BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Local high school girls basketball phenom Ronni Williams will play at the University of Florida in Gainesville next season. Williams picked the Gators over Florida State and Georgia.
“It’s where I want to go and spend the next four years of my life. They were all great programs and it wasn’t about basketball. When I went to Florida, I just felt it,” Williams remarked.
The announcement was made at a pep rally in the school’s gymnasium on Nov. 9.
“I saw her six years ago in middle school and then she came here four years ago. It’s been an honor and a pleasure coaching her. It’s a special day. Ronni deserves it. She has put Atlantic on the map nationally. We have never had a player of this caliber,” commented George, Butts Atlantic ‘s head coach.
Williams is the biggest female recruit out of Volusia County since DeLand’s Bridgett Gordon and since Mainland’s Vince Carter in 1995.
Williams also had offers from defending national champion Baylor, Tennessee and several of the nations other top programs.
The Atlantic High School 6-2 senior forward/guard is the top girl’s basketball recruit in Florida and 13th in the nation.
“God is good. Without him, I couldn’t do any of this. It also took determination, hard work and staying focused,” added Williams.
She also is an ESPN Rise All-American and is expected to make it as a McDonald’s All-American this season.
Last season Williams averaged 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.7 blocks per game for the Sharks.
Next goal: State title
Williams now will concentrate on her senior season. With her, the Sharks are poised for a shot at a state title. They are two years removed from a Final Four appearance.
“She had attention since she first started playing when she was small. Now that the recruiting process is over, I think that she will get back to playing like she is capable. I think the process kind of took away from her game,” commented Rodney Williams, her father.
“I am ready to settle down with my team, stay focused and go out there and get it done,” added Williams.
Football roundup: NSB unbeaten
Cameron “Squirt” Hadley threw for 95 yards and ran for 89 yards with a touchdown as Mainland beat Orlando Olympia 25-15. It was the fifth straight win for the Buccaneers. Stephen Bostick ran for 101 yards with a score for Mainland.
New Smyrna Beach beat Spruce Creek 41-14. The Barracudas finish the regular season unbeaten for the first time since 1999. Marcus Johnson threw for 224 yards with two scores and James Clark had 176 receiving yards with two touchdowns for NSB. The Hawks got a Collin Olsen rushing score and Shane Peludat threw a touchdown pass to Michael Colubiale.
Alex Bell threw for 174 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 105 with two scores as Atlantic rallied past Matanzas 30-20. Steven Tucker ran for 200 yards with three scores for Matanzas.
Joe Boden’s 89 yard-kickoff return touchdown with 1:06 remaining lifted Father Lopez over Taylor 22-16. Boden also threw for 172 yards and ran for a score for the Green Wave.
T. J. Hearn ran for 232 yards with a score and had an interception return touchdown for the Taylor Wildcats.
University-42, Pine Ridge-6; Boca Raton Christian-57, Calvary-22; Trinity-31, Deltona-6.
This week’s playoff games
Mainland (7-3) at Lakeland Lake Gibson (10-0): The Buccaneers travel to face the unbeaten Braves. Mainland’s defense is stingy but will the offense produce enough for a win?
Winter Haven (9-1) at New Smyrna (9-0): The Blue Devils are a tough matchup for the Barracudas. NSB must be at its best to advance.
Sanford Seminole (6-4) at DeLand (6-4): A good matchup for the Bulldogs at home. DeLand must limit mistakes to move on.
Winter Garden Foundation Academy (8-3) at Warner (9-1): The host Eagles are better than the Lions and should be focused enough to advance to the next round.
Atlantic (8-2) at Tampa Robinson (9-1): The Sharks have a long and tough road trip to face the Knights. Atlantic too must limit mistakes.
Trinity (7-3) at Lake Mary Prep (10-0): The unbeaten LMP Griffins features Ray Lewis III son of NFL star Ray Lewis. The Eagles will counter with Marquion Lane.
Prep Sports Seven football
1. *New Smyrna (9-0), 2. *Warner (9-1), 3. * Mainland (6-4), 4. *DeLand (6-4), 5. *Atlantic (8-2), 6. *Trinity (7-3), 7. Flagler Palm Coast (6-4).
*-denotes made the state playoffs.
Previous: 1. New Smyrna, 2. Warner, 3.Mainland, 4 DeLand, 5. Atlantic, 6. Trinity, 7. Flagler Palm Coast.