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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings, Week 2

Marquez Walls, right, and Gibbs are off to a 3-0 start to the season.

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)

Scoop: Continuing the momentum from a strong offseason, the Gryphons started off with wins over Jefferson, Steinbrenner and Freedom. The 62-54 victory over the Patriots kept Sickles at the top of the district standings in Class 7A-8. Marcus Cohen had 12 points and five assists against Freedom. On Friday, the Gryphons get another test in perennial power Orlando Jones.

4. St. Petersburg (2-0)

This week: Saturday vs. Sagemont (Breast Cancer Awareness Classic at Orlando Oak Ridge).

Scoop: The Green Devils cruised last week, beating Osceola and Countryside each by more than 20 to open the season. Darius Banks, Travis Bianco and Glen Miller all reached double figures in scoring in both wins. Things get tougher Saturday against 2014-15 Class 3A state finalist Sagemont.  

5. Jesuit (2-0)

This week: Today vs. Shorecrest, Saturday vs. Hudson

Scoop: It was a solid week for the Tigers, who started the season with resounding victories over Spoto and defending Class 3A region semifinalist Seffner Christian. Jesuit has three players – Stevie Darst (17.5 points per game), DJ Snyder (13) and Lee Green (12) – who are averaging double figures in scoring.

6. Tampa Prep (1-0)

This week: No games scheduled

Scoop: The Terrapins are easing into the season with last week’s 97-63 win over Hudson the only game scheduled in November. In the first regular season without power forward Juwan Durham, Tampa Prep found other scoring options with four players averaging double figures, led by Trey Sibert’s game-high 23 points.

7. Seffner Christian (2-1)

This week: No games

Scoop: The Crusaders survived a tough stretch of opening games to stay above .500. A 15-point loss to 5A region semifinalist Jesuit was followed by a five-point win over 3A region semifinalist Calvary Christian. Reid Walker and Darius Lue each had 15 in Monday’s win over the Warriors. Seffner Christian has the week off before playing Cambridge Christian on Dec. 4 in what will be an important Class 3A, District 7 game.

8. Newsome (2-1)

This week: No games scheduled

Scoop: After losing to Alonso in the Class 8A, District 6 opener, the Wolves bounced back by beating Wharton in the only meeting between the former district rivals this season. Justin Stewart had a game-high 14 points. Like most teams, Newsome is taking Thanksgiving week off.

9. Wharton (2-1)

This week: No games scheduled

Scoop: A three-game win streak to start the season was snapped with a 48-43 loss to rival Newsome at the Berkeley Shootout. The Wildcats played tough, cutting a 15-point deficit down to a point in the fourth quarter. Evan Trice scored 11 in the loss. Wharton has the week off before a brutal stretch of games against Freedom, Brandon and Sickles in a span of four days from Dec. 1-4.

10. Freedom (1-2)

This week: Friday at Palmetto; Saturday vs. Bradenton Christian (at Palmetto).

Scoop: After holding on to beat Leto, the Patriots dropped their next two to Sickles and Winter Park Trinity Prep to fall below .500. In both losses, Freedom has been held to fewer than 55 points. Sheldon Odunna, a 6-foot-3 senior, provided most of the scoring the first week with an average 22.3 points per game.

11. Clearwater (1-0)

This week: Today at Tarpon Springs, Wednesday at River Ridge

Scoop: The Tornadoes opened with a 77-33 win over Sunlake. Nine players scored, including three in double figures – Ryan Ierna (19), Gene Culver (18) and Romain Minott (10). The first true test comes this afternoon against Tarpon Springs in a conference game.

12. Largo (0-0)

This week: Today vs. Dunedin (at Northeast)

Scoop: Because the football team usually makes a run in the playoffs, the Packers go easy on the schedule in November. There were no games last week. That gave Largo plenty of time to get ready for tonight’s opener against Dunedin.

