The prep basketball season is full swing and no where else is that more apparent than at Pine Forest High.
The Eagles boys have gotten off to a fast start, winning all eight of their games so far this season, including seven in the competitive District 1-6A. The girls just cruised by rival Pensacola 55-42 last week and also are undefeated in 1-6A.
As a result, the energy surrounding the basketball programs is high at the school, coaches said.
"We're just excited that both teams are doing so well," said boys head coach Brad Grant, whose Eagles have beaten opponents by an average of 24 points this year. "I'm excited for (girls coach Chris Godwin), and she's excited for us. We're both excited for each other.
"It gives the kids some extra motivation. They want to come in everyday and work hard. They're getting in that mindset where they want to come in everyday and do their job. And then when it's game time, they come in there with that same focus and just go after it."
That showed Friday night when both teams took on Pensacola High.
Senior Shamar Johnson -- the 2011 News Journal Player of the Year -- scored 17 points to lead the Eagles boys to a 58-34 victory, who previously were unbeaten in 1-6A.
In the girls game, Tia Sanders and Jayla King led the Eagles (9-1, 7-0) to a 55-42 win against their rival.
The games drew hundreds of fans -- so many, in fact, that the PHS gym filled to capacity before the start of the boys game. Dozens of fans still were waiting in the parking lot for a chance to get in the gym by the time the boys were midway through the first quarter.
"I think both programs being successful helps because we play a lot of games together," Godwin said. "Raising money for both teams, you know, it's been hard. The only way we make money is by those big crowds coming out to support our programs. So both of our teams playing together and both of them doing well and both of us being undefeated (in district) has helped us both out. When you come to our games, you're going to get to see two good games."
Neino's success continues
Neino Robinson was key in Northview's 42-21 Class 1A football state championship victory against Trenton.
Now, the junior is making waves for the Chiefs on the basketball court.
Just one week after helping Northview win its first state championship, Robinson scored a jaw-dropping 58 points for the Chiefs' basketball team in a 91-68 win against Freeport on Friday. He then followed that up with a 42-point performance in a 75-68 win against Central on Monday.
In the football state title game, Robinson returned a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown, pulled down an interception and produced three tackles and a pass breakup on defense.
Robinson so far has scored an average of 40.5 points for the Chiefs basketball team.
The Northview basketball team currently is undefeated (4-0) and next plays again today in the Jay Christmas Tournament.
2 Dolphins tapped for All-Star game
Seniors Allison Proctor and Caitlin Chapman have helped the Gulf Breeze volleyball program reach historic heights.
Earlier this month, the pair was rewarded for its efforts, which helped the Dolphins advance to the Region 1-5A championship game this season and the Class 5A state championship game in 2011. Chapman, an outside hitter, and Proctor, a libero, were among 26 athletes in the state picked for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Volleyball Classic.
The game was played on Dec. 2 at St. Leo University and matched up the state's top athletes from North Florida against their counterports from South Florida.
Proctor anchored a stout defense all season for the Dolphins and produced 191 digs and 24 aces. Chapman, the News Journal's Player of the Year, helped lead the offense with 258 kills, 41 aces and 32 blocks. She also had 121 digs.
* Nadia Fingall, Navarre basketball. The freshman scored a team-high 17 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and made seven blocks in the Raiders' 45-41 win against Milton.
* Quan Moorer, Catholic basketball. Moorer scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Crusders in their win against Marianna.
* Rachel Moorer, Pace basketball. Moorer, a senior, scored 20 points to help the Patriots beat Escambia 53-32.