By FRANCIS FEDOR
Stingray basketball is having a great season but ran into tough losses, first losing to Robinson on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in a 70-69 thriller at home. The team traveled to Brandon on the next night to face the 0-13 Eagles and left with an 83-23 victory, its largest winning margin this season. Sumner then traveled to King and lost the second game of the week, 49-42, on Friday, Jan. 12.
The Stingrays have been enjoying a very successful season under new head coach Ryan Bethoney. The largely junior squad is competitive every night and has a number of dynamic players who bring excitement to the gym for every game. They were tested this week when the 11-win Robinson Knights traveled to Sumner to open the week. The game saw back and forth scoring, with the Knights winning the first quarter and Sumner taking the second; the teams were tied at 33 going into the half. Sumner had a two-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, setting up the dramatic fourth quarter. The energy in the Sumner gym was electric, and the game was nearly knotted at 62-61 at the 5:17 mark with the Knights holding the slim lead. They held that one-point lead with two minutes left in the contest. The ‘Rays tied the game with less than a minute left, but the Knights drew a foul and converted one of two free throws with one second left on the clock, allowing for a last second heave from Sumner that fell short and deflated the gym. Jacob Douglas led Sumner with 15 points. The Stingrays went six for 17 from beyond the 3-point arc. Isaiah Williams added 15 rebounds. The Knights had the advantage from the free-throw line, converting 14 of 25 attempts.
The ‘Rays were offered a reprieve in traveling to Brandon to face the Eagles. Sumner took advantage of facing the 0-14 Eagles, a program that continues to struggle in athletics. The Stingrays were without the high-energy Jacob Douglas but faced little competition from the Eagles. Sumner dominated the first quarter 32-5 and never looked back in putting up 83 points on the scoreboard. Kyree Williams led the Stingrays with 13 points and seven rebounds for the night.
Sumner finished up the week, dropping another tight game, traveling to Tampa to play the King Lions. The game was another back-and-forth contest that the Stingrays couldn’t steal on the road. The Stingrays head into the final weeks of the season facing Gaither (Jan. 23) and Freedom (Jan. 24) at home and taking on 13-7 Wharton, who recently beat Robinson, on the road on Friday, Jan. 26. The tight games should help Sumner be prepared for the competition it will see as the team progresses into the playoffs.
The Stingray girls won all three games on the week, defeating Robinson 52-45, Brandon 66-25 and King 57-30 for the perfect week. They will have played Gaither at home on Tuesday night, their only scheduled game for the week, and will have two games remaining in their regular season schedule.