Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clay Girls Basketball Teams Ready for District

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clay Girls Basketball Teams Ready for District

Article excerpt

With some girls district basketball tournaments starting

this week, here is a preview of Clay Coun ty's teams:

Keystone Heights and Orange Park are hoping to advance far

into the playoffs and Clay High is coming off its best season in

years. St. Johns Country Day and Middleburg, however, have

struggled with injuries.

Keystone Heights, ranked fourth in Class 4A with a record of

23-6, is aiming for a repeat of last year's state championship.

The Lady Indians are led by senior forward Monique Cardenas,

who is among the leaders in the area in several statistical

categories. She leads in scoring with 24 points per game, is

third in rebounds at 10 per game, second in three-point

percentage at 46 and is in the top 10 in steals with three per

game.

Indians coach Kathy Boatwright said the 6-foot Cardenas, a

University of Florida signee, is learning how to be a dominating

inside player.

Another leader in area stats is junior guard Tawanna Thomas,

who averages nearly seven assists per game and is the

second-leading scorer on the team with 15 points per game.

Boatwright also praised the play of senior center Jill Gnann,

the team's second-leading rebounder with seven per game, and

senior guard Kristen Wilkes, whom she called the team's top

defensive player. Boatwright also said sophomore Melissa Brown's

play has been a welcome surprise.

Boatwright said although the starting five can play against

anyone, she is concerned that the bench is not as deep as last

year. She also said the difficult schedule that the Indians have

played, including a tournament in Texas, has prepared the team

for the districts.

In district play, No. 1 seed Keystone plays the winner of the

game between No. 2 seed Pierson Taylor and No. 3 seed Crescent

City at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Pierson Taylor.

Orange Park is continuing to make strides under coach Tammy

Ruffian. The Raiders (23-3) have received top 10 votes in the 6A

state poll.

Ruffian said the team has been playing consistently on defense,

holding most opponents to less than 40 points while scoring more

than 57 points per game.

Scoring has been balanced with sophomore forward Regina Harris

leading the team with 12 points per game while senior guard Aina

Hillman is right behind with 11. Four other players average

around nine per game.

Harris and senior forward Lisa Schlichtman are among the area

leaders, each with seven rebounds per game.

Ruffian said junior point guard Mylyn Shelvey, third in the

area with five assists per game, is the team's best outside

threat from three-point range. She also said sophomore center

Heather Schlichtman and junior forward Jessica Daley have played

consistently all year. …

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