Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

2016 Year In Review: When Prayers Go Up…Shots Go Down as Ribault defeats Potter’s House!

Ribault High School- He may not come when you want him, but He was right on time for the Lady Trojans as Ribault defeated Potter’s House 69-58. Ribault’s prayers were answered in front of a packed house on Jacksonville’s Northwest side, as they avenged the loss from last year at Potter’s House. The game began with the expected hype and fanfare that two of the best teams in the city should receive.  The anticipation fueled the intensity of the game from the opening tip.

 

Potters’s House came out of the gate fast and focused. They were ready for the bright lights when they came up and they showed it. The Lions fed the ball inside to their center Naomi Ekwedike who converted lay-ups early and often. IMG_7843 (800x533)The 6’7 Senior could not be stopped, making lay up after lay up in transition and in half court sets. Ekwedike had 15 points at half time. Her Lions came out aggressive and intent on taking several Trojans out of the game. Players like Kasha Austin, Chioma Npkuechina and Charsie Johnson were charged with harassing Ribault’s Kayla Rogers, Laquanza Glover and DayNeshia Banks. And early on this strategy seemed to work as the Lions went up 6-4 in the beginning of the first and trailed 17-16 going into the second period. Unfortunately for the Lions they had no answer for Ribault’s Rennia Davis. The 6’4 Davis took advantage of her athletic ability by advancing the ball up court playing the point. She would capitalize on her obvious mismatches on the floor, as she was to tall for the front court to stick, and to quick for Lions back court to guard. She drove to the basket when the opening was there, knocked down the outside shot, and grabbed rebounds. She led the Trojans with 11 points the half as Ribault led 31-28.

In the second half both teams continued to play an extremely close contest but foul trouble plagued the Lions.
Potter’s House Valerie Nesbitt who pushed the ball up court keeping the pace intense and fevered in the first half, fouled out in the second half.IMG_7988 (533x800) Jasmine Gaines would now take over and attempt to will her team back to a victory. But there was no response for Ribault’s X factor Praise Russell. Russell has the appearance of a saint but in Thursday’s game had the demeanor of an assassin on the court. She called for the ball when Potter’s House rotated to stop Banks and she hit big shot after shot. When the pressure was on she hit the shot, and her teammates Nola Carter and Kayla Rogers didn’t flinch hustling to several balls and keeping them alive. In the end it was a total team effort orchestrated by Coach Shelia Pennick and her staff that got the best of Potter’s House 69-58. Potter’s House Head Coach Tony Bannister is one of the most competitive coaches around. He truly wanted this game bad, and expects the most from his team. He let his team know this with a long post game speech in the locker room. A very disappointed Lions club visibly was upset at the loss, but had nothing to hold their heads down for. They played a game worthy to be called the Girls Basketball City Championship and the leading scorer in the game was their very own Naomi Ekwedike with 25 points. Yet Ribault’s team effort is what lifted them to victory. Russell ended the game with 13 points, a season high for her. ” We played team ball tonight, last year was a tough loss, so we had to get pay back”.- Russell.

 

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