MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Although the basketball season continues over the next few days with boys state championships in Lakeland, the North Suncoast’s year is already over. We’ll announce our all-area honors next month. In the meantime, here’s a look back at some of the other notable players, teams and moments from the 2012-13 season:
Academy at the Lakes girls: It’s hard to argue with the Class 2A state runnerup. Andrea Mauger, Tatiana Manuel and the rest of the Wildcats won their first four playoff games by an average of 41 points each and were 26-2 before losing to powerhouse FAMU High in the state title game. Coach Karim Nohra loves rebuilding challenges — and he’ll get another one after AATL graduates its four top players, including Mauger and Manuel.
Carlos Clemente, Nature Coast: The move-in from Puerto Rico emerged as the Sharks’ No. 2 scorer behind Rohan Blackwood and gave NCT the outside threat it needed in its run to the Class 5A region semifinals. Clemente scored 19 points in the playoff opener and 21 in the district title game.
Mitchell boys vs. Winter Haven: Winter Haven blew out the Mustangs last winter with a running-clock 71-29 road loss in the Class 6A region quarterfinals. But Mitchell’s improvements were obvious in this year’s second round. The Mustangs had a chance to win but missed a 30-footer at the buzzer in a 74-73 defeat. That Winter Haven team edged Largo in the next round and faces Pensacola Pine Forest in Thursday’s state semifinal.
Best female performance
Kayla Kivinski, Gulf: The reigning all-North Suncoast player of the year scored a school-record 49 points and tallied a triple double in an overtime win over Wiregrass Ranch. Kivinski broke her own career high of 37 points, which she set in a season-opening win vs. Mitchell.
Best male performance
Erik Thomas, Wesley Chapel: You can pick practically any performance from Tampa Bay’s most prolific player. The nod here goes to this gem in a December victory over Ridgewood: 35 points, 32 rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Best female duo
Brianca Roberts and Allahon Marbra, Pasco: The junior guards combined to average almost 33 points per game and scored nearly 60 percent of Pasco’s points. The good news for coach Troy Moore: They’ll both be back next season.
Best male duo
Rico Kerney and Chris Parra, Wiregrass Ranch: The senior sharpshooters drilled 129 treys and scored almost 1,000 points between them for the 20-8 Bulls. They’ll be the toughest seniors to replace for Wiregrass next winter.
River Ridge’s playoff run: The Royal Knight girls knocked off Tarpon Springs by 11 points in the Class 6A, District 10 semifinals to earn a trip to the postseason.
Wesley Chapel-Wiregrass Ranch boys: A back-and-forth game between two of the North Suncoast’s top teams — and fierce crosstown rivals — ended with a late Wesley Chapel rally. Wiregrass Ranch had a good look at a go-ahead bucket in the closing seconds, and the Bulls’ 3 at the buzzer fell short to give the Wildcats a 65-62 win.
Five who deserve more attention
Leah Ford, River Ridge: The sophomore guard scored 312 of her team’s 792 points this winter.
Brielle Downing, Bishop McLaughlin: The Hurricane freshman shattered almost every single-season school record by averaging 18.4 points and 5.3 steals.
Alicia Artley, Fivay: The junior post quietly averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks for the Falcons.
Land O’Lakes boys: The Gators finished below .500, but Mike and Victor Obi still led the team to the playoffs for the second year in a row and ninth time since 1998.
Gulf boys: The Buccaneers’ 11 wins were their most since 2006, and junior Joey Nickerson developed into one of Pasco County’s top scorers.