HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings
1. Jesuit (18-2)
This week: Wednesday vs. Spoto; Friday vs. Robinson; Saturday at Calvary Christian
Scoop: It was another strong week for the Tigers, who won all three games, the biggest coming against Largo at Seminole’s Keith MacCollom Shootout. Jesuit has not allowed an opponent to score more than 56 points in the past seven games. Stevie Darst is the only Tiger averaging double figures in scoring at 15 points per game. Wins this week against Spoto and Robinson would wrap up the top seed in the Class 5A, District 9 tournament.
2. Tampa Catholic (18-2)
This week: Wednesday vs. Berkeley Prep; Friday vs. Oldsmar Christian (at Berkeley Prep’s ARS HoopFest); Saturday vs. Germantown, Tenn. (at Berkeley Prep’s ARS HoopFest).
Scoop: The Crusaders rebounded from last week’s loss to rival Jesuit by winning each of their two district games by at least 35 points to clinch the top seed in the Class 4A-9 tournament. Kevin Knox (29.7 points per game) and Thomas Dziagwa (23.1) still are the top two scorers in the area. This week, Tampa Catholic has some big games with district rival Berkeley Prep and a game against nationally-ranked Oldsmar Christian.
3. Sickles (20-2)
This week: Friday at Chamberlain
Scoop: Since losing to Lakeland on Jan. 2, the Gryphons have won five straight, all by 15 points or more. Last week’s win against Wiregrass Ranch clinched the top seed in the Class 7A, District 8 tournament. It’s an easy two weeks with Sickles only having three games left on the regular-season schedule, including just one this week.
4. Gibbs (19-2)
This week: Tuesday at Lakewood; Friday vs. St. Petersburg
Scoop: Three wins last week got the Gladiators back on track after a lopsided loss to Freedom two weeks ago. Marquez Walls (19.7 points per game) and DJ Johnson (11.3) are coming through on offense with the absence of David Pierce, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Gibbs can clinch the top seed in the Class 5A-11 tournament with a win against rival Lakewood and wrap up a spot in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game with a win against rival St. Petersburg.
5. Wharton (17-4)
This week: Wednesday vs. Chamberlain
Scoop: The Wildcats have won four straight since losing to Sickles two weeks ago. District play is finished, with Wharton claiming the No. 2 seed in Class 7A-8. The tournaments also are over. Next week comes a test against Alonso.
6. St. Petersburg (14-6)
This week: Tuesday vs. Seminole; Friday at Gibbs
Scoop: The Green Devils wrapped up the top seed in Class 7A-10 with a win against East Lake and got past neighboring rival Lakewood. The only blemish on the week came in a one-point loss to Wellington at the Wally Keller Classic. St. Petersburg’s six losses have all come against non-area teams. Friday’s game against Gibbs will determine the South representative in the PCAC game.
7. Seffner Christian (11-5)
This week: Tuesday at Tampa Prep; Thursday vs. Bishop McLaughlin; Friday vs. The Rock (at Buchholz Shootout); Saturday vs. Jacksonville Bishop Kenney (at Buchholz Shootout).
Scoop: After weeks of slugging it out in tournaments against top-notch teams around the state, the Crusaders got a bit of a reprieve with three double-digit wins against Class 3A-7 opponents. The game vs. Tampa Prep will determine the top seed in the district. Reid Walker (13.5 points per game) and Derek Webster (12.6) are the top scorers for the Crusaders.
8. Freedom (15-4)
This week: Wednesday vs. Durant; Friday at Armwood
Scoop: The Patriots extended their win streak to seven games, the last six all by three points or more. The most impressive win last week came against state powerhouse Winter Park. District play is finished and Freedom ended up as the No. 3 seed in Class 7A-8 behind Sickles and Wharton.
9. Brooks DeBartolo (17-5)
This week: Wednesday at IMG Academy; Friday at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney
Scoop: The Phoenix have won eight of its past nine games, the lone loss coming against Tampa Catholic earlier this month. A regular-season sweep of Berkeley Prep vaulted Brooks DeBartolo into the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A-9 tournament. The Phoenix has won its past four games by double digits. Brooks closes out the district schedule Friday against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.
10. Alonso (15-4)
This week: Wednesday at Gaither; Friday at Leto
Scoop: The Ravens have already clinched the No. 2 seed in Class 8A-6 – and a coveted bye in the opening round of the tournament. Last week, they were able to take it easy with no games scheduled. The toughest games left on the sched come next week against Hillsborough County powers Sickles and Wharton, which should help Alonso get ready for the postseason.
11. Bloomingdale (16-3)
This week: Wednesday at Newsome; Friday at Plant City
Scoop: The win against Lennard last week sealed the top seed in the Class 7A-9 tournament. Drew Bethoney continues to lead the team in scoring with 16.8 points per game. The Bulls have an intriguing matchup against neighboring rival Newsome on Wednesday.
12 Clearwater (15-4)
This week: Tuesday at Dixie Hollins; Thursday vs. Northeast; Friday at Countryside
Scoop: A loss to Wharton ended the Tornadoes’ five-game win streak. Still, Clearwater is on top of the Class 6A-9 standings and needs wins this week against Dixie Hollins and Northeast to clinch the top seed in the tournament. Tornadoes coach Tom Shaneyfelt needs one more win to reach 700 in his career. Yukari McAfee had a monster game against Largo last week with 26 points.
13. Berkeley Prep (13-6)
This week: Wednesday at Tampa Catholic; Friday vs. Germantown, Tenn. (ARS Hoop Fest); Saturday vs. Southwind, Tenn. (ARS Hoop Fest).
Scoop: Last week was the toughest one of the season for the Buccaneers, who lost three straight, two against Class 4A, District 9 foes that dropped them from second to third place in the standings. Kaleeyl Findlay still is playing strong, averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
14. Calvary Christian (14-6)
This week: Today at St. Petersburg Catholic; Thursday vs. Saint Stephen’s; Saturday vs. Jesuit
Scoop: The Warriors have won four straight against Class 3A-8 foes to stay tied with Shorecrest for first place. Paxton Wilson is averaging a team-high 19.5 points and recently reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
15. Shorecrest (13-8)
This week: Thursday at Indian Rocks Christian; Friday at Northside Christian
Scoop: Last week was perhaps the Chargers’ best one of the season with four victories, including three against Class 3A-8 opponents to remain in a tie for first place with Calvary Christian. There also was a momentum-boosting win against Berkeley Prep.
16. Tampa Prep (13-6)
This week: Tuesday vs. Seffner Christian; Friday vs. Southwind, Tenn. (at Berkeley Prep’s ARS Hoop Fest); Saturday vs. Montverde (at Berkeley Prep’s ARS Hoop Fest)
Scoop: The Terrapins went 2-1 last week, the lone loss coming against Miami Country Day at the Wally Keller Classic. The biggest is against Seffner Christian for first place in Class 3A-7. Tampa Prep lost the first meeting, the first loss ever to the Crusaders, and are looking to exact revenge.
17. East Lake (12-6)
This week: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University; Friday vs. Largo; Saturday vs. Land O’Lakes (at Wiregrass Ranch’s Ulrich Classic)
Scoop: At the beginning of last week, the Eagles were playing for first place in the Class 7A-10 standings. But losses to St. Petersburg and Countryside have made things a bit tighter for East Lake to hold on to the No. 2 seed. A win against Palm Harbor University will give the Eagles the second seed and a bye.
18. Largo (12-6)
This week: Tuesday vs. Boca Ciega (at Clearwater); Friday at East Lake
Scoop: The Packers are in a funk with losses in five of their past six games after an 11-1 start. Largo needs a win against Boca Ciega to stay in contention for the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A, District 9 tournament.
19. Zephyrhills (15-4)
This week: Tuesday at Sunlake; Friday at Gulf
Scoop: The Bulldogs have won five straight, the last two each two-point wins against Class 5A-8 rivals River Ridge and Pasco that clinched the top seed in the tournament. Jeremy Oppenheimer leads the team in scoring at 20.4 points per game.
20. Mitchell (12-5)
This week: Tuesday at Wiregrass; Wednesday at Academy at the Lakes; Saturday vs. Countryside at Wiregrass Ranch’s Ulrich Classic).
Scoop: January has not been a good month for the Mustangs, who have lost three of their past five after starting 10-2. Their latest loss was by double digits to Anclote in a non-district game. Mitchell still is tied for first place in Class 6A-8. JJ Lewis leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game.
21. Countryside (14-7)
This week: Thursday at Palm Harbor University; Friday vs. Clearwater; Saturday vs. Mitchell (at Wiregrass Ranch’s Ulrich Classic).
Scoop: After losing two district games last week, the Cougars rebounded with wins against Dunedin and East Lake last week. The win against the Eagles moved Countryside into third place in the Class 7A-10 standings. Braxton Hampton is averaging a team-high 12.8 points and 9.5 rebounds.
22. Northeast (11-9)
This week: Tuesday vs. Osceola; Wednesday vs. IMG Academy; Friday at Clearwater
Scoop: A loss to Boca Ciega last week ended the Vikings’ four-game win streak and prevented them from clinching the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A-9 tournament. Northeast can still get the second seed with wins against Osceola and Clearwater along with some help. Jordan Kabamba leads the team in scoring (13.1) and rebounds (9.1).
23. Lakewood (9-7)
This week: Tuesday vs. Gibbs; Friday at Bradenton Southeast
Scoop: The loss last week against neighboring rival St. Petersburg hurt, but it was a non-district game. This week’s games are more important. Wins against rival Gibbs and Bradenton Southeast will give the Spartans the second seed and a bye in the Class 5A-11 tournament.
24. Brandon (13-7)
This week: Wednesday vs. Lennard; Friday at Wiregrass Ranch
Scoop: The Eagles extended their win streak to four with a big win against rival Armwood. But it will not be enough to catch the Hawks for the second seed in the Class 6A-7 tournament. Stephonse Mack is averaging a team-high 15.7 points per game.
25. Armwood (14-5)
This week: Tuesday vs. Blake; Wednesday at East Bay; Friday vs. Freedom
Scoop: The Eagles have gone 7-2 in their past nine games and need a win against Blake to secure the second seed in the Class 6A-7 tournament. Shomari King is averaging 8.1 points and 6.6 rebounds.
On the bubble: Wesley Chapel (16-5), Land O’Lakes (10-6), Nature Coast (13-5), East Bay (13-8), Tampa Bay Tech (11-6), Hillsborough (10-8).