Boys basketball: Sickles 58, Wharton 38
TAMPA — After an admittedly slow start to the season, the Sickles boys basketball team suddenly appears to be running along just fine.
A prime example was Wednesday night’s Class 8A, District 8 clash with Wharton, a team that came into the Sickles’ gym with a 5-0 record.
A little more than an hour later, Wharton walked out with a 58-38 defeat and a heap of respect for the Gryphons.
“All the credit has to go to Sickles, but there also is no discredit to us,” Wharton coach Tommy Tonelli said. “I thought we played hard and did a lot of things really well, but Sickles has a lot of nice pieces that can make it tough for any team to play.”
On Wednesday, those “nice pieces” included guard Bryce Beamer (team-high 21 points), center Bryce Workman (16 points), guard Marcus Cohen (eight points) and guard Tahj Lalanne (six points).
For Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia, it was another satisfying outing after starting the year with a flat preseason loss to Calvary Christian and a regular-season opening loss to Orlando Oak Ridge.
Since then, the Gryphons have won five straight.
“Before the season started there was a lot of talk about how good we were supposed to be and I think we kind of lost ourselves,” Garcia said. “I do think those losses woke us up. Now we know we have to keep working hard. We can’t just expect to win.”
On Wednesday, Garcia said he was particularly pleased with his defense, which kept the pressure high throughout the game.
“We know that Wharton always runs their offense really well,” Garcia said. “Everybody has to do their job on defense when you play Wharton.”
The Wildcats (5-1) never seriously threatened the Gryphons on Wednesday, failing to cut the lead to single digits throughout the second half.