HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings
1. Seffner Christian (17-2)
This week: Tuesday at Carrollwood Day, Thursday at Bishop McLaughlin, Saturday vs. Cambridge Christian
Scoop: The Crusaders were challenged by Boca Raton — which outscored Seffner Christian in the last three quarters — last week in the Flagler Palm Coast High School Tournament, but their 27 first-quarter points were enough to lead them to a 65-58 victory. Junior guard Chelsie Hall is still leading the way, averaging 20.9 points per game.
2. Academy at the Lakes (17-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Merritt Island Christian
Scoop: The Wildcats have lost just two games this season, both to Brooks DeBartolo. They have won 11 straight, mainly thanks to the duo of Audra Leipold and Imani Thomas. AATL has a light week before playing three games next week.
3. Clearwater (16-2)
This week: Tuesday at Boca Ciega, Wednesday at Dunedin, Thursday vs. Largo
Scoop: The Tornadoes have won six straight and don’t seem to be too challenged this week. Clearwater continues to get balanced scoring from Alex Hannah, Cheyanne Williamson, Alleyah Williams and Carrie Lee. The frantic up-tempo offense has proven to be the right formula so far.
4. Wiregrass Ranch (20-2)
This week: Thursday at Tampa Catholic, Friday vs. Sickles
Scoop: The Bulls are in one of the tougher districts around, yet they still boast a 13-0 record in Class 7A-8 play. Wiregrass Ranch has Trakyra Kidd — the senior point guard who’s averaging 16.1 points per game — to thank for that.
5. Strawberry Crest (19-0)
This week: No games scheduled
Scoop: The Chargers are just one game from an undefeated regular season, and they’ll play the Terriers for that milestone on Jan. 20.
6. Calvary Christian (14-3)
This week: Friday vs. Admiral Farragut, Saturday at Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
Scoop: The Warriors have been playing without guard Savannah Plentovich (concussion symptoms) since the winter break. Calvary Christian, which hopes to get her back soon, has lost two of five games without her. This weekend at the MLK Showcase in south Florida will provide another tough test.
7. Palm Harbor University (15-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Countryside, Wednesday at Boca Ciega, Thursday at East Lake
Scoop: The Hurricanes bounced back from a loss to Lakewood Ranch by defeating St. Petersburg. Julia Ingram leads the way with 21.5 points per game. Kiana Chew is also in doubles figures with 10.3. The Hurricanes are averaging nearly 60 points per game, which makes them dangerous come playoff time.
8. Brooks DeBartolo (17-4)
This week: Monday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, Wednesday vs. Berkeley Prep, Friday vs. Sarasota Military Academy
Scoop: The Phoenix have won 12 of their past 13 games behind standout performances from Alyssa Nieves and Don’Niya Brooks, who are both averaging double-digit points. Brooks DeBartolo has a two-game lead on its Class 4A-9 district foes.
9. Plant (15-5)
This week: Friday at Leto
Scoop: Plant struggled last week, dropping two district games to Wiregrass Ranch and Freedom. The Panthers, though, are still two games in front of Steinbrenner for second place in Class 7A-8 with just two district matchups left.
10. Lakewood (13-6)
This week: Tuesday vs. Bradenton Bayshore, Saturday vs. Oldsmar Christian
Scoop: With a win over Bayshore on Tuesday, Lakewood could solidify the No. 2 seed in Class 5A, District 11 behind Bradenton Southeast. Lakewood has struggled lately, with four losses in five games. This week should get the Spartans back on the winning track.
11. Indian Rocks Christian (14-5)
This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg Catholic, Friday vs. Bradenton St. Stephen’s
Scoop: The Golden Eagles have started 2016 with a bang, winning both games in the new year by 41 and 39 points, respectively. It could be more of the same this week. Autumn Frost continues to shine, with 16.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
12. Academy of the Holy Names (11-8)
This week: Tuesday vs. Berkeley Prep, Wednesday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, Friday vs. Cardinal Mooney
Scoop: The Jaguars have a good shot at getting the No. 2 seed in the district tournament later this month, and their balanced offense — led by Lindsey Perez (11.6 ppg), Megan Bajo (8.8 ppg) and Domenica Howard (8.3 ppg) — gives AHN as good a chance as any to be playoff bound for the fifth straight season.
13. Tampa Catholic (12-7)
This week: Thursday vs. Wiregrass Ranch, Saturday vs. National Christian Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Scoop: The Crusaders have experienced some growing pains after the season-ending injury of point guard Mia Blocker, and they lost their second game of the season to Holy Names last week. After the Phoenix, it will likely be a fight between the Jaguars and Crusaders for the second playoff spot in the district.
14. Durant (12-3)
This week: Friday vs. Plant City
Scoop: After winning 10 of its first 11 games, Durant has lost two of its past five matchups. A win against the Raiders would ensure the Cougars end their season on a high note with a No. 2 district tournament seed.
15. Steinbrenner (11-8)
This week: Friday vs. Freedom, Saturday at Plant
Scoop: The Warriors lost a pair of close games last week, but their defense could still give them a shot when it comes time for tournament play. Steinbrenner has given up more than 50 points in a game just three times this season.
16. Sickles (13-10)
This week: Friday at Wiregrass Ranch
Scoop: The Gryphons have held their own in a large, tough district, and sophomore Ashley Sieper (13.6 points, 11.0 rebounds) is one of just a handful of players in Hillsborough County to be averaging a double double.
17. Newsome (13-5)
This week: Friday at Manatee
Scoop: The Wolves have won six of their past seven games, and they haven’t dropped a district matchup since a Dec. 4 loss to Sarasota Riverview. Newsome has just one district game left and is already a game ahead in first place in Class 8A-6.
18. Armwood (10-3)
This week: Friday vs. Brandon
Scoop: With Hillsborough down this year, the Hawks have had an easier path to the top of the district standings. The only team standing in Armwood’s way of the No. 1 seed is a Brandon team it lost to earlier in the season. The Hawks will have a chance to reverse that outcome this week.
19. Middleton (11-6)
This week: No games scheduled
Scoop: The Tigers are done with their district slate and will round out the regular season next week with games against Leto and Durant.
20. Land O’Lakes (11-7)
This week: Tuesday vs. Springstead, Friday at Sunlake
Scoop: The Gators are trying to rebound from a two-point loss to Mitchell. Scoring has been a problem all season. They average just 34.3 points per game. Makala Canada (11.5 ppg) and Gabby Mills (10.5) are the only players in double figures.
21. Bishop McLaughlin (10-7)
This week: Tuesday vs. Tampa Prep, Thursday vs. Seffner Christian, Friday vs. Bell Creek Academy
Scoop: The Hurricanes lost big last week to Academy at the Lakes, but bounced back by beating Carrollwood Day. Brielle Downing is the go-to player with 13.6 points per game. Alexa Rodriguez averages 9.4 points.
22. Cambridge Christian (11-4)
This week: Tuesday at Bayshore Christian, Thursday vs. Tampa Prep, Saturday at Seffner Christian
Scoop: The Lancers have a busy last two weeks of the regular season, which include two final district games against the Terrapins and Crusaders — both of whom are ahead of Cambridge Christian in the 3A-7 standings. A strong week from the Lancers could go a long way in terms of seeding for the district tournament.
23. Springstead (11-5)
This week: Tuesday at Land O’Lakes, Wednesday vs. Hudson, Friday vs. Mitchell
Scoop: Not an easy week for the Eagles, who are trying to get back on track after losing to Sunlake. The Land O’Lakes and Mitchell games are important for seedings in Class 6A, District 8. Every team in the four-team district has a 2-2 district record.
24. Northeast (13-6)
This week: Monday at Largo, Thursday at Dixie Hollins, Friday vs. Osceola
Scoop: The Vikings started the new year with a 30-point win over Boca Ciega. This week shouldn’t be too taxing. The Vikings have five players who average more than five points per game, but no player averages in double figures. Northeast has been winning thanks to its depth.
25. Countryside (12-6)
This week: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University, Thursday vs. Pinellas Park
Scoop: The Cougars have won five straight but will be tested at PHU. November Morton leads the Cougars with 15.3 points per game. Zena Elias has chipped in with 10.8 rebounds per game.
On the cusp: Osceola (7-5), Mitchell (11-8), Weeki Wachee (10-8), Plant City (9-6), Freedom (8-10)