13. Berkeley Prep (3-0)

This week: Today vs. Universal Academy

Scoop: Turns out, the Buccaneers do not have to rebuild much. Berkeley Prep started the season with wins against Academy at the Lakes, IMG and Plant. As expected, the team’s frontcourt is the strength with Kaleeyl Findlay (17 points per game) and Jacob Mathis (16) leading the team in scoring.

14. Alonso (3-0)

This week: No games scheduled

Scoop: The Ravens, 9-18 last season, could end up having one of the area’s biggest turnarounds. Alonso started the season with three straight wins, the biggest coming against Newsome in a Class 8A, District 6 contest. Terance Brown is helping to lead the Ravens’ resurgence.

15. Clearwater Central Catholic (3-0)

This week: No Games

Scoop: Thanks to an influx of transfers, the Marauders have a deep and talented squad that is off to one of their best starts in years. The signature win came last week against East Lake. Tyler Blaylock is averaging a team-high 10.6 points per game.

16. Tarpon Springs (3-0)

This week: Today vs. Clearwater

Scoop: It was a busy week for the Spongers, who beat Palm Harbor University, Dunedin and Sunlake. Don Davis has been a force inside, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds. Other contributors include Jerome Fowler (12.3 points per game) and Israel Atkins (10.3).

17. Calvary Christian (0-1)

This week: Friday vs. Dixie Hollins

Scoop: It is hard to drop the Warriors after losing 60-55 to Seffner Christian in the opener. Calvary Christian stayed within striking distance throughout the game. Paxton Wilson led the Warriors with 24 points and seven rebounds.

18. Shorecrest (1-0)

This week: Today at Jesuit, Friday vs. Golden Gate (Saint John Neumann Shootout), Saturday at Saint John Neumann

Scoop: Led by Marcus Blake the Chargers will again have a high-scoring offense. In last week’s season opener, Shorecrest beat Sarasota Christian 84-81. Today, the Chargers face a tough test against Jesuit.

19. Countryside (2-1)

This week: Today at Seminole

Scoop: The Cougars had wins against Pinellas Park and Palm Harbor University and a loss to powerhouse St. Petersburg last week. Braxton Hampton has been the leader, averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds per game.

20. Zephyrhills (2-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel

Scoop: Jeremy Oppenheimer, the top returning scorer in Pasco County, averaged 22.5 points last week in wins over Fivay and Ridgewood. Today’s game against Wesley Chapel could prove pivotal in deciding the top two seeds in Class 5A, District 8.

21. Nature Coast (2-0)

This week: Today vs. Citrus

Scoop: The Sharks, Hernando County’s most dominant team, beat Weeki Wachee and Fivay last week to remain undefeated. A win against Citrus tonight would also keep Nature Coast at the top of the standings in Class 5A, District 7.

22. Brooks DeBartolo (2-0)

This week: Today at Tampa Catholic

Scoop: Wins against Lakeland Christian and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney were a good start to the season, but the real test comes tonight for the Phoenix against Tampa Catholic in a Class 4A, District 9 game.

23. Bloomingdale (4-0)

This week: Today vs. Gulf (Mitchell Thanksgiving Shootout).

Scoop: It was a busy week for the Bulls with four games – all wins. Defense has been the key so far with Bloomingdale holding opponents to an average of 41 points per game.  

24. Northeast (1-1)

This week: Friday vs. Palmetto (Manatee Turkey Classic), Saturday vs. Bradenton Southeast (Manatee Turkey Classic).

Scoop: After beating Lakewood in overtime, the Vikings fell 65-52 to another city rival, Gibbs. Amarildo Lame (18. 5 points per game) and Jordan Kabamba (16.5) are Northeast’s top two scorers.

25. Lakewood (0-1)

This week: Saturday vs. Orlando West Oaks (Oakridge shootout)

Scoop: The Spartans rebounded from a loss to Northeast with wins against Osceola and Bradenton Bayshore. Tyrese Hurst is becoming one of Lakewood’s top scoring threats.

On the bubble: Admiral Farragut (1-0), Brandon (1-1), East Lake (1-1), Wesley Chapel (2-0)

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 12:37pm]


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