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Poplar Springs spoils Seahawks’ opener

Seahawk junior Ethan Kembro and senior Owen Poloronis didn’t shoot badly last week against Graceville Poplar Springs, each downing four three-pointers as they scored 20 and 19 points, respectively.

Only problem was, the Atomics were even hotter.

Poplar Springs senior McCade Hall hit 8 of 11 three-point tries, to lead his team with 31 points as the Atomics downed the Seahawks 77-70 in the regular season opener Nov. 22 at The Nest.

“Everytime we cut it to two or one they turned around and banged a three,” said Coach Ray Bailey. “They always made a big shot to keep us at bay.”

The Atomics led throughout the game, 21-16 after the first quarter, and 43-34 at the half. The Seahawks tightened it up even further, out scoring the Atomics 22-19 in the third quarter to make it a 62-56 ballgame going into the final stanza.

But the Seahawks, even with a pair of treys from Poloronis, and three buckets from senior Ta’shawn Jones, couldn’t mount a comeback in the final stanza.

“We had a lot of mental and defensive lapses toward the end,” said Bailey. “We’ve got a lot of new faces, and only three experienced players from last year. It’s going to be a process; we’re learning.”

Jones added a dozen points, and lots of fire in his play, to round out the contribution of the experienced veterans.

“He’s been great since the first day of practice, he’s been trying to be a leader on and off the court,” said Bailey. “ He’s been a double double player. He’s blocked shots and rebounded. He’ll give you everything he’s got.”

Sophomore Ajayen McNair tallied five points, including one trey, and senior Jaidyn Rhodes contributed four points, as did eighth grader Sadiq Jones. Junior Lonnie O’Neal, and eighth graders Dre North and Jeremiah Allen each added two.

Bailey gave a lot of the young players a chance to hit the hardwood. “I’m trying to accommodate them early in the season to see who’s comfortable doing what,” he said. “They’re going to make mistakes early on. We’re going to rotate in and out, so they can get a lot of experience before we get to crunch time and we narrow that rotation.

“We’re all learning together, it’s going to be a process this whole season,” said Bailey.

After facing Wakulla at home Wednesday, the Seahawks take on Wewahitchka in a district game at The Nest Friday, and then are home Monday against Liberty County, before they travel to Jefferson County for another district match Dec. 7.

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