheet in the signature victory over BK.
Thatcher missed but one shot from the field on the evening in scoring a game high 22 points, and had a game high 7 rebounds, and 4 assists while committing but one turnover. Fifteen of his points came in the decisive second half as the Sharks broke open a very tight game with 26 points in the final quarter.
In a sharp contrast to many of their games in this current season, the Sharks had a nice start to the game in the opening period, but it was Bishop Kenny who dominated the second quarter of action, normally the best period for the Sharks.
Ponte Vedra received a field goal from five of their players in the first quarter to take an early 13-7 lead. However, the Crusaders then showed the large crowd in attendance why they had won 7 of their first 8 games, when they went on a 15-3 run in the second period before Quinn Carey stopped the bleeding with a 2 pointer.
Bishop Kenny had a slight two point lead of 22-20 at the halftime break, and an even slimmer 1 point margin of 32-31 heading into the final stanza.
With 4:40 left in the game Rottinghaus gave the Sharks their first lead of the second half with a three pointer, giving the Sharks a 39-38 lead, and the Sharks would never again look back.
The Sharks would then bust out with an 11-0 run to break the game wide open, forcing the desperate Crusaders to foul. The Sharks, who entered the game with a poor free throw percentage of 61%, boosted that percentage by canning 14 of their 16 attempts in the final quarter, five each by Carey and Rottinghaus.
Fully aware that Kenny would be putting the Sharks to the line, Shark head coach Marcus Perez pushed all the right buttons in this heated contest. After sitting on the bench for all but the final few minutes of the contest, Perez inserted sophomore JD Pirris into the heat of the battle and the young Pirris responded like a true veteran, netting all four of his free throws.
In a true statistical oddity, Pirris has accumulated 22 points on the season, all coming on free throws.
Rottinghaus and Carey (14 points) combined for 36 of the 57 points to lead the Sharks in scoring but Perez received some great minutes from his deep supporting cast. 6’4 Senior forwards Donovan Garrard and Ross McCarthy did an outstanding job in defending the interior, while Pat Boylan and Corey Russi were likewise relentless on defense.
The Sharks will have little time to celebrate as they return home this evening to face their biggest district rival Palatka. Both teams are 2-0 on the season in district play with the winner of tonights contest moving into the drivers seat for earning the top seed when the tournament rolls around in February.
SHARKS DEFEAT FLETCHER FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN
Quinn Carey again led all Shark scorers in their Monday victory over Fletcher with a game high 26 points, as the Sharks regained their shooting eye in a 65-54 win.
6’2 junior Thatcher Rottinghaus has given coach Marcus Perez’s Sharks a huge boost since returning to the lineup the past three games. Rottinghaus added 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter and also shared game high rebounding honors with Carey with 9 rebounds.
However, it may have been his work on defense in the second half that most impressed the Shark followers. After Fletcher’s Jacob Orender lit up the scoreboard for 16 first half points, coach Perez went to a man defense and Rottinghaus held Orender scoreless in a pivotal 3rd quarter that saw Ponte Vedra break the game open with a 15-6 run.
Yet another bright spot for the Sharks was the play of senior guard Ryan Irwin. Getting his first start of the season, Irwin responded with a career high 9 points while dishing out a team high 4 assists.
The Sharks now begin preparation for what should be their most demanding stretch of games on the season, beginning with a Thursday home district clash against Clay Co. Although the Blue Devils had a sub par season a year ago, the Blue Devils were still able to present problems for the Sharks with their 6'6 senior center Isiah Bruce.
The Sharks will then hit the road for a Friday night visit to Bishop Kenny, a team that has had their way with the Sharks for the past three seasons.
The Sharks will have little, if any rest, as they return to the Shark Tank to take on alway rugged Palatka Saturday in their most important game early into the 2014-15 season. Palatka will certainly want to make amends for losing to the Sharks in all three of their encounters a year ago, including the final two games played in front of near capacity crowds in Ponte Vedra.
All three varsity games are schedule to tip off at approximately 7:30 PM, following the Junior Varsity contests that begin at 6:00.
SHARKS ENTER BUSY WEEK WITH MOMENTUM
The Sharks head into their busiest week of the 2014-15 season with momentum on their side following a bazaar victory on Dec 4 over rival Creekside.
In the lowest scoring game in Ponte Vedra’s seven year history, the Sharks employed a suffocating defense to shut down the Knights en route to a 36-18 victory.
After dropping their first two games by a combined total of but 4 points, Ponte Vedra has now won their last three contests to move their record to 3-2.
