HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings
1. Tampa Catholic (1-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney; Wednesday at Clearwater Central Catholic
Scoop: After losing the season opener to a tough Orlando First Academy team, the Crusaders bounced back with a win over Brooks DeBartolo in their first Class 4A, District 9 game. Kevin Knox is off to a great start, averaging 30 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas Dziagwa is averaging 20 and Tai Strickland 10. Tampa Catholic continues district play this week with games against Cardinal Mooney and CCC.
2. Gibbs (5-0)
This week: Tuesday at Tarpon Springs; Friday vs. Lakewood
Scoop: The Gladiators remained undefeated by beating Bradenton Christian 61-58 and host Palmetto 68-63 at a Thanksgiving shootout. The defense continues to be airtight. And the offense is showing some balance with nine players scoring so far, including four in double figures – Marquez Walls, DJ Johnson, Bailey Peterson and David Pierce. At the shootout last week, Pierce was ejected and is serving a two-week suspension. The school is appealing but Pierce will likely miss this week’s games, including the one against rival Lakewood on Friday.
3. Sickles (4-0)
This week: Wednesday vs. Leto; Friday at Wharton
Scoop: The Gryphons routed Orlando Jones 75-42 at the Metro vs. Florida Challenge. The key for Sickles’ perfect start has been the play of the defense, which is holding opponents to an average of 38 points per game. A big test comes Friday against Wharton with first place on the line in Class 7A, District 8.
4. St. Petersburg (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University; Thursday at Boca Ciega; Friday at Pinellas Park
Scoop: The Green Devils suffered their first loss of the season against defending Class 3A state finalist Sagemont at the Breast Cancer Awareness Classic at Oak Ridge. There’s not much rest this week with three games in four days, starting Tuesday against Palm Harbor University.
5. Jesuit (4-0)
This week: Tuesday at Robinson; Friday at Plant; Saturday vs. Brooks DeBartolo
Scoop: Wins over Shorecrest (56-48) and Hudson (76-47) kept the Tigers’ undefeated start intact. Stevie Darst, who is averaging 14.8 points, has been the team’s most consistent scorer. Three of the first four games have been decided by 15 points or more.
6. Tampa Prep (1-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Carrollwood Day; Friday at Academy of the Lakes; Saturday vs. Sunlake
Scoop: After a light schedule to start the season, including no games during Thanksgiving break, the Terrapins pick up the pace with three this week, starting with their Class 3A, District 7 opener against Carrollwood Day.
7. Seffner Christian (2-1)
This week: Friday at Cambridge Christian
Scoop: Derek Webster (15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds) and Christian Noskey (12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds) have been the most productive players for the Crusaders. Friday’s game against Cambridge was postponed so Seffner’s next game is not until Dec. 8 against Class 3A, District 7 rival Tampa Prep.
8. Newsome (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Middleton
Scoop: The Wolves end an 11-day layoff with Tuesday’s game against Middleton. After that, there’s another six days off before Newsome plays Riverview in what will start a busy holiday season.
9. Wharton (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Freedom; Thursday at Brandon; Friday vs. Sickles
Scoop: No team has a tougher week than the Wildcats with games against Freedom, Brandon and Sickles, which are all playoff contenders in Class 8A, District 7.
10. Freedom (3-2)
This week: Tuesday at Wharton; Friday vs. Gaither
Scoop: The Patriots fared well this past weekend, beating Bradenton Christian and Bradenton Southeast at a tournament in Palmetto. Freedom needs to keep the momentum going against Wharton to avoid falling behind in the Class 7A, District 8 standings.
11. Clearwater (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Boca Ciega; Wednesday vs. Seminole; Friday vs. Largo (at Northeast).
Scoop: The Tornadoes remain undefeated thanks to a pair of eight-point wins against Tarpon Springs and River Ridge. The trio of Ryan Ierna (14 points per game), Romain Minott-Neufville (12.3) and Gene Culver (12) is off to a strong start.
12. Largo (1-0)
This week: Tuesday at Northeast; Wednesday at Palm Harbor University; Friday vs. Clearwater (at Northeast)
Scoop: After cruising in a season-opening win over Dunedin, the Packers start Class 6A, District 9 play against Northeast on Tuesday and Clearwater on Friday.
