HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings
1. Calvary Christian (13-3)
This week: Thursday vs. Brooks DeBartolo, Friday at Northside Christian
Scoop: The Warriors played very well in the Florida Prospects tournament in Orlando during the winter break. They lost to Palm Beach Gardens, which has 13 wins so far, by just two points. They also defeated Lakewood a second straight time and beat Leesburg 41-40. Calvary Christian likely gained confidence in Orlando and looks ready for the stretch run.
2. Seffner Christian (13-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Bishop McLaughlin, Thursday at Tampa Prep, Friday vs. Boca Raton
Scoop: The Crusaders went 4-1 during the break, dropping their only game against Orlando Colonial, the fifth-ranked team in the state. Chelsie Hall stepped up big for Seffner Christian during the Florida Prospects Tournament, putting up 76 points in three games.
3. Clearwater (13-2)
This week: Thursday vs. Osceola, Friday at East Lake
Scoop: The Tornadoes won the IRC Holiday tournament by defeating host Indian Rocks Christian 46-34. That avenged a Dec. 18 loss to the Golden Eagles and extended their win streak to three games. Clearwater continues to get balanced scoring from Alex Hannah, Cheyanne Williamson, Adriana West, Alleyah Williams and Carrie Lee.
4. Academy at the Lakes (13-2)
This week: Wednesday vs. Bishop McLaughlin, Thursday vs. Universal Academy, Saturday vs. Academy of the Holy Names
Scoop: The Wildcats have won seven straight, including a two-point win over Plant in the final of the Holy Names tournament. Audra Leipold is up to 23.3 points per game. Imani Thomas is second on the team with 13.6 ppg. The Wildcats may be one of the hottest teams in the area.
5. Wiregrass Ranch (17-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant, Wednesday at Freedom, Friday vs. Steinbrenner
Scoop: The Bulls were riding a 15-game win streak until falling to Palm Beach Gardens in overtime, 50-49. Trakyra Kidd is averaging 15.7 points and 4.8 steals, and Stephanie Brower is contributing 10.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
6. Strawberry Crest (16-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant City, Thursday at Bloomingdale, Friday vs. East Bay
Scoop: The Chargers are the only remaining undefeated team in the Tampa Bay area. They took a break from competition during the holidays but return to action against three district teams this week. Ayanna Matthews, Briana Matthews and Terra Brooks are all averaging double-digit points per game, and Brooks is also adds 9.1 rebounds per contest.
7. Palm Harbor University (13-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park, Thursday vs. Lakewood Ranch, Friday at St. Petersburg
Scoop: PHU took the break off, so it should be rested for the final stretch. There isn’t much heavy lifting this week. The Hurricanes are in control in Class 7A, District 10 and seem to be getting better since their last loss to undefeated Strawberry Crest on Dec. 12.
8. Lakewood (12-5)
This week: Thursday vs. Bradenton Southeast, Friday at Osceola
Scoop: The Spartans ran into a tough Seminole Sanford team at the Florida Prospects tournament last week. They also lost a rematch against Calvary Christian. After a few days off, Lakewood gets back to district play and hopes to snap a two-game losing streak.
9. Plant (14-3)
This week: Tuesday at Wiregrass Ranch, Wednesday vs. Sickles, Friday vs. Freedom
Scoop: The Panthers saw some good competition in the Holy Names tournament, defeating the Jaguars and McKeel Academy before falling to Academy at the Lakes 62-60. Deja Turner had 39 points in the two tournament wins, and she leads the Panthers in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game.
10. Brooks DeBartolo (15-4)
This week: Tuesday at Academy of the Holy Names, Thursday at Calvary Christian
Scoop: The Phoenix dropped a close game to Apopka Wekiva in the Florida Prospects Tournament, but it still has a stranglehold on the top spot in Class 4A-9. Brooks can cement that further this week with a game against Holy Names, a team Brooks DeBartolo beat once already, 51-35.
11. Tampa Catholic (12-7)
This week: Thursday vs. Academy of the Holy Names
Scoop: The Crusaders lost a couple close games during the break to Jacksonville University Christian and Cincinnati Mother of Mercy, but playing a wide range of competition could help Tampa Catholic come postseason tournament time. Alise Davis is still averaging a double- double for the Crusaders, and Mia Blocker leads the way in scoring with 17.1 points and 5.6 assists.
12. Sickles (11-9)
This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton, Wednesday at Plant, Friday vs. Gaither
Scoop: The Gryphons have struggled lately, dropping four of their past six games. Still, Sickles has seen strong competition in Academy at the Lakes and Holy Names, and it beat a solid Land O’Lakes squad in overtime on Dec. 28.