However, the Sharks will be severely tested by their opponents, as well as their endurance, when they play four games, with three of those games in succession, beginning Thursday night.
Ponte Vedra will host three of these battles, beginning with a Monday night game (Dec 8) at the Shark Tank against neighboring Fletcher.
After a couple of days off, coach Marcus Perez and his staff will have their hands full preparing for their next three opponents, including a pair of district tilts at home.
Clay County will invade Ponte Vedra on Thursday in the 2nd district game of the season with always tough Palatka traveling to PVHS for a Saturday contest.
Sandwiched in between the two district clashes will be a road trip to once beaten Bishop Kenny on Friday night.
All four games are schedule to tip off at approximately 7:30 PM, or 15 minutes following the completion of the Junior Varsity games that get under way at 6:00 PM.
In a game that resembled a contest from the 1930s, instead of a normal high scoring contest of the modern era, the Sharks held Creekside scoreless through the entire first quarter of action in their bout on Thursday.
However, the Sharks didn’t light up the scoreboard either as they were to held to but 3 points during this same 8 minute span.
The second quarter would prove to be the highest scoring of the 4 periods with Ponte Vedra outscoring the Knights 14-9.
Ironically, the Sharks nearly shutout a woeful shooting Knights team in the 3rd quarter as well, but only a field goal by James Tolar with less than a minute remaining saved Creekside the embarrassment of having their second shutout quarter.
With the Sharks enjoying a commanding lead coach Perez was able to empty his deep bench in the games final minutes as the Sharks prevailed 36-18.
Ponte Vedra held the Knights to a paltry 16 per cent shooting from the field, including an abysmal 2 for 19 from behind the three point arc.
It is clear that Creekside is a far better team then the squad that appeared in Ponte Vedra last week. The Knights bounced back to defeat St. Augustine by nearly 20 points the following night and have a fine overall season record of 4-2.
Ten Sharks dented the scoring column in the low scoring affair with Creekside with Quinn Carey the lone player in double figures with a game high 16 points. Carey shared rebounding honors with Ross McCarthy with 6 each as the Sharks out-rebounded a much smaller Creekside team 27-19.
However, the Sharks have to be concerned with their turnovers as they turned the ball over 22 times, a figure that coach Perez’s crew hope to improve on during this week’s demanding stretch of games.
Sharks Notch first Win by Defeating Mandarin
After dropping their first two games of the season by the slimmest of margins, Ponte Vedra’s boys basketball team bounced back with a convincing win Tuesday night with a 50-38 victory over previously undefeated Mandarin.
After a last second lay-up failed to drop in their opening one-point loss to always tough Bartram Trail, and then watching a 4-point lead with less than a minute to play against a very athletic First Coast five dissipate, the Sharks are now headed in the right direction.
In their first two encounters coach Marcus Perez’ Sharks dug themselves early into huge holes, but such was not the case Tuesday night in front of another large and enthusiastic crowd at the Shark Tank.
After trailing in game one 18-3, and then again Monday night by as many as 19 points before putting on furious rallies, the Sharks used the sizzling out-court shooting of senior Quinn Carey to jump out to a 16-9 opening period lead over First Coast.
The Buccaneers put on a rally of their own in the second period, trailing by only a single point 21-20 before Logan Morris hit the biggest shot of the game.
In a moment that brought back memories of an end of a half dunk in last season’s district championship win over Palatka by James Crowther, Logan canned a long three pointer at the buzzer to give the Sharks a 4-point lead, and more importantly, a huge lift heading into the second half.
Carey. who had to sit out much of the second quarter in foul trouble, followed up his blistering 14 point outburst in the opening period by connecting on a trio of 3-point bombs and a pair of free throws to go along with Morris’ 8 points to send the Sharks into the final period with a commanding 43-27 lead.
The Sharks then used a well-drilled ball control offense in the fourth quarter to milk the clock and hold off Mandarin, who were coming off a smashing 29 point win on Monday night.
Carey, who topped all scorers with 27, combined with Morris to score 28 of the Sharks 50 points. Although he contributed 2 points on the evening, Ross McCarthy was a force on the backboards with 11 rebounds for the 1-2 Sharks, while Matt Johnson played a fine floor game with 8 assists and 6 rebounds while committing but a single turnover as the point guard.
The victory over Mandarin helped ease the pain from seeing a last minute lead disappear in their 62-58 loss the previous night to First Coast.
Carey once again led the Sharks in scoring with 21 points, with McCarthy adding 10, Morris 9 and Johnson 7 points and another 8 assist night in a losing cause.
The Sharks will again resume action next Tuesday evening, Dec. 2, when they travel to Menendez to take on the Falcons in their first district game of the season.
