Roney ends storied career one goal short

Randy Lefko
Posted 3/16/17

MIDDLEBURG – From day one of her freshman year, Middleburg High senior point guard Hannah Roney has had lots of high expectations resting on her shoulders.

In her senior year as the chief ball …

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Roney ends storied career one goal short


MIDDLEBURG – From day one of her freshman year, Middleburg High senior point guard Hannah Roney has had lots of high expectations resting on her shoulders.

In her senior year as the chief ball handler for the Lady Broncos and head coach Micheal Hayward, Roney did just about as much as could be expected with those high expectations.

Having said that, or wrote it, Roney has been selected as the Clay Today girls basketball player of the year as the most outstanding player in Clay County.

Surpassing 2,000 points as a career scorer for the Lady Broncos was one milestone.

Winning a district basketball title was milestone number two.

Hosting and winning a region playoff game was milestone number three.

The fourth milestone; a state title, fell short to a wild game against a game soon-to-become a rivalry with Nease High School ending the storybook tale.

“Finally in Hannah’s senior year we were able to have a supporting cast around her,” said Middleburg High coach Michael Hayward, who finished at 24-5. “She still was the leader and captain of the team, the engine that made everything run.”

Roney has a four year record of 66-40 as a Bronco starter with the school record at 2,029 points, an incredible 4.5 steals per game and a 4.56 grade point average.

“She is a do-it-all type of player, yet not flashy, but is a very hard worker on and off the court,” said Hayward.

For the Clay Today All County First Team girls basketball team, Roney’s sophomore sister Mallory Roney leads a contingency of guards and shooting forwards from around the county that excelled mostly without the traditional inside power of a center.

Roney, mostly a shooting forward with inside rebounding skills, was the inside complement of sister Hannah outside shooting and stealing prowess. Roney was the inside presence against Hannah’s outside presence with a 17 points per game average and a 6.2 rebounds per game. Roney also had 2.5 steals per game in the high octane Broncos attack. With sister Hannah’s scoring record out there, Roney finished her sophomore year at 978 points and will be the primary shooter next year.

“She is on pace to break her sisters career record. Mallory is a threat from anywhere on the court,” said Hayward. “She can shoot the three pointer ball, attack the basket off the dribble and she can post up as well.”

For the Fleming Island High lineup, struck with three major injuries for the season, two sophomores; Aubrey Burke, a forward, and Tia Robinson, a guard, both stepped up their games in the wake of injuries to push the Golden Eagles to the first Final Four in school history.

Burke, who upped her offensive game in the second half of the season due to injuries to Ragles, Molly and Clare, and pushed the pace as the Golden Eagles, 28-3 with a loss in the 8A semifinal, were able to outgun three playoff opponents. Burke finished with a 10 points per game, a tough seven rebounds per game and 112 free throws for the season with two region playoff games decided by her accuracy at the free throw line.

On the outer circle for coach Joey Williams sophomore point guard Tia Robinson was the go-to dribbler that orchestrated the fast-passing Golden Eagle attack with her seven assists per game. Though Robinson had no three-pointers on the season, many of her 11.4 points per game came on driving layups and off one of her 6.7 rebounds per game. Robinson was also a consistent free thrower with a team-leading 166 freebies hit.

For Keystone Heights, a second district title in two years came by the versatility of senior guard Almira Jones who put up steady numbers all year to put the Lady Indians in position for the overtime win over Bradford County in the district championship game. Jones was the steady hand for coach Jessica Sykes-Carter in a young group of players that dug down in the final seconds of the Indians district title run. Showing an inside and outside game Jones averaged near 10 points per game with a strong five steals per game and four assists per game

The final cog of the strong guard county lineup is Clay High junior Mariah Martin who came on strong to boost her points per game to 15.2 to push the Lady Blue Devils to a surprise come-from-behind district title win over Ponte Vedra and an even stronger region playoff win. Martin also contributed from the outside with five assists per game and 2.3 rebounds.

Second Team

1. Naely Rios: OPHS, Soph, averaged 17 points per game 64% from the free throw line, 28% from the 3 point line, Came in mid way through the season and really took the Raiders into the region playoffs.

2. Brittany Range: MHS, Freshman, 12.0 ppg, 2.7 apg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 spg. The third shooter for the Broncos attack.

3. Malory Sinsel, FIHS, Senior, 8.5 ppgs, 3.3 rpg, 68 of 222 3-pointers. Hurt most of the season, but still as dangerous a shooter as any in the county.

4. Haley Julius, KHHS, Sophomore, 12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.0 spg, 36 of 89 three pointers. Provided plenty of late season spark including the winning three in district championship win.

5. Andrea Merced, OHS, Junior, 12.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 steals, made 42 of 84 three pointers. Transitioned from strong volleyball season to lead very young Knights’ team that graduated bucketload of veterans.

Honorable Mention

OHS: Mar’ria Davis, freshman (11.3 pts per game, 1.8 assists per game)

FIHS: Liz Labas (7.0 points per game, 45 of 142 3-pointers), Molly Ragle (9.4 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game), Rayna Durden, freshman (9.0 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game)

MHS: Katie Bryan, Junior, 3.5 ppg, 11 3-pointers

KHHS: Kaitlyn Cline, senior, 9.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds

RHS: Makenna Miller, Freshman, 11.2 ppg, 54 of 184 three-pointers, 2.7 rpg; Portia Williams, senior, 2.6 steals per game, 25 3-pointers

OPHS: Tori Cole (8 rebounds per game, 70 percent at free throw. “The heart and soul of our team gave us the toughness we needed”), Nayeli Williams (9 points per game, “Ran the show as a freshman and kept the team moving.”)

CHS: Alexis Stilianou, sophomore, 14.7 ppg, 2.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds; Ginny Stephens, senior, 10.8 ppg, 3.1 assists, 2.1 steals.


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