Julia Ingram and Palm Harbor University haven't dropped a game yet this season.
1. Seffner Christian (6-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University, Friday at Cambridge Christian
Scoop: The Crusaders had a week off but jump right back into it against PHU on Tuesday before a district game against the Lancers later in the week. Seffner Christian is beating opponents by an average of 19.2 points per game.
2. Lakewood (7-1)
This week: Wednesday vs. Boca Ciega, Thursday vs. Dunedin, Saturday at Winter Haven
Scoop: The Spartans lost their first game of the season to Montverde Academy in the final of the Dunnellon Thanksgiving tournament by 15 points. It doesn’t get any easier this week when the Spartans travel to Winter Haven on Saturday.
3. Calvary Christian (6-1)
This week: Tuesday at St. Petersburg Catholic, Friday at Bradenton St. Stephen’s
Scoop: The Warriors don’t have a tough week after taking last week off. They should get Savannah Plentovich back after she missed a few games due to illness. When Calvary is at full strength, it is really tough to beat.
4. Tampa Catholic (5-2)
This week: Tuesday at Brooks DeBartolo, Thursday at Holy Names, Friday vs. Sarasota Military Academy …Full Story
Coach Will White on leaving Northeast: âI honestly planned to retire after a long career as the head girls coach at Northeast High School but my family needs just wouldn't allow that to happen.â
Northeast girls basketball coach Will White said he is stepping down at the end of the season to spend more time with his family.
In 2010, White’s wife, Heidi, was involved in a serious accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury that requires White to be at home more often.
White planned to make the announcement at the end of the season, but let the news “slip” and decided to tell his players this past week.
“My wife has been ill and I've been trying to hold it all together and balance being a husband, a dad, a teacher and a coach,” White said. “I just didn't think I could do all of those things and be able to help my wife like she needed. As the season got into full swing my heart kept telling me I needed to be home with my wife, so I made up my mind that this would be the last year. Then, during a game last week, I just sort of let it slip with my team.
“I honestly planned to retire after a long career as the head girls coach at Northeast High School but my family needs just wouldn't allow that to happen.”
White will still teach social studies at the school. His team currently is 4-4. …Full Story
Douglas R. Clifford | Times
Marquez Walls, right, and Gibbs are off to a 3-0 start to the season.
1. Tampa Catholic (0-1)
This week: Today vs. Brooks DeBartolo
Scoop: The Crusaders opened the season with an 85-58 loss to Orlando First Academy, a state final four team a year ago, at the Hoops Exchange Shootout. Kevin Knox, who missed the first two preseason games for precautionary reasons after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, showed no signs of rust with a dominating performance. The junior had 31 points, 16 rebounds and three steals. Tampa Catholic will try to bounce back tonight against Brooks DeBartolo in a key Class 4A, District 9 game.
2. Gibbs (3-0)
This week: Friday vs. Bradenton Christian (at Palmetto); Saturday at Palmetto
Scoop: It was a strong opening week for the Gladiators, who beat Pinellas Park, Dixie Hollins and Northeast all by 13 points or more. The bulk of the scoring has come from Marquez Walls, David Pierce and DJ Johnson. And like most Gibbs teams, the defense has been stellar, holding opponents to 43 points per game.
3. Sickles (3-0)
This week: Friday vs. Orlando Jones (Metro vs. Florida Challenge) …Full Story
Calvary Christian dropped its first game last week, but should be completely healthy again after the break.
1. Lakewood (6-0)
This week: Friday-Saturday at Dunnellon Thanksgiving Shootout
Scoop: The Spartans rolled to three straight wins last week, but a bigger test will come this weekend in Ocala. Sophomore guard Toi Smith appears to be the biggest scoring threat now that Siyana Allen is out with a knee injury. Smith scored 29 in Lakewood’s last game against Pinellas Park.
2. Seffner Christian (6-0)
This week: No games scheduled
Scoop: Following a nice 65-64 win against state powerhouse Dunbar, the Crusaders went on to win their last three games last week by an average of 31 points. Four players are averaging double-digit points per game with junior guard Chelsie Hall (19.2 points, 4.7 steals) leading the way.
3. Calvary Christian (6-1)
This week: No games scheduled
Scoop: The Warriors dropped their first game of the season on Saturday against Lake Highland Prep in the final of the Spruce Creek Shootout. They lost by five points, and that was without starting guard Savannah Plentovich, who was out sick. A week off will allow Calvary to get back to full strength.
4. Tampa Catholic (5-1)
This week: Monday vs. Lakewood Ranch …Full Story
TAMPA — Newsome boys basketball coach Barry Jacobs had seen enough of Wharton over the last few years to know Saturday's game was not going to be easy.
Before they stepped onto the court to face their former district rivals, Jacobs said he reminded his team not to get too comfortable, even if it was able to hold an advantage. So when the Wolves took a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, only to watch it dwindle to one after a 15-0 Wharton run with three minutes left, Jacobs' players were well prepared.
Deven Russell and Isayah Franklin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to swing momentum back and lift Newsome to a 48-43 victory at the Berkeley Shootout.
"It's just a great job by our guys," Jacobs said. "We came off a tough loss (Friday) night in our first district game against Alonso and you don't know how they're going to respond off a loss like that.
"It was good to see them come back early against a very good Wharton team."
Behind Justin Stewart's game-high 14 points, the Wolves never trailed, using a 10-0 run in the second quarter to take an 11-point lead into halftime. …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 20. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Alivia Gonzalez, soccer, Palm Harbor University: The sophomore’s goal in the 44th minute was the winner in a 1-0 victory over Wiregrass Ranch, a key Class 5A, District 7 game that helped the Hurricanes remain undefeated.
Aja Graham, soccer, Mitchell: The freshman had a combined four goals and three assists for the Mustangs in wins over Pasco, Sickles and Clearwater Central Catholic. Mitchell is 7-0 and has outscored opponents 45-2.
Audra Leipold, basketball, Academy at the Lakes: The sophomore scored 24 points and added four steals in the Wildcats’ 56-20 win over Land O’Lakes. Through four games, Leipold is averaging 26.6 points per game.
Morgan Tankersley, swimming, Plant: The sophomore won the 200 free (1:47.54) and took second in the 500 free (4:50.52) at the Class 4A state meet. She also anchored the second-place 200 free relay (1:35.81) and the third-place 200 medley relay (1:46.59). …Full Story
LAND O’LAKES — A pair of state semifinalists squared off Thursday night. Class 2A's Academy at the Lakes returned six of their eight total players. The Gators moved up to Class 6A this season and graduated leading scorer Jhade Hayes.
It took less than two minutes for the AATL Wildcats to jump all over the host Gators, leaping out to a 9-0 lead, followed by a 25-4 first-quarter tally and a 56-20, running-clock second-half victory.
"We didn't show up to play," Gators coach Phyllis Crain said. "They (AATL) showed they were a state final four team tonight."
AATL's fast-paced offense and smothering, press defense overwhelmed Land O'Lakes in the opening minutes. Back-to-back steals and a 3-pointer by Audra Leipold put the Wildcats up 5-0 in the blink of an eye. Imani Thomas found just the right spot in the middle of the paint to pick off three steals, just in the first quarter.
"They're trained to know that when the ball's in a particular spot, they try to cover all lines of vision," Wildcat coach Karim Nohra said. …Full Story
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
All three staff writers think Tampa Catholic will reach the Class 3A state semifinals.
Tampa Bay Tech (7-4) at Plant City (10-1)
Rodney Page: Plant City 23-20
Kelly Parsons: Plant City 21-14
Bob Putnam: Tampa Bay Tech 14-13
Plant (9-2) at Lakeland (8-2)
Rodney Page: Lakeland 30-21
Kelly Parsons: Plant 38-35
Bob Putnam: Lakeland 28-14
Brandon (9-2) at Armwood (11-0)
Rodney Page: Armwood 24-17
Kelly Parsons: Armwood 35-12
Bob Putnam: Armwood 28-13
Jefferson (5-6) at Jesuit (11-0)
Rodney Page: Jesuit 38-34
Kelly Parsons: Jefferson 28-24
Bob Putnam: Jesuit 34-17
River Ridge (10-1) at Nature Coast (11-0)
Rodney Page: Nature Coast 35-21
Kelly Parsons: Nature Coast 23-18
Bob Putnam: Nature Coast 28-21
Fort Pierce John Carroll (8-3) at Clearwater Central Catholic (11-0).
