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TAMPA — That lull you’ve noticed this week in the local prep basketball schedule in Hillsborough County is the result of public school students mired in final exams. Until Friday, when action resumes in earnest, any high school hoops fix must be provided by private schools (they’re playing all week), a viewing of Hoosiers or the little quiz we’ve compiled below. In the spirit of exam week, here’s a multiple-choice review of some recent newsworthy items and a look ahead to the postseason.
1. Which girls team has the best chance to get to the state tournament?
C. Tampa Catholic
Answer: C. The Crusaders are better than last year’s team, which earned the program’s first state tournament berth. They’ve added junior point guard Meghan Keough, a Division I prospect whose speed makes TC’s transition game even scarier. On Saturday, the Crusaders beat Fort Myers Bishop Verot — a possible Class 3A region final opponent — by 20. Jefferson has a chance in 4A if it survives a collision course with Lakewood in the region semis.
2. Which boys team has the best chance to get to the state tournament?
B. Tampa Prep
D. Bayshore Christian
Answer: B. Though the Terrapins could be challenged by Naples Community in the Class 2A region finals, we expect them to reach their sixth state tournament, where the really fierce opposition awaits. Though it likely would have to get through an Orlando foe (i.e. Dr. Phillips), Wharton shapes up as a sleeper pick for the 6A final four.
3. In addition to the 40 points he scored in last week’s loss to Spoto, what other noteworthy feat did Plant sophomore Michael Frazier accomplish in that game?
A. He made all 10 of his free throws
B. He shot nearly 57 percent from the floor
C. He blocked three shots
D. All of the above
Answer: D. No wonder the kid already has a Division I scholarship offer (from Ohio University) in hand.
4. Which freshman newcomer has had the most impact out of the talented Class of 2013?
A. Tesha Hanson, Wharton
B. Shayla Cooper, Wharton
C. Erica Young, Blake
D. Faith Woodard, Riverview
Answer: A or B. The 6-foot-1 Woodard is averaging a double double (18.9 points, 11.8 rebounds a game), but Cooper and Hanson have become the best young inside-out combo in the area, together making a Wharton team that won just one game two seasons ago 7-0 in district play.
5. Now that Tampa Catholic’s Don Dziagwa has joined the 300-win coaching fraternity (he reached that landmark triumph in December), which local boys coach is fast approaching an even bigger milestone?
A. Tommy Tonelli, Wharton
B. Renaldo Garcia, Sickles
C. Neal Goldman, Jesuit
D. Sam Lanier, King
Answer: C. If our math is correct, Goldman needs fewer than 20 victories to reach 400 for his career, which began at Jesuit in 1987. A nice finish this winter and a decent season in 2010-11 should get him there.
6. Who is the county’s most underrated girls post player?
A. Brianna Thomas, Spoto
B. Jasmine Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Tech
C. Eryka Williams, Durant
D. Shayla Wilson, Jefferson
Answer: B. All are talented players who are critical on teams with lots of options, but we’re going with Rodriguez, who is posting a double double this season (10.7 ppg, 12.2 rpg) and has become the No. 1 option in the Titans offense with polished post moves.
7. What’s the best boys 1-2 scoring punch in the county?
A. Jay Bowie and Jamal Cherry, Tampa Prep
B. Rashawn Rembert and Jordan Davis, Sickles
C. Samal Shepherd and Jake Hodges, Newsome
D. Andre Nation and Jeff Thomas, Durant
Answer: B. Rembert and Davis provide not only 45.5 points an outing, but so many more tangible — and intangible — benefits. Davis, a powerfully-built 5-foot-11 guard, oozes tenacity without coming off as arrogant. Rembert, a lanky (6-foot-3) matchup nightmare on the wing, adds nearly eight rebounds a game.
8. If the season ended today, which girl would be the Player of the Year?
A. Michelle Taylor, Plant
B. Laurie Beaty, Jefferson
C. Amber Henson, Sickles
D. Shaunice Hobbs, Freedom
E. Colette Eule, Tampa Catholic
Answer: C. Taylor is having an amazing senior season, but the Panthers have struggled. Eule, Hobbs and Beaty are the leading scorers on teams full of options. And there’s only one player in the county who can bring national championship-winning coaches like Maryland’s Brenda Frese and North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell to watch her play. And as good as Henson was last year, she’s added a little more toughness to her game as a junior.
9. Taking current district top seeds Jefferson, Wharton, TBT and Sickles out of the equation, what is the one public school girls team no one wants to face in the postseason?
Answer: A. Spoto is a young program that won just five games last year and has been energized under first-year coach Mareka Davis, but the Patriots, led by former Land O’Lakes coach Laurie Pacholke, are 16-2 after a six-win season last year with what might be the county’s most well-rounded team.
10. Removing Wharton and Sickles from the equation, what’s the one public school boys team no one wants to face in the postseason?
Answer: B. The Wolves haven’t quite lived up to their lofty preseason projections, but last week’s 12-point win at Durant — not to mention that overtime loss to Sickles in late December — proved Jon Mackey’s team (11-6) remains capable of beating anyone on any night. Not that Hillsborough (12-3) is any more of an attractive option.
Joey Knight and Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writers
Photo: Tampa Prep's Jamal Cherry