Seahawks varsity basketball coach Ray Bailey expects that his team may lose a few of their early games, but that won’t be the season’s whole story.
That’s because two of his leading players, juniors Ta’Shawn Jones and Owen Poloronis, are out of the lineup.
“Unfortunately, yes, that’s the way it’s going to be,” he said, following Franklin County’s home opener Nov. 22, in which they fell 73-65 to the Rutherford Rams. “It’s a good experience for a couple, of players.”
Poloronis, a 6-foot 1-inch shooting guard with lots of varsity experience, sustained a fractured ankle at a workout in the fall. “He should be back in a couple weeks,” said Bailey.
Jones, a 6-foot 3-inch strong forward, sprained an ankle at a recent practice but he too should soon be returning to the lineup.
And so the burden is on 6-foot 1-inch senior point guard Jerymiah Stephens, who kicked in 20 points against the Rams, even after being lifted in the third quarter due to foul trouble.
“He’s the man until we get Owen back,” said Bailey.
Stephens got help from 6-foot 3-inch sophomore forward Ethan Kembro, who drained 17 points, as he got hot with a string of three-pointers that helped put the Seahawks ahead 10-6 after the first quarter, and tied at 31 at halftime.
But after Stephens had to be lifted, the Rams went on a 24-10 spree in the third, and while the Seahawks clawed back with a 22-17 fourth quarter, they sustained the eight-point loss.
“I thought we fought hard, it was a great effort,” said Bailey. “We had 28 turnovers and we lost by eight. It’s going to take some time.”
Contributing to the scoreboard was 6-foot 5-inch senior forward Carter Kembro, who scored 15. Jaidyn Rhodes, a 6-foot 3-inch guard, added five, and 6-foot 2-inch senior forward Darius Johnson tallied four.
Jamal Robinson, a 5-foot 9-inch senior, had a starting role, and Bailey thinks he’ll gradually sharpen after being absent from the court for a couple years. Jimmy Adair, a 5-foot 10-inch senior, as well as sophomore Braden Shiver and freshmen Josiah Friddle and Ajaylin McNair round out the roster.
The Seahawks got started on their season at the preseason Tipoff Classic, where they were overwhelmed by Bay High but bounced back to defeat Graceville 44-24.
Following last week’s game, the Seahawks spent that Tuesday before Thanksgiving passing out turkeys, hams and Boston butts that they had sold as a fundraiser. After practicing at the Matchbox in Apalachicola on Wednesday, they took Thanksgiving off and they practiced Friday at the Nest.
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the team traveled east to take on the Wakulla War Eagles, and then were home Wednesday against Mosley. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, they travel to Bristol to take on Liberty County in a district match-up/
“We’ll be a lot better,” said Bailey.
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