Rodney Page: Clearwater Central Catholic 28-6
Kelly Parsons: Clearwater Central Catholic 42-20
Bob Putnam: Clearwater Central Catholic 38-14
Tampa Catholic (9-2) at Ocala Trinity Catholic (4-7)
Rodney Page: Tampa Catholic 27-7
Kelly Parsons: Tampa Catholic 34-24
Bob Putnam: Tampa Catholic 35-21
Admiral Farragut (10-1) at Cambridge Christian (10-0)
Rodney Page: Admiral Farragut 28-24
Kelly Parsons: Admiral Farragut 45-28
Bob Putnam: Admiral Farragut 41-35Full Story
Douglas R. Clifford | Times
Donald Davis had 19 points and seven rebounds in the opener for Tarpon Springs, making him one to watch this season.
G Dakarai Allen, Sr., Largo: Known more as a standout in football, Allen is a clutch guard who carried the Packers most of last season. He will continue to be a top-notch scorer on a team that will have more depth.
F Darius Banks, Jr., St. Petersburg: After two stellar seasons, the 6-foot-4 small forward is poised for even bigger things this year. He is listed as a four-star recruit and ranked fifth in the state by ESPN.
F Bryce Beamer, Jr., Sickles: At 6-foot-5, Beamer is one of the Gryphons’ biggest starters. He led the team in scoring last season with an average of 13.1 points per game.
G Travis Bianco, Sr., St. Petersburg: Last season was Bianco’s breakthrough as a dependable scorer on a team full of stars. He had a strong offseason and played well in both preseason games.
G Terance Brown, Sr., Alonso: The 6-foot-2 guard shined on a team that struggled last season, averaging a team-leading 18.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
G Marcus Cohen, Jr., Sickles: A three-year starter, Cohen’s all-around play and leadership are big reasons the Gryphons are favored to reach the postseason in one of the toughest districts in the state (Class7A-9). …Full Story
Octavio Jones | Times
Thomas Dziagwa and Tampa Catholic have state title aspirations.
1. Tampa Catholic (0-0)
This week: Saturday vs. Orlando First Academy
Scoop: The Crusaders possess the most dynamic scoring duo in the area with forward Kevin Knox and guard Thomas Dziagwa, who each averaged more than 24 points per game last season. But the depth of this team is what puts the Crusaders at the top of the rankings. In the preseason, Tampa Catholic beat Shorecrest and Countryside handily despite not having Knox, a five-star recruit who was out last week after doctors discovered he had high blood pressure. Knox resumed practicing Friday. In his absence, the Crusaders found other guys who can score. Tai Strickland, a transfer from Jesuit, had more than 20 points in two preseason games and will take over at point guard. Bentlee Sanders, who missed last season due to injury, will add another scoring option when he returns once the football season is over.That gives Tampa Catholic enough firepower to seriously contend for a state title in Class 4A.
2. Gibbs (1-0)
This week: Thursday vs. Dixie Hollins; Friday vs. Northeast …Full Story
Douglas R. Clifford | Times
Chelsie Hall and Seffner Christian are off to another strong start after a big win vs. Dunbar.
1. Lakewood (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Bradenton Bayshore, Thursday at Dunedin, Friday vs. Pinellas Park
Scoop: Not much heavy lifting this week for the Spartans, and that could be a good thing. They must figure out how to play without senior forward Siyana Allen, who is lost for the season with a knee injury. Guard Sarah Snell should return this week (concussion). And, just to underscore the bad injury luck for Lakewood so far, head coach Necole Tunsil is in a wheelchair after injuring her ankle and both quad muscles after practice two weeks ago.
2. Seffner Christian (3-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Carrollwood Day, Friday vs. Oldsmar Christian, Saturday vs. at Spruce Creek
Scoop: If there was ever any doubt about whether Seffner Christian could be a state final four team again, the Crusaders silenced the skeptics last week with a big win against Dunbar, a team that lost the 4A state championship game last year in overtime. Seffner’s Chelsie Hall led the way in that game with 23 points, while freshman Brylee Bartram scored 16, 12 of which came on 3-pointers.
3. Calvary Christian (2-0) …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Nov. 7 through Friday, Nov. 13. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Dominique Eule, basketball, Tampa Catholic: The senior forward scored 24 points and shot 55 percent from the floor in the Crusaders’ 56-45 district win against Brooks DeBartolo. She was also 4-of-6 from 3-point range and pulled down four rebounds.
Bailey Hertenstein, cross country, Riverview: The sophomore won the Class 4A state championship, finishing with a time of 17:32.55. The time was the fastest in all classifications and set a course record at Apalachee Regional Park.
Helena Heuberger, swimming, Clearwater: The sophomore won the Class 3A state title in the 100 back in a school-record 56.89 seconds. She also was third in the 100 free and swam legs on the third-place 200 medley relay and fifth-place 200 free relay.
