Record season for Mosley ends with semifinal loss

LAKELAND, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A magical run for the Mosley girls basketball team ended with a loss in the 6A state semifinals Wednesday night in Lakeland.

Ponte Vedra ousted the Lady Dolphins 57-37, using a blistering night shooting to rocket to an early, insurmountable edge.

The Lady Sharks finished the game 21 of 38 from the field compared to 14 of 55 for Mosley.

Ja'Tayvia Holley led Mosley in scoring with 11 points, while Ladaizha Taylor tallied 8 points and a team-high 8 rebounds.

The 22-6 season is the best in program history, culminating in the first trip to the state final four in program history. However, while the good memories and the records will persevere, the predominant emotion Wednesday night was disappointment.

"After the game, we didn't say nothing at all. I know at halftime we had to talk each other up, and try to get our heads back in the game because we was nervous," Ladaizha Taylor said. "Of course we were nervous coming to the Final Four. A different scenery, a lot of cameras, being on the spot. But we just had to push through that."

Mosley trailed by 20 at halftime, with Ponte Vedra pushing the lead to as high as 25 midway through the fourth quarter. On a night when the other team can barely miss, there's only so much the opposing coach and players can do.

"It's a struggle," Mosley head coach Jon Mason said. "All you can do is try to run them off the three-point line, run them into some defensive help and try to make tough shots, see if they can make tough shots. We were never really able to recover from the first half. I thought they still played hard, but we didn't necessarily play the way that we normally play."

There's already cause for optimism while looking ahead. Only two seniors, Ayanna Garcia and Ja'Tayvia Holley, will graduate this spring. The rest of the roster should remain intact, so perhaps this is only the start of something special.

"We just look to build on that same experience next year and try to keep that support because these girls deserve it," Mason said. "They play hard, they practice hard and they represent the school well on and off the court."

Ponte Vedra advances to the state championship Thursday against American Heritage, who beat Lakewood 74-68 in overtime Wednesday.