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HomeSportsBasketballJaguars Down Hornets in Regional Quarterfinal

Jaguars Down Hornets in Regional Quarterfinal

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The Academy of the Holy Names Jaguars (21-8) overwhelmed the Weeki Wachee Hornets (19-9) to the tune of 71-38 in the 4A 2024 Girls Basketball State Tournament regional quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Jaguars were ready for their road matchup against the Hornets following a 21-point loss to the Lakewood Spartans in the 4A District 10 championship. The Green and Black remained just within striking distance at halftime, but the visitors continued to layer it on after the break.

 

Weeki Wachee Head Coach Billy Hughes noted the difficulty of playing the Jaguars but was excited for the opportunity to play them considering the Academy’s reputation. “They have so much great success in basketball year in and year out. Always making deep runs in the postseason […] Academy is very talented and deep on their bench. They are so polished and [an] experienced team. They are a special team.” Despite running out of gas in the second half, Coach Hughes was proud of his team for continuing to fight to the buzzer.

 

The Jaguars would lead wire-to-wire thanks to four players scoring in the double digits. Senior Lucy Morey led the charge with 22 points and 6 assists and was named Maxpreps Player of the Game. Senior Morgan Hunt logged a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds), Senior Grace Gavin notched 17 points, and Junior Hailey Scott (14 points) completed the quartet. After their lead was cut to three late in the first frame, the visitors outscored the Hornets 9-2 early into the second. Later in the period, Weeki Wachee would pull to within four points for the last time in the contest thanks to eight straight points from freshmen Marlee Schumacher (six) and Joelys Rodriguez (two). Star Senior Paige Atwater would also add six points on a pair of treys throughout the night.

 

Weeki Wachee, 1, Paige Atwater launches a three-point shot in the 4A Region quarterfinal game versus Academy of The Holy Names held at Weeki Wachee High School. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]
Weeki Wachee, 1, Paige Atwater launches a three-point shot in the 4A Region quarterfinal game versus Academy of The Holy Names held at Weeki Wachee High School. [Photo by Joe DiCristofalo]

“Marlee had a great game tonight and stepped up huge for us,” Coach Hughes said. “With one of our leaders Gabby Scott out for the game with a season ending injury she got in the district championship game and Academy [boxing out] Paige all night, we needed someone to step up. With Marlee and Joey both being true freshman, they stepped up huge for us this season and proud of them.”

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Academy of the Holy Names would go on yet another 9-2 run to end the half and put the Hornets in a precarious position. Following the intermission, the visitors put up five more points to open the third as they outscored the Green and Black 42-20 in the final two frames. They took advantage of turnovers and missed opportunities by Weeki Wachee and poured it on over the last 16 minutes of game time to emerge victorious in the quarterfinal. Despite the rough finish, the Hornets’ coach was proud of his squad for accomplishing what they set out to do before the season started.

 

“This is a special team we have at Weeki Wachee,” said Coach Hughes. “Our ultimate goal was to win a district championship this season and they did it […] They have been playing ball since last spring and continued to do so this summer and fall in several team camps and leagues. They put the time in and did everything I asked. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for them and proud I am! They can say we are champions!”

 

With the season now over for Weeki Wachee, a handful of their athletes will begin shifting their focus to other sports. According to Coach Hughes, some play up to three sports, which the head coach encourages. Though the team will not be back in the gym until May to start preparations, that has not stopped players from voicing their interest in the next season. “They know what it takes to be winners and they are willing to put the work in. That is what separates us,” said the coach. With some promising young players to build around, the Hornets’ staff and players have lofty goals heading into the next season.

 

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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