The Sharks then return to the Shark tank on Thursday when they will face rival Creekside High, with the tip off schedule at 7:30 PM, following the 6:00 PM start for the two Junior Varsity teams.
Sharks at home Monday and Tuesday as the 2014-15 Season is Underway
The 2014-15 edition of this years Ponte Vedra Varsity Basketball team kicks off the home portion of this season’s schedule with a pair of attractive match-ups against top notch calibre teams beginning Monday night.
The Sharks will host for the first time ever First Coast High School on Monday before resuming their rivalry with nearby Mandarin High School on Tuesday.
The Sharks lost a heart breaking 62-61 away game to always tough Bartram Trail High School last Thursday, but even in a losing effort showed signs that this years team will once again be very competitive.
Bartram Trail shot the lights out following the opening tip-off, making their first 8 shots, including a pair of three pointers to bolt out to a 18-3 lead before a Quinn Carey triple stopped the bleeding.
Trailing by 12 at halftime, the Sharks came roaring out of the gates in the second half to actually take a brief 41-39 lead following a Logan Morris two-pointer. However, the host Bears kept their poise and had as much as an 8 point lead early into the fourth quarter.
A 7-0 Shark run whittled the lead to one and the Sharks were in position, after the Bears missed a pair of free throws, to give Ponte Vedra a chance to win the game at the end. However, Lady Luck was not with the visiting Sharks as a potential game winning lay-up at the buzzer rolled off the rim as Bartram Trail won their fifth straight victory over their St. Johns County rivals.
Quinn Carey had a monster game in a losing cause for the Sharks, tallying a game high 28 points, including 6 three pointers, to lead all scorers. Carey nearly had a double-double with nine boards while also playing some inspired defense for the 0-1 Sharks.
6-4 Ross McCarthy had his career high in scoring for PVHS with 13 points while Donovan Garrard continued his strong board work as a three-year starter with a game high 11 rebounds.
The Sharks were jolted last week with a serious knee injury incurred by 6’2 senior Matt McGuier. A member of the varsity since his Freshman season, Shark coaches Bud Beech and Marcus Perez were certain that McGuier was going to have a banner season this year based on summer and pre-season workouts.
The sharp shooting McGuier gave the Sharks another out court shooting specialist in addition to Carey. Now it will be up to other Sharks to be the next man up as the season progresses.
Although the Sharks lost last year’s St. Johns County Player of the Year in Jackson Johnson, it will be another Johnson who has stepped into the role as this year’s point guard.
Jackson’s brother Matt, a 5’11 junior, has stepped into this role, and made a solid debut against Bartram Trail with 6 assists and 6 rebounds in the season opener.
Rounding out the early rotation for this year’s Shark cagers include guards Corey Russi and Logan Morris. Russi saw considerable action as a reserve on last year’s district champs, and had a nice debut Thursday with 6 points, as well as playing his usual solid defense.
A vastly improved Logan Morris got a start with the injury to McGuier and could prove to be a valuable performer for this year’s edition of PVHS basketball.
A pair of sophomores, who played a leading role on last year’s outstanding JV squad, Tyler Perez and JD Pirris also saw action in the heated contest and will challenge for more playing time as the year progresses.
Fans who cannot attend the home games, especially alums and relatives from far away places, can view many of the Ponte Vedra homes games on their computers at: www.planeths.com.
Sharks split preseason classic
November 18, 2014
Sharks Split Pre-Season Openers
Following a split in their pre-season games at the Todd Mitchell Pre-Season Classic, the Sharks can now set their sights on the regular season when they travel to Bartram Trail on Thursday night to face the Bears.
Pointe Vedra was scheduled to tip off the 2014-15 season Monday evening against St. Augustine but the game was cancelled due to tornado warnings in the area. As of this writing a make-up date and time has not been announced.
The Sharks got off on the right foot in their preseason opener by breezing to a convincing 70-34 win over St. Joseph Academy before falling to one of the nation’s top rated prep powers in their second contest.
However, the Sharks certainly can take solace with their effort last Thursday against Arlington Country Day. Rated in the top 15 in all of the high school basketball prep polls, the Sharks made ACD work hard before securing the victory.
The Sharks trailed by a slim two points at the end of the opening period and by seven at the halftime break, thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer by senior forward Quinn Carey. ACD extended their lead to 11 at 43-32 entering the final quarter.
A Matt Johnson 3-pointer two minutes into the final period pulled the Sharks within 10 points of the towering visitors, but that was as close as the Sharks would get as coach Rex Morgan’s squad scorched the nets for 31 fourth quarter points to make the final score read ACD 74, Ponte Vedra 52.