McKenzie Jones, basketball, Mitchell: The sophomore had 18 points, including four 3-pointers, in a season-opening 69-42 win over Nature Coast Tech. …Full Story
Last season, Helena Heuberger just missed making the finals of the 100-yard backstroke at the Class 3A state meet, finishing ninth.
On Friday, she vaulted to the top in her signature event.
The Clearwater sophomore, who transferred from Osceola, won her first state title, finishing frst in the 100 back in a school-record 56.89 seconds at Friday’s 3A meet.
Heuberger was not finished. She also was third in the 100 free (52.41) and teamed with Haley O’Meara, Grace Molinaro and Erin Brennan to finish third in the 200 medley relay (1:49.42) and fifth in the 200 free relay (1:41.01).
Osceola’s Amber Brickey was second in diving with 443.20 points. Teammate Savannah Sawyers was fifth in the 100 breast (1:06.15) and swam anchor leg on the eighth-place 400 free relay (3:40.40).
Seminole’s Noa Heron placed fifth in the 200 free (1:53.73) and eighth in the 500 free (5:05.54). Also for the Warhawks, sophomore Jordan Gorham was seventh in the 500 free (5:01.70) and swam a leg on the eighth-place 200 free relay (1:42.95) along with Noa, Sydney Sheppard and Hannah Ptacek.
Sunlake’s Kara Wilkins took fourth in the 100 back (57.75). …Full Story
Three Oldsmar Christian boys basketball players make their college plans official
Oldsmar Christian had three boys basketball players from its stellar senior class sign with state schools on Friday.
Two players – Eric Hester and Dontay Bassett – are going to Florida. Troy Baxter is headed to USF.
“It’s kind of monumental,” Eagles coach Jordan Fair said. “When was the last time a program had two kids sign with Florida in the same signing period. When the last time a program has been able to send kids to USF in back-to-back years. And for us as a program, it’s big just being able to send kids to college and further their careers.”
Hester, an ex-Clearwater player, is a 6-foot-3 point guard who is rated a three-star recruit and is ranked 11th in the state by ESPN. In August, Hester picked the Gators, becoming new Mike White’s first commitment of the 2016 class.
“The relationship I was able to build with the coaches was big,” Hester said. “I trust and believe they’ll have me ready to compete at the next level, and get to me to the next level after that.”
Bassett is a 6-8 power forward who is listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN. He committed to Florida last month. …Full Story
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
All three of our staff writers like Jesuit to top Lakewood to stay unbeaten on the season.
Steinbrenner at Orlando Dr. Phillips
Rodney Page: Dr. Phillips 24-7
Kelly Parsons: Dr. Phillips 28-14
Bob Putnam: Dr. Phillips 21-12
East Lake at Plant City
Rodney Page: East Lake 20-17
Kelly Parsons: Plant City 14-6
Bob Putnam: Plant City 21-20
Tampa Bay Tech at Countryside
Rodney Page: Countryside 23-21
Kelly Parsons: Tampa Bay Tech 24-21
Bob Putnam: Countryside 20-19
Lakeland Kathleen at Plant
Rodney Page: Plant 42-21
Kelly Parsons: Plant 35-20
Bob Putnam: Plant 27-14
Sickles at Lakeland
Rodney Page: Lakeland 18-16
Kelly Parsons: Sickles 17-12
Bob Putnam: Lakeland 17-14
Osceola at Charlotte
Rodney Page: Charlotte 32-28
Kelly Parsons: Charlotte 24-21
Bob Putnam: Charlotte 31-21
Port Charlotte at Clearwater
Rodney Page: Clearwater 20-10
Kelly Parsons: Clearwater 23-21
Bob Putnam: Clearwater 38-20
Sebring at Armwood
Rodney Page: Armwood 35-14
Kelly Parsons: Armwood 33-10
Bob Putnam: Armwood 21-3
Brandon at Lake Gibson
Rodney Page: Brandon 14-10
Kelly Parsons: Brandon 17-14
Bob Putnam: Lake Gibson 24-23
Gainesville at Mitchell
Rodney Page: Mitchell 28-20
Kelly Parsons: Mitchell 35-14
Bob Putnam: Mitchell 24-17
Sunlake at Ocala Vanguard
Rodney Page: Vanguard 32-14
Kelly Parsons: Sunlake 24-14 …Full Story