Knights’ ‘Super Sophs’ ease into 8-0 slate

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 12/16/20

HILLIARD - With his top scorer Kaylah Turner this time, Fred Cole’s Oakleaf High girls basketball team showed off a strength that upcoming opponents may want to consider.

“It’s not a bad …

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Knights’ ‘Super Sophs’ ease into 8-0 slate

Posted

HILLIARD - With his top scorer Kaylah Turner this time, Fred Cole’s Oakleaf High girls basketball team showed off a strength that upcoming opponents may want to consider.

“It’s not a bad thing having three players the caliber of my three sophomores,” said Cole, who moved to 8-0 for 2020 with a 79-25 blowout of Hilliard on Monday. “The funny thing is is we don’t worry about who gets what as long as we get the win.”

Turner and teammates Fantasia James and Taliah Scott have barnstormed the season’s first month with a versatility that belies, one, young players, and, two, fun.

“You know, we work on set plays and scenarios all week during practice and we run, alot,” said Cole, who is aptly shadowed by long time assistant Ron Jefferson, who was with Cole during his tenure as the Orange Park High head girls basketball coach. “But, we just let them play. I called maybe two set plays in our game against Orange Park. The rest of the game, it was just them playing ball.”

In the first four games of 2020, the scoring leader for Cole was Scott; 22 points against Bolles; Scott, 16 points against Lee; James, 19 points against Bradford, and Turner, 24 points against First Coast; all wins by massive gaps against teams with less than stellar return fire.

“We are still a work in progress from the start of the season,” said Cole. “They have played with each other in club ball or AAU so they know each other pretty well and know the skill sets. The key is there is no selfishness.”

In the most recent span of four games; wins over Mandarin, Orange Park (was unbeaten), Bishop Kenny (was 8-1, back to back Final Four finishes) and Hilliard, the points leaders were Scott, 25; Scott, 43; James, 30, and Turner 23, respectively.

“The good thing about the trio, and I must add in our seniors and the rest of the team, there is no ‘my turn, your turn’ on the team,” said Cole. “Bishop Kenny put two defenders on Taliah and Fantasia lit them up. You can’t guard just one.”

Cole, who noted that senior Geniyah Turner may be the glue for the team, but coined the phrase of ‘controlled chaos’ about his team with the run workouts of Jefferson legendary in keeping the pace very high for four quarters.

“He runs them hard, but we run them with intention putting them in pressure situations so that if it happens in the game, they have seen the plan to react,” said Cole. “Geniyah averaged near 15 points on her own last year and is ready in the wings to take the role of team leader. As the season gets deeper and deeper and maybe playoffs, it’s going to take someone to be that leader. She knows her role.”

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