Carey was the lone Shark player to reach double figures with a game high 27 points on 9 of 29 shooting from the floor. Carey led the losers in rebounding with 8 boards while Matt Johnson topped PV in assists with 7. Logan Morris had a strong game for the Sharks with 8 points, to go along with 6 assists.
The Sharks had little trouble with St. Joseph in their opener on Tuesday evening. The Sharks got off to a flying start by exploding for a 24-7 opening quarter lead over the outmanned Academy five and were never threatened.
The fourth quarter was a quick one with the 35 point mercy rule in effect as the Shark’s completed the evening with a 70-34 victory. Coaches Bud Beech and Marcus Perez were able to utilize their entire squad throughout the contest with all but one of the players denting the scoring column.
Jonathan Fennell and Carey paced the well balanced scoring attack with 12 points each with Thatcher Rottinghaus also in double figures with 10.
Following Thursday’s Road game at Bartram Trail, the Sharks will have back-to-back home games on Monday (Nov 24) and Tuesday (Nov 25) against a pair of Division 8 schools. Ponte Vedra will play their first ever game against First Coast on Monday before returning to the Shark tank the next evening to welcome Mandarin.
Each of the varsity games will be preceded by Junior Varsity contests that will begin at 6:00 PM.
SHARKS TIP OFF PRE-SEASON ACTION
With a number of veterans returning from the school’s first 20 victory season in school history, there is much optimism for this coming year’s Shark’s varsity basketball squad.
Posting a record of 21 wins, including a perfect 10-0 sweep in the district, as well as a district tournament championship, the 2013-14 Sharks came one overtime loss to powerful Baker County from advancing deeper into last year’s playoff run.
However, this year’s Ponte Vedra squad has one major void to fill in their lineup with the graduation of last year’s St. Johns County Player of the Year, Jackson Johnson.
Although Johnson was a leading scorer for the Sharks, it may well be the loss of his ball-handling skills that will be the biggest challenge for coaches Bud Beech and Marcus Perez.
On the plus side, the Sharks return their entire front line from last year’s squad, giving Shark coaches high hopes for the coming campaign.
Returning to the Shark’s front line include a pair of seniors who have been regulars since their sophomore season, 6’4 sharp shooter Quinn Carey and 6’5 center Donovan Garrard. Energetic 6’4 senior forward Ross McCarthy also returns for the Sharks and could be a vastly improved performer during the coming season.
A member of the Shark’s varsity team since his freshman season, 6’2 Matt McGuier could nail down a spot in the starting lineup as a guard or a forward.
Coaches Beech and Perez will look at a number of options to see who can fill the role of the departed Johnson from last year’s championship five. Among those vying for prominent roles in the backcourt include holdover’s from last years squad, Corey Russi and Pat Boylan.
However, Russi and Boylan, along with sophomore guard JD Pirris will have a late start as they have been busy playing football for Matt Tobin’s gridders. With the football season coming to an early end, this trio will have about a week to round into basketball form.
The Sharks are hopeful of getting a boost from a foursome that guided last year’s Junior Varsity team to an impressive 15-4 mark. Joining Pirris on the varsity roster are 5’11 Matt Johnson, 6’0 Clay Welch and 6’1 Tyler Perez, with Johnson being the only junior.
Once again coaches Beech and Perez will have a large roster, making for some good competition to command more playing time. Returning reservists from last year’s squad hoping to bid for more playing time include junior guard Thatcher Rottinghaus, and seniors Logan Morris, Robert Morris, Jonathan Fennell, and 6’6 Vince DePorre.
The coaches are optimistic that 6’5 Mark Harris will be able to spell the veterans in the frontcourt when the muscular 265 pound Harris wraps up his football season.
Before the Sharks begin the regular season with a road trip on Monday, November 17th to St. Augustine, the Shark fans will get an early preview when they play a pair of pre-season games this coming week at home in the Todd Mitchell Memorial pre-season classic.
This coming Tuesday the Sharks host neighboring St. Augustine St. Joseph in a 7:00 PM tip-off before facing one of the top teams in the nation on Thursday, Nov. 13.
Arlington Country Day, rated as the No. 9 team in the USA, will have a dozen players ranging in height from 6’6 to 6’11, with players from many different nations represented. This will be a rare opportunity for Shark fans to see up close many players who will be playing at the next level in the coming years.
The Sharks will make their first home appearance on November 24 when they play host to first time opponent First Coast.
2014 Ponte Vedra Sharks - District Champs 21-6
2013-14 Sharks JV Basketball Team