13. Berkeley Prep (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Sarasota Military Academy; Friday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic; Saturday vs. Cardinal Mooney
Scoop: During the Buccaneers’ 4-0 start, the margin of victory has increased with each game. That likely will change with tougher contests against Class 4A, District 7 foes CCC and Cardinal Mooney this week.
14. Alonso (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Sarasota Riverview; Wednesday vs. Chamberlain; Friday vs. Riverview
Scoop: This week is a challenging one for the Ravens with games against Sarasota Riverview, Chamberlain and Riverview, which are a combined 4-1.
15. Clearwater Central Catholic (3-0)
This week: Wednesday vs. Tampa Catholic; Thursday vs. Brooks DeBartolo; Friday at Berkeley Prep
Scoop: The Marauders’ undefeated start will be get a serious challenge with games against Class 4A, District 7 frontrunners Tampa Catholic, Brooks DeBartolo and Berkeley Prep. There have been 14 players who have scored for CCC, led by Tyler Blaylock (10.6 points per game).
16. Tarpon Springs (3-1)
This week: Tuesday at Countryside; Wednesday vs. Gibbs; Friday vs. Bradenton Southeast
Scoop: A three-game win streak to start the season was snapped with a loss to Clearwater. The Spongers have important games against Class 5A, District 11 foes Gibbs and Bradenton Southeast. Don Davis is the team leader in points (14.5 average per game) and rebounds (7.8).
17. Calvary Christian (1-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Admiral Farragut; Thursday at Northside Christian; Friday vs. St. Petersburg Catholic
Scoop: The Warriors rebounded from a loss to Seffner Christian in the opener to beat Dixie Hollins 61-40. This week, Calvary Christian plays three Class 3A, District 8 games in a span of four days. Paxton Wilson is averaging 23 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
18. Countryside (3-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs
Scoop: The Cougars got a big 51-49 win against Class 7A, District 10 rival Seminole last week. Countryside’s only loss is to area power St. Petersburg. Braxton Hampton is off to strong start, averaging 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds.
19. Zephyrhills (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Hudson; Friday vs. Pasco
Scoop: Thanks to some strong defensive play down the stretch, the Bulldogs were able to hold off Class 5A, District 8 rival Wesley Chapel for a 38-37 win last week to remain undefeated. Jeremy Oppenheimer is averaging 20.7 points, as well as 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 steals.
20. Nature Coast (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Crystal River; Friday vs. Central
Scoop: The Sharks have coasted through the first two weeks, winning each game by at least nine points. Things get a lot tougher Friday with a matchup against undefeated Central for first place in Class 5A, District 7.
21. Brooks DeBartolo (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Elevation Academy; Thursday at Clearwater Central Catholic; Saturday at Jesuit
Scoop: A two-game win streak was snapped with a loss to Class 4A, District 7 rival Tampa Catholic. Another district game looms against CCC on Thursday, as well as a matchup against private school power Jesuit on Saturday.
22. Bloomingdale (5-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. East Bay; Wednesday at Strawberry Crest; Friday at Durant
Scoop: The Bulls beat host Mitchell 66-46 and Gulf 67-25 at a Thanksgiving shootout to remain undefeated. Four of Bloomingdale’s first five wins have been decided by 20 or more points.
23. Central (6-0)
This week: Tuesday at Lecanto; Friday at Nature Coast
Scoop: The Bears got past one Hernando County rival with a 74-47 win over Springstead on Monday. Now comes another county rival, Nature Coast on Friday. Brandyn Smith is averaging 11 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Bears. .
24. East Lake (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park; Friday at Seminole
Scoop: Since losing its opener to Clearwater Central Catholic, the Eagles have won two straight to climb above .500. The biggest game this week is against Class 7A, District 10 rival Seminole on Friday. Breon Hillmon is averaging a team-high 19 points per game.
25. Lakewood (2-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Bradenton Southeast; Friday at Gibbs
Scoop: The Spartans did not have too much time to dwell on last week’s loss to West Oaks, especially with big Class 5A, District 11 games this week against Southeast and Gibbs.
On the bubble: Hernando (3-0), Northeast (1-4), Admiral Farragut (1-0).