On January 10th, the Key West High School (KWHS) Conchs Basketball team kicked off the new year with a home game against their Florida Keys rivals, the Coral Shores High School (CSHS) Hurricanes. The student section showed support by hosting a “White Out,” meaning that all students in the audience wore the color white.
Starting the “rivalry show-down” evening, the KWHS girls’ basketball team, led by Coach Shonta Mcleod, began their first portion of the game with a bang. Throughout the event’s first half, Aubrey Hunter, a junior at KWHS, earned points for the team, making numerous field goals and finishing the first half with a 9-9 against the Hurricanes. However, Brooke Mandozzi, a player for the Hurricanes, was a force in trying to defend their title as a Keys girls’ basketball champion. Carrying on after halftime, Olivia Gibson, a junior at KWHS, had an unfortunate injury during the third quarter. All the Lady Conchs fans hope she has a steady fast recovery for the remainder of the season. Jaila Hicks, a sophomore at KWHS, finished the second half with a marvelous free throw, scoring an extra point for the team. The Conchs won with a 38-24 lead, claiming their title as the Florida Keys girls.
Carrying on in the evening, the Conchs junior varsity (JV) boys basketball team, led by Coach Antonea Dowell, started strong against the JV Hurricanes, leading 13-4 in the first quarter and 18-4 in the second. After halftime, they blew CSHS out of the water, finishing with a total of 45-30, a 15-point difference in the score. Although Coral Shores caught up, more was needed to end the game with a victory. Josue Thanus, a sophomore at KWHS, scored 11 points individually, assisting the JV Conchs to success.
The varsity boys basketball team, led by Coach Dexter Butler, ended the night on not the best terms. Although this game was the best the Conchs have played so far this season, it wasn’t enough to carry them to victory. The crowd saw excellent performances from Kameron Roberts, a sophomore at KWHS, and Leandro Batista, a freshman at KWHS. Roberts scored 11 points for the team and Batista eight points, consuming over half of their total score for the Conchs. To help Roberts and Batista, Kevon Mills, a senior at KWHS, and James Osborne, another sophomore at KWHS, had the most assists within the game. Finishing with a loss of 35-53, it certainly wasn’t a shining moment for Conchs basketball, but an ego-booster for the Hurricanes as the “Florida Keys Basketball Champ.”
This “Keys basketball show-down” was a wild night, but we can’t wait to show our friendly school rivalry competition at the next game on January 24th at CSHS. Both of the sports programs may gain some redemption.