Me and Mario Lopez hosting some show on Animal Planet in the background while I check out last night:
1. The Clearwater boys basketball team isn't beating anyone good, but they are beating them bad. Last night, a 96-25 victory over Dunedin. In the Tornadoes' past three games, they are averaging 94.3 ppg. That's pretty impressive, though quite honestly the only games we care about are the ones against Lakewood (Jan. 26) and Largo (Feb. 1).
2. On the other end of the spectrum, in Pasco, they apparently played last night with those moving basketball rims you see at Chuck E. Cheeze...or just really really really good defense. Wiregrass Ranch beat Nature Coast 37-32 (the Sharks were 13-1, but trailed 17-4 at the half) and over at Sunlake, River Ridge was picking up a 28-26 win over the hosts.
3. Speaking of low-scoring games, the Land O'Lakes girls soccer team won 1-0 on Arielle Le-Tran's goal, making it 13 times in 17 games the score of a Gators game has been 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 this season.
4. The Mitchell boys soccer team beat Countryside a night after beating PHU. Probably a pretty rare feat for anyone to beat those Pinellas powers on back-to-back nights.
5. Another rare feat: St. Petersburg Catholic won with zero points from the county's leading scorer, Jerica Coley, who didn't play. Sophomore Annie Artise stepped up with a team-high 12 points in the 45-18 win over Berkeley Prep.
NUMBERS OF THE DAY
The Indian Rocks Christian girls basketball team can shoot. Tuesday night, the Golden Eagles rained 13 3-pointers down on Bishop McLaughlin, including five by Jami Ring. That breaks the school record of 12, as six different players connected from long range. That is nothing new for the Golden Eagles. This season, IRC has made 131 3-pointers, tops in the state according to maxpreps.com (but keep in mind, not everyone puts their stats in at the Web site, but there's still a very good chance 131 is tops.) A pair of sophomores lead the way: Tori Trador has made 49 (tied for the state lead) and is shooting 38 percent while Jessica Logemann has 33 3s and is shooting 41 percent. Did I mention they are just sophomores? I think I did.
1. The surprising Tampa Catholic Crusaders won again, and Austin Aikens had a season-high 31 points, shooting 12 of 15 from the floor. Aikens, averaging 14.1 ppg, has now put up 23, 14, 22 and 31 his past four games.
2. Breon Bostic, Largos' big man, scored 26 in a 79-60 win over PHU.
3. Boca Ciega's Kenny Smith only made two baskets, but one was the winner with 42 seconds left in a crucial 46-44 district win over Pinellas Park. Freshman D.J. White had 17 for Bogie, which didn't have another scorer get over 5 for the game.
4. Regan Knapik scored a season-high 23 as Wiregrass Ranch beat Nature Coast, the defending district champs, 59-45.
5. Nicole Adams dropped in 27 as her Gulf Bucs kept on rolling, 70-31 over Ridgewood.
6. Keswick suffered a 81-44 loss to Bradenton Christian, though Tanner Wozniak scored half the Crusaders' points with 22 (and four 3-pointers).
7. I wrote yesterday that Andres Sanchez of Northeast had 29 points after a season-low four the game before. Well, let me write it again -- Sanchez had 29 points once more, making it back-to-back nights of scoreboard lighting. Sanchez made 11 of 12 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds as well.
8. Hernando's Derek Wilson messed around and almost got a triple double Tuesday night -- the junior guard had 18 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds in the Leopards 69-32 win over Land O'Lakes.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
New Tampa hoops is on the rise. Freedom (16-2) and Wharton (12-4) are having outstanding seasons, and doing so with young rosters that will return virtually intact next season. Look out, Old Tampa.
P.S. Thea Linkfield of Countryside has SIX hat tricks this season. I said yesterday she had four, but two boxscores were missing from the Cougars team page.
Did I miss anyone? Anything you think deserves a Morning Meander? Did you have a big game that we probably wouldn't/didn't/should have noticed? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: IRC's Tori Trador