MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
The holiday hoops season is behind us. Now it’s time for district play and postseason tournaments. Some teams sat idle over the break, while others stayed sharp by playing in tournaments. Which teams benefitted from the holiday competition? Which teams took a step back? Here’s a look:
East Lake: The Eagles won the Ridgewood tournament by beating rival Clearwater for the second time this season. East Lake also made the semifinal of the Shorecrest tournament last month.
Gibbs: The offense still is a work in progress but the Gladiators are undefeated thanks to their defense. Gibbs won the Bright House Tournament by shutting down Sarasota Riverview in the final.
Lakewood: The Spartans are playing well under first-year coach Anthony Lawrence with their only two losses coming in overtime, including a game against Wharton in the final of the Northeast Tournament.
Looking for redemption
Clearwater: The Tornadoes experienced some frustration during the holidays, losing to Gibbs and Nature Coast in their own tournament and falling short in the final of the Ridgewood tournament to East Lake.
Pinellas Park: The Patriots had some nice wins, including a victory over East Lake in the semifinal of the Shorecrest tournament. But they’ve also had some frustrating losses, including a defeat to host Shorecrest in the Chargers’ tournament.
St. Petersburg: After starting 8-0 the Green Devils have lost five straight, all in holiday tournaments. But St. Petersburg can get back on track with a win tonight against Lakewood.
Palm Harbor University: After a close loss in the opening game of the Queen of the Palms Tournament, 60-56 to Seffner Christian, the Hurricanes defeated Jacksonville Bolles and Naples Golden Gate to improve to 13-2.
East Lake: The Eagles were leaking some oil heading into the Keswick Suncoast Classic tournament. They lost six straight, but had a happy holiday with wins over private schools Calvary Christian, Mount Dora Bible and Sarasota Christian to win the tournament. It could be back to reality tonight against Northeast.
St. Petersburg Catholic: Picked up a quality win over East Bay in the Jaguar Holiday Tournament in Tampa then lost to Plant in the second round. Playing against the big schools will only help the Barons.
Looking for redemption
Clearwater: Riding a six-game winning streak, the Tornadoes fell a bit by losing two of three at the Queen of the Palms tournament. But take note, Clearwater, Lakewood lost two of three there last year and won a state title.
Lakewood: Not only did the Spartans lose 54-27 to Reynoldsburg (Ohio) in the opening round of the Queen of the Palms, but they also found out junior forward Tianah Alvarado is gone for the season with a knee injury. Points may be hard to come by this month.
Tarpon Springs: There is no shame in losing at the prestigious Queen of the Palms Classic, but losing 54-17 to Lake Mary doesn’t do much for the confidence with tough district games on the horizon.
Bob Putnam and Rodney Page, Times staff writers