The Falcons pressed, trapped and harassed their way to a 60-34 District 5-6A win over Clay on Tuesday night at home. Menendez (12-3) used its full-court defense to create easy baskets. “Our team, we were everywhere, and they couldn’t handle the pressure,” said Menendez senior Aryelle Wagner, who led all players with 20 points. “We rotated well. We knew our jobs and where to go. We worked at it and had our jobs down pat.”
Wagner created a number of easy field goals for herself and her teammates with her anticipation in the passing lanes. Junior forward Darralela Tobler (13 points) finished off a number of the turnovers Wagner created.
Anteria Evans’ 3-pointer from the wing 93 seconds into the game ignited an 11-0 run for the Falcons. Menendez never trailed the rest of the way. Darrnisha Varnes scored 12 points and Sarah Phillips chipped in with eight for the Falcons. Sha-nia Rendell scored 12 points and Alexis Stilianou scored 15 for the Blue Devils.
“To me, it was go big or go home,” Tobler said. “We were trying to keep up the district record we have.”
Menendez improved to 6-1 in the district heading into Thursday’s pivotal game against Ponte Vedra (13-3, 5-0). The Sharks beat the Falcons 60-48 on Dec. 12. Tobler said Tuesday’s win showed that her team can remain focused on the task at hand and not look too far into the future.
Tobler and Wagner said Ponte Vedra does not dribble as much as Clay does, meaning the Falcons will have to be disciplined defensively and anticipate — rather than guess — where the Sharks’ passes are headed.
“(If we) keep the energy, positivity and teamwork; if we have each other’s backs, we’ll be straight,” Wagner said.
PONTE VEDRA 65
Channing Chappell led three Ponte Vedra players in double figures in double figures as the host Sharks improved to 13-3, 5-0 in District 5-6A. Tess Tibbits scored 15 points, and Riley Mayer added 13. Andrea Murphy and Rickeria Summers scored 11 points apiece for Palatka (4-11, 0-4). Ponte Vedra hosts Menendez at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, while Palatka will host Matanzas on Thursday night.
ST. JOSEPH 52
TRINITY CHRISTIAN 47
Kayla Mansell had a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 steals as St. Joseph held off Trinity Christian at home Monday. The Conquerors outscored the Flashes 20-9 in the fourth quarter but their comeback fell short. Jessamy Gaetanos added 13 points and Colleen Dolan scored seven for St. Joseph (8-5, 3-1 in District 2-4A). The Flashes will play in the North Florida Conference tournament at Gainesville St. Francis this weekend.
ST. AUGUSTINE 64
Kyrie McMillian scored 18 points and Dequan Stanley added 15 to lead St. Augustine to a home win over Sandalwood (5-9). The Yellow Jackets (5-9) travel to Englewood on Friday.
Creekside senior guard J’Michael Plummer scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Knights (15-2, 4-0) to a District 4-8A win at Gainesville Buchholz. Noah Lippy added 14 points, while Michael Phillips and Bobby Kasprzak scored 12 points apiece.
Nease turned the ball over with 12 seconds left and a chance to win in a District 3-7A game Monday night at the Nease gym. The Panthers got the ball back after the Commanders missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Nease’s desperation shot at the buzzer was blocked. Evan Pounder led Nease (6-10, 3-3) with 10 points. Davis Ball added eight. The Panthers visit Englewood at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
PONTE VEDRA 68
Reese Russi scored 16 points to lead Ponte Vedra to a District 5-6A win at Matanzas. Will Mons went 3 for 3 from behind the 3-point line to score 12 points and Jack Johnson added eight points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots for the Sharks (7-8, 3-2). Ponte Vedra will visit Bolles at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Panthers poured it on in the second half to beat Menendez on a chilly night in south St. Augustine. Nease forward Bella Kober scored the opener midway through the first half and added a second within the first 10 minutes of the second half. Her teammates did the rest as Sydney McClure scored a brace, while Logan Nicholson and Mia Lee also found the back of the net. Allie McMandon and Lauren Kelly scored for the Falcons (9-6). Nease (14-2-1) is unbeaten in its last 14 matches.
BARTRAM TRAIL 2
The Bears, playing their second match in as many days, split the spoils with Bolles (14-4-2). Jade Sparks and Taylor Radecki scored for Bartram Trail (10-3-4).