13. Academy of the Holy Names (10-6)
This week: Tuesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo, Thursday at Tampa Catholic, Saturday at Academy at the Lakes
Scoop: It seems as if it’ll be a race to the top in Class 4A-9 between Brooks DeBartolo, Tampa Catholic and the Jaguars, and Holy Names can get a head start on that competition with a win against the Phoenix this week. Lindsey Perez leads the way, averaging 10.8 points per game.
14. Indian Rocks Christian (12-5)
This week: Tuesday vs. Largo, Thursday at Sarasota Christian
Scoop: The Golden Eagles advanced to the final of their own tournament before losing to Clearwater. Senior Autumn Frost is carrying the load with 17 points per game. Kyra Champagne (9.5 ppg) and Cassie Bonsall (8.3 ppg) have also been key contributors.
15. Land O’Lakes (10-6)
This week: Tuesday at Gulf, Friday at Mitchell
Scoop: The Gators had a tough overtime loss to Sickles in the AHN tournament and followed that with a big loss to Wharton. A key district game awaits Friday, and the Gators have to start playing better in order to get back to the playoffs.
16. Steinbrenner (10-6)
This week: Tuesday at Leto, Wednesday vs. Wharton, Friday at Wiregrass Ranch
Scoop: The Warriors’ offense still hasn’t taken off — they haven’t scored more than 50 points in any game this season — but strong defense has always been the name of the game at Steinbrenner. The Warriors are giving up fewer than 30 points per game, on average.
17. Newsome (10-5)
This week: Tuesday at Sarasota Riverview, Thursday at Jefferson, Friday vs. Riverview
Scoop: The Wolves were strong over the break, winning three of their four games and playing Academy at the Lakes close in a 37-32 loss. Newsome and Sarasota Riverview are in contention for the top spot in the district, so a win against the Rams on Tuesday would put the Wolves in a good spot.
18. Middleton (10-4)
This week: Tuesday at Spoto, Wednesday vs. Hillsborough, Friday vs. Robinson
Scoop: Sarah Moore is still one of the top-producing players in the county, putting up 18.9 points and 16.2 rebounds per game. The Tigers have won four of their past five games, falling only to Armwood by eight points.
19. Durant (10-2)
This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale, Wednesday vs. Tampa Bay Tech, Thursday vs. King, Friday at Lennard
Scoop: The Cougars have a tough week ahead, playing four consecutive games. Four Durant players are averaging double-digit points per game with Tamara Hanson (13.8 points, 11.3 rebounds) leading the way.
20. Bishop McLaughlin (9-5)
This week: Tuesday at Seffner Christian, Wednesday at Academy at the Lakes, Friday at Carrollwood Day
Scoop: After two big losses to Fernandina Beach and Academy of th Holy Names to end 2015, it doesn’t get any easier for the Hurricanes after the break. Consecutive games against top-notch teams mean Bishop McLaughlin must be at its best to snap its losing skid.
21. Cambridge Christian (9-4)
This week: Tuesday vs. Northside Christian, Friday vs. Sarasota Military Academy
Scoop: The Lancers are holding their own in Class 3A-7, and games against Seffner Christian and Tampa Prep next week could help secure a good district tournament seed. Until then, Cambridge faces a tough Sarasota Military team in hopes of its first 10-win season since 2011.
22. Springstead (11-4)
This week: Friday at Sunlake
Scoop: The Eagles started playing well prior to Christmas. They lost in overtime to Gainesville Oak Hall but bounced back with wins over Zephyrhills and South Sumter. Now comes another long break in the final weeks leading up to the district tournament.
23. Northeast (12-6)
This week: Thursday vs. Boca Ciega
Scoop: The Vikings had a head-scratching loss to Keswick Christian in the Keswick tournament last week. They did rebound with a win over East Lake, but must play betterto make any noise in the postseason.
24. Plant City (7-3)
This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest, Thursday vs. Armwood, Friday at Tampa Bay Tech
Scoop: Freshman Constance Thomas has provided a solid spark for the Raiders, averaging a team-high 13.3 points. With Plant City alone at the top of the 7A-9 standings, the Raiders need to pass second-place Durant, and two district games can help them do that.
25. Osceola (7-4)
This week: Thursday at Clearwater, Friday vs. Lakewood
Scoop: The Warriors took the break off and have two tough opponents this week. They must start quickly against two teams that are coming off holiday tournament action.
On the cusp: Mitchell (10-7), Countryside (9-6), Weeki Wachee (9-7), Boca Ciega (6-4), Armwood (6-3), Freedom (6-9)