HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings, Week 2
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)
This week: Tuesday vs. Shorecrest, Thursday vs. Indian Rocks Christian, Friday-Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout.
Scoop: The Warriors had two quality wins to start the season over Countryside and Spruce Creek. The top three players, Niaya White, Savannah Plentovich and Carley Plentovich, each signed with colleges last week. With that out of the way, the focus shifts to winning a state championship and the Warriors are certainly off to a good start.
4. Tampa Catholic (1-1)
This week: Tuesday at Berkeley Prep, Thursday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, Friday vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney
Scoop: Brooks DeBartolo has arguably the best collection of talent on one team in Hillsborough County after a string of transfers this offseason, but the Crusaders beat the Phoenix 56-45 in the season opener last week, a good start in 4A-9 play. As expected, Mia Blocker and Alise Davis are leading the charge. Davis is averaging 10 rebounds per game, while Blocker is putting up 18 points and 7.7 assists.
5. Brooks DeBartolo (2-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, Friday-Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout
Scoop: The Phoenix fell to Tampa Catholic, but rebounded quickly with a big win against Academy at the Lakes three days later, a game in which Don’Niya Brooks put up 23 points. Brooks DeBartolo will have the chance to make up some ground in 4A-9 play against a 3-0 Cardinal Mooney team this week.
6. Clearwater (2-0)
This week: Monday at Sunlake, Tuesday vs. Northeast, Thursday at Osceola
Scoop: The Tornadoes may be one of the most improved teams this season. Cheyenne Williamson, Alex Hannah, Misha O’Neal, Adriana West and Alleyah Williams are a strong starting five. They started the season with blowout wins over Tarpon Springs and Dixie Hollins. This should be a tougher week.
7. Academy at the Lakes (0-1)
This week: Monday vs. Palmetto, Wednesday at Universal Academy, Thursday at Land O’Lakes
Scoop: A three-game week against some good opponents will provide an indication of where this team is. Head coach Karim Nohra said his team has not practiced together much due to volleyball season and injuries, so it may take a while before the Wildcats get on track.
8. Freedom (1-0)
This week: Wednesday at Leto, Friday vs. Sickles
Scoop: The Patriots only had one game last week, beating Spoto (0-2) 47-42. That’s not the kind of offensive production Freedom has been used to lately, but Friday’s district game against Sickles will be Freedom’s first big test of the season.
9. Wiregrass Ranch (1-1)
This week: Wednesday vs. Wharton, Thursday vs. Mitchell, Friday at Leto
Scoop: The lone loss was to Seffner Christian, and it was only by two points. The Bulls bounced back with a big win over Sunlake. Senior Trakyra Kidd and junior Stephanie Brower have done most of the scoring, but the Bulls are a well-rounded team that will be a pain for opponents all winter.
10. Plant (2-0)
This week: Monday vs. Newsome, Wednesday at Gaither, Friday vs. Wharton
Scoop: Plant won its first two games of the season handily, beating Plant City by 11 points and King by 39 thanks to strong performances from senior Deja Turner and junior Payton Paro. The Panthers will have their first shot at district opponents this week against Gaither and Wharton,
11. Sickles (3-0)
This week: Monday vs. Jefferson, Wednesday at Steinbrenner, Friday at Freedom
Scoop: The Gryphons started the season on a good foot last week, winning three games by an average of 25.6 points. Sophomore stud Ashley Sieper averaged a double double in those games, putting up 13 points and 10 rebounds.
12. Palm Harbor University (3-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Seminole, Friday vs. East Lake
Scoop: The Hurricanes lost to a very good Bradenton Southeast team in the preseason, but came back with three straight wins to start the regular season. Junior guard Julia Ingram is off to a hot start, with 22 points per game. Sophomore Kayli Houmard and newcomer Kiana Chew are also reliable scorers.
13. Strawberry Crest (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Wharton, Wednesday vs. Tampa Bay Tech, Friday at Lennard
Scoop: The Chargers seemed to have picked up where they left off a year ago, winning their first three games by an average of 35 points. Senior Terra Brooks averaged a double double (11.7 points, 11.7 rebounds) and junior Briana Matthews averaged 16 points per game, a big jump from the 9.2 points per game she averaged in the 2014-15 season.
