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PKY’s Willie Powers wins #400

January 8, 2017
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Reaching a milestone like 400 wins wasn’t the goal when Willie Powers started coaching girls basketball more than 20 years ago.

But reaching the mark at home, P.K. Yonge, made it a little more special on Wednesday.

His Blue Wave, playing all 15 players, ran over Oak Hall 63-21 to improve to 15-1 on the season. The Eagles, whose coach Eric Ringdahl reached the same milestone a year ago, played without standout senior guard Nadiria Evans, who continues to nurse a foot injury.

“When I started this, I didn’t start it to win 400 games,” said Powers, who got his coaching start at Santa Fe and has led P.K. Yonge to six Final Fours and two state titles. “I started to try to change lives in youth and it just happens that I got 400 wins.

“Basically I have been lucky and blessed to have people that believe in what I do and go out and execute what we do.”

Without Evans, the Blue Wave’s pressure defense caused numerous Eagle turnovers, which led to constant offensive runs. P.K. Yonge led 18-4 after the first and opened a 45-9 lead at half.

The game went to a running clock in the second half.

Senior Lauren Moore, the only double-figure scorer in the game, led the Blue Wave with 12 points. Fourteen of the 15 P.K. Yonge players scored.

Oak Hall, which dropped to 8-5, was led by Catherine Euliano, who had a team-high six points, hitting two 3-pointers in the fourth.

“I really don’t like to talk about stuff like this, but it was special back here at home with some girls that have worked so hard this year,” Powers said. “This year we have been able to play 15 people a lot and it wears people down.

“As hard as they work for me, you know you are going to play. They have bought into the system, no one complains about playing time, which makes you a great team. Having kids on the bench cheering for everyone else is very important.”

P.K. Yonge, whose only loss is at 1A power Wildwood in mid-December, has some tough tests ahead: the Blue Wave host a quality 4A Jacksonville Providence team on Jan. 13, 2016 1A finalist Trenton on Jan. 17, play at 6A Gainesville on Jan. 24 and play at Lafayette in Mayo, another quality 1A team, on Jan. 28.

The Blue Wave won the 3A state title in 2012 and 2A state title in 2010. Powers said despite losing in the regional finals the last two seasons, both to state finalists, he said his girls always play their hardest.

“That’s why we have a tough schedule because it will prepare us for the run to make it to the Final Four,” he said. “We have been young and rebuilding. I can’t be mad at the ladies because of how hard they have worked. The girls have given me such great effort those four years since (2012), I can’t really complain.”

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