Ponte Vedra will have to settle for being the state runner-up in boys basketball again.
Not a bad consolation prize for a team that didn’t look like it had the experience or the weapons to make it back to Lakeland and yet still found a way to get there and play for a championship.
The ride ended on Saturday night in the Class 6A state championship game in a 51-40 loss to Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer. A slow start for the Sharks tilted things heavily in favor of Dwyer right off the bat. Dwyer never trailed in the game and built an 11-point lead at the break. It bumped that lead to as many as 15 before the Sharks chipped away to get as close as six points late in the game before Dwyer pulled away.
The Sharks graduated the bulk of last season’s state runner-up squad, including All-News4JAX first-team selection Ross Candelino. Role players on last year’s squad emerged into stars this time around and gave first-year coach Ben Wilson a cohesive unit from the midway point of the season on.
Nathan Bunkosky and Israel Nuhu scored 18 points apiece for the Sharks. Ponte Vedra finished its season 23-7.