Basketball season winds down this week with the boys state tournament in Lakeland, but the season officially ended last week for Pinellas County teams. We’ll select all-county and all-area teams in the weeks to come, but for now we thought it would be fun to look back on some of the highlights from the 2012-13 season:
Lakewood girls: The Spartans were Class 5A state runnerup, losing to nemesis Fort Lauderdale Dillard. It was the third straight year Lakewood (24-7) has advanced to Lakeland. Seniors Tianah Alvarado averaged 19.5 points and Alexis Ungro ran the point. (Senior Kasey Drayton missed most of the season with a hyperextended thumb.) Those three will be missed, but Lakewood only reloads.
Donavan Hale, Largo: As a freshman a year ago, Hale and the Packers struggled to a 9-17 record and failed to make the playoffs. A year later Hale transformed into one of the county’s premier clutch players, helping Largo win a conference title and advance to the Class 6A region final. He saved his best performance for last, scoring 31, including 18 in the fourth quarter, in a comeback that just fell short against Winter Haven.
Carley and Savannah Plentovich, Calvary Christian: No players made a bigger impact on their team than the Plentovich twins. The Warriors had never won a district playoff game before the freshmen arrived on campus. With the two playing guard, Calvary Christian had its best season, finishing 25-4 and advancing to the Class 3A state final four.
Best male performance
Dallas Moore, Boca Ciega: Known as one of the area’s best shooters, Moore was at his best when his team needed him most, scoring 42 points against Lakewood in the Class 5A, District 12 semifinals that determined which team would make the playoffs. His point total matched a career high, and it came without forward Michael Clark, who was nursing an ankle injury.
Best female performance
Niaya White, Boca Ciega: In the biggest game of the season, White came through. She scored 21 points, including 13 of 18 from the free-throw line, to help the Pirates beat No. 2 seed Bradenton Southeast in the district semifinals. That win ensured a region tournament spot.
St. Petersburg Catholic boys: In Class 3A, District 9, which included five teams capable of winning a title, the Barons emerged as the district champion. Down the stretch, SPC beat defending state semifinalist Shorecrest twice, including in the district final. The Barons, led by Ryan Green and Kevin O’Donnell among others, advanced to the region semifinals, where they lost to Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.
St. Petersburg girls: Led by junior forward Jordan Berenbaum, sophomore guard Michael Everhart and junior forward Angel Brown, the Green Devils got it together late to defeat Clearwater in the Class 7A-10 district final. With every player except one returning, look out for the Green Devils next season.
Five to watch in 2013-14
Barry Brown, Gibbs: The sophomore was a consistent scorer and leader, and will be one of the focal points on a deep team that returns nearly everyone.
Terrell Burney, St. Petersburg: The sophomore came to lead the team in scoring during a two-week stretch at the end of the season and will team with Dayon Griffin to form one of the county’s best backcourts.
Michael Clark, Boca Ciega: The potential has always been off the charts. Now the junior has to show it on a nightly basis as he becomes the go-to guy on a team that loses a lot of scoring options.
Donavan Hale, Largo: The sophomore will have a bigger role as he tries to build upon a breakout season and lift the Packers to their first state final appearance since 1998.
Anthony Lawrence Jr., Lakewood: After consistently scoring 20 points or more a game, the sophomore now has to be the veteran on a team that graduates several key role players.
Siyana Allen, Lakewood: At 6-foot-2, the freshman started at center for the Spartans and more than held her own. She will dominate in seasons to come.
Niaya White, Boca Ciega: Another freshman who played above her grade this season. White was one of the Pirates’ leading scorers and helped them finish second in the district behind Lakewood.
Megan Ingram, Palm Harbor University: The 6-foot-2 center averaged 15 points as a sophomore. Playing with her older sister, Kaylin, next year she will only improve.
Katie Horan, Osceola: As a sophomore, she averaged 16.9 points and set a school record for 3-pointers made (84).
Meagan Thomas, Dixie Hollins: As a junior she averaged 24.3 points and was the Rebels’ only real scoring threat. Next season, she is sure to be double and triple teamed.
Compiled by staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam.