MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
TEAM OF THE NIGHT
The Newsome boys soccer team is headed to the region playoffs fo the first time after a perfect 19 minutes gave the Wolves all the goals they needed (thank you Matt Staggs, Armani Alicea and Harold Gussman) to beat Durant 3-1.
RUNNERUP: The Gibbs boys basketball team won again, beating Boca Ciega. That makes it three straight wins over district foes with winning records (Pinellas Park, Largo and Bogie) and the third time in the past month they have beaten the Pirates. Next up: St. Petersburg?
PLAYER OF THE NIGHT
I'm not saying Gulf's David Ramirez was on fire last night, but reports are indicating that nine Hudson players had to be treated for first degree burns after a postgame handshake with the Buc. Not only that, Taco Bell called and wants to name a new spicy burrito after him.
This is hot and spicy: 35 points and seven 3-pointers! But hey, enough about the second half. For the game, Ramirez scored a career-high 45 and dropped in eight 3-pointers, and it still wasn't enough as Hudson won 81-70. Ramirez had a trio of mid-range jumpers to go along with his long-range brilliance, and only one of his hoops was a layup, prompting Hudson coach Jason Vetter to write "Kid hit everything'' in an e-mail to the Meanderings.
RUNNERUP: Kayla Walton, a 6-foot-2 senior whom Northside Christian coach D.J. Jackson says might be the best girls basketball player in Pinellas County, had 26 rebounds against Keswick. Oh, and 24 points.
DANDY DOZEN BALLERS
1. Palm Harbor University senior Sharee Booze, one of the best scorers you haven't heard of, scored 37 points and teammate Kristine Fuller had 20 to lead the Hurricanes past Osceola 83-71. P.S. Osceola's Amy Spath (28 points) and Hannah Demarest (20 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists) brought it, too.
2. Durant's Adrian Nelson had only scored more than seven points in a game once all season -- Tuesday night, he had a season-high 19 as the Cougars toppled Brandon.
3. Blake's Andre Smith is playing his best ball of the season. Coming off a 30-point effort against Spoto, the Yellow Jacket PG dropped 27 on Hillsborough Tuesday night and Blake won for the seventh straight time.
4. It was a good night for Andre and Andres -- Northeast's Andres Sanchez had 34 points in a loss to Largo.
5. A.J. Astroth scored 25 and Wharton kept on rolling -- that's 20 straight wins for the Wildcats.
6. Mike Singleton had 19 for Lakewood in an overtime loss to Clearwater. He was the only Spartan in double figures, while Okaro White's 17 led a quartet of double-digit Tornadoes.
7. Tarpon Springs' Jenna Booth (22 points, four 3-pointers) and Bogie's Tamara Taylor (26 points, four 3-pointers) had a little shootout in the Pirates' 71-42 win, their 15th straight victory.
8. Hillsborough's Khia Grubbs, averaging only 7 ppg, scored 17 in a win over Blake.
9. Leto's Rachel Reid scored a season-high 29 points in the Falcons loss to Robinson.
10. Wesley Chapel's senior scoring leader Shantel Houston was back after a recruiting trip, but freshmen Tiffany Echeverria (14 points), Andrea Mauger (13) and Simone Brown (13) were the leading scorers for the Wildcats.
11. Tarpon Springs' Jacques Bourdon scored 29, but it wasn't enough to offset the East Lake tandem of Joseph Nurse (28) and Blake Grimm (24) in the Eagles' victory.
12. Mitchell's Chad Jeckel scored 28 and the Mustangs needed every last one of them in an overtime win over River Ridge.
NUMBERS OF THE NIGHT
998: That's how many points Jefferson standout Laurie Beaty has in her career now after scoring 25 in a 63-39 rout of Tampa Bay Tech. The Titans came into the game with a 19-2 record and were expected to give the Dragons a test, but nope. Beaty scored 14 in the first quarter, Jefferson stormed out to a 23-10 lead and that was that.
7: Goals scored by Seffner Christian's Steven Cunningham. I can't vouch for the talent of the opponent, but (a.) that's darned good no matter who you're playing; (b.) Santa Fe Catholic was 12-3-1.
20: straight wins for Wharton's boys basketball team.
Oldsmar Christian has one of the best basketball players in Tampa Bay in Rashaad Richardson, who scored 22 in a 58-53 win over Tampa Prep. Kudos to Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon for scheduling Oldsmar, a team that...well, we're not sure what they are -- all-star? AAU? Rebels? Outsiders? But we know this: that was a good test for the Terrapins as they quickly approach districts. (Cue up hate mail).
Even in an off year, Lakewood is always dangerous. Always.
I'm already looking forward to a Blake-Lakewood boys basketball region playoff game. Make it happen, guys.
I admit it -- after Jefferson lost three straight over the break, I was doubting their chances and rolling into the state semifinals. Now? I'm feeling the Dragons. It would be great to see Jade Givens, one of the nicest players I've ever interviewed, get a state title, and it would be just as great to see coach Tom Mosca get one.
You know where I am? Right here: firstname.lastname@example.org.