14. Land O’Lakes (2-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Lecanto, Thursday vs. Academy at the Lakes
Scoop: The question for the Gators was how would they play after the graduation of top scorer Jhade Hayes. So far, so good. Center Gabby Mills looks much improved and fellow senior Makala Canada picked up where she left off last season. Thursday’s game against Academy at the Lakes will be the first real test.
15. Northeast (2-1)
This week: Tuesday at Clearwater, Thursday at Boca Ciega, Friday vs. Tampa Prep
Scoop: The Vikings opened the season against Lakewood and hung in there before losing. Granted, the Spartans lost top player Siyana Allen to injury in that game, but Northeast still proved it will be pesky all season. Senior Madison Schmidt is a versatile player and there appears to be enough depth to make the Vikings a playoff contender.
16. Academy of the Holy Names (2-0)
This week: Wednesday at Sarasota Military Academy
Scoop: With the help of Lindsey Perez and Domenica Howard each scoring in double figures, the Jaguars started their season with two double-digit wins against Tampa Prep and Clearwater Central Catholic. That 1-0 start in district play will come in handy, as Holy Names has tough opponents in Tampa Catholic and Brooks DeBartolo with which to contend.
17. Bishop McLaughlin (2-0)
This week: Monday vs. Hudson, Tuesday vs. Cambridge Christian, Friday at Lakeland Christian
Scoop: The Hurricanes are off and running. Juniors Dominique Guinn and Alexa Rodriguez and senior Brielle Downing are a difficult trio to contend with.
18. Osceola (2-0)
This week: Monday vs. Countryside, Thursday vs. Clearwater, Friday at Largo
Scoop: Sophomore guard Madison Vaughn is a good shooter who should pick up the scoring slack for the Warriors this season. Countryside and Clearwater will certainly be difficult opponents, but Osceola is sure to be competitive all season.
19. Newsome (2-0)
This week: Monday at Plant, Friday at Alonso
Scoop: The Wolves break into the rankings this week after beating Spoto and Armwood. They may be a low-scoring team, but sophomore Tory Self — who led Newsome in scoring last year as a freshman — has continued that role, putting up 11 points and six steals against the Spartans.
20. Armwood (1-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Lennard, Friday at Chamberlain
Scoop: The Hawks, who are looking for new leaders after losing their two leading scorers to Brooks DeBartolo, fell in their season opener but rebounded nicely in a 56-17 win against Jefferson. Senior Alexsia Brown, last year’s third-leading scorer, has stepped up early, scoring 12 points in the loss to Newsome.
21. Indian Rocks Christian (1-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Northside Christian, Thursday at Calvary Christian, Saturday vs. Daytona Beach Father Lopez
Scoop: The Golden Eagles have two district games this week, the toughest of which will be at Calvary Christian. They will need top players Autumn Frost, Kyra Champaign and Casey Bonsall in that game. Calvary has been a thorn in IRC’s side for several seasons.
22. Tampa Bay Tech (1-0)
This week: Tuesday at Spoto, Wednesday at Strawberry Crest, Friday vs. Bloomingdale
Scoop: The Titans won their only game last week, a down-to-the-wire 36-35 finish against Steinbrenner. They’ll be tested big time this week against district rival Strawberry Crest, which has won each of the past two district titles.
23. Springstead (3-0)
This week: Friday vs. Nature Coast
Scoop: The Eagles are off to an impressive start, with wins over Weeki Wachee, Anclote and Hernando. A couple of light weeks means the Eagles might not get tested again until a Dec. 8 game against Land O’Lakes.
24. Steinbrenner (1-2)
This week: Tuesday at Chamberlain, Wednesday vs. Sickles, Thursday at Gaither
Scoop: Steinbrenner does have a losing record, but the Warriors lost two of those games by one point. On a team that lost a lot of players and a coach during the offseason, junior Madeline Deneen has stepped up early, averaging 11.5 points.
25. Plant City (0-1)
This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale, Thursday vs. East Bay
Scoop: Plant City lost three pieces of its strong 2014-15 team during the offseason, and the Raiders fell in their season opener against Plant. Still, with Lacey Hargrove — who averaged nearly 11 points per game last year — returning, the Raiders stand a chance to have a decent season.
On the cusp: Countryside, Newsome, St. Petersburg, Alonso, Nature Coast, Seminole