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Girls basketball: Dixie Hollins in position to end playoff drought

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Wed. January 22, 2014 | Rodney Page | Email

Girls basketball: Dixie Hollins in position to end playoff drought

ST. PETERSBURG — Dixie Hollins is one game from making history.

If the Rebels, undefeated in Class 6A, District 10 and the top seed in next week’s tournament, can get past the Largo-Springstead winner Jan. 29, they will make the region tournament for the first time. Consider: The school opened in 1959, before most of the current team’s parents were born.

There has never been much buzz about the girls basketball team, but the 2013-14 Rebels have changed all that.

“Finally,” senior guard Meagan Thomas said. “I don’t think girls basketball gets as much attention as it should. It’s nice for us to be on the intercom in the mornings.”

The reason for the historical season is thanks in no small part to Thomas. She has been a scoring machine since she joined the team as a freshman. She averaged 21.4 points per game her first season and has steadily raised that number to 25.5. Dixie Hollins as a team averages 50, so her impact is evident.

“The first day I watched her play I remember thinking, ‘Oh my, this kid has so much potential,’ ” fifth-year coach Kelley Jones said.

“She was more offensive minded her freshman year. But as she got older and more mature her defensive game stepped up. She’s not afraid to take on a team’s top player and shut them down.”

In Thomas’ first three seasons, the Rebels struggled to win. They weren’t even close to competing for a district championship. But instead of transferring to a school with more success, Thomas stuck with her teammates.

“I’ve always liked playing here,” Thomas said. “Even in my freshman year when we were losing a lot. I’m not one to give up. I always saw potential in this team. There was no reason for me to leave.”

Thomas was right. The Rebels are 16-5 heading into the district tournament. Thomas, who has interest from schools like Daytona State, Charleston Southern, Prairie View A&M and St. Petersburg College, is clearly the main player. But others have contributed.

Senior Haley Martz gets nearly seven points and five rebounds per game. Junior Christine Walling averages nearly six points and five rebounds. And junior Kinza Kahn averages nine points.

“We’ve been playing together for a while and we’ve gotten better and better,” Kahn said. “We’re like a family now.”

There has never been a bigger window of opportunity for Dixie Hollins to snap its playoff drought. The Rebels are healthy and on a seven-game win streak. And they are also sick of playing in a gym with no girls basketball banners.

“We always talk about a banner,” Kahn said. “But this year it looks like a reality. It’s really going to happen.”

District schedules
8A-8 at various sites

Jan. 29: No. 4 Manatee at No. 1 St. Petersburg, 7; No. 3 Sarasota Riverview at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 7
Jan. 31: Final at TBD, 7 (highest seed hosts)

7A-9 at Seminole
Tuesday: No. 4 Seminole vs. No. 5 East Lake, 6:30; No. 3 Northeast vs. No. 6 Pinellas Park, 7:45
Jan. 30: Northeast-Pinellas Park winner vs. No. 2 Countryside, 6:30; No. 1 Clearwater vs. Seminole-East Lake winner, 7:45
Jan. 31: Final, 7

6A-10 at various sites
Monday: No. 5 Springstead at No. 4 Largo, 6:30
Jan. 29: No. 3 Osceola at No. 2 Mitchell, 6:30; Springstead-Largo winner at No. 1 Dixie Hollins, 6:30
Jan. 31: Final at TBD, 7 (highest seed hosts)

5A-10 at various sites
Monday: No. 5 Bayshore at No. 4 Boca Ciega, 7
Jan. 29: Bogie-Bayshore winner at No. 1 Southeast, 7; No. 3 Lakewood at No. 2 Gibbs, 7
Jan. 31: Final at TBD, 7 (highest seed hosts)

5A-8 at Gulf
Tuesday: No. 1 Gulf vs. No. 8 Dunedin, 3; No. 5 Fivay vs. No. 4 Tarpon Springs, 4:30; No. 3 River Ridge vs. No. 6 Sunlake, 6; No. 7 Anclote vs. No. 2 Land O’Lakes, 7:30
Jan. 29: Gulf-Dunedin winner vs. Fivay-Tarpon winner, 6; River Ridge-Sunlake winner vs. Anclote-LOL winner, 7:30
Jan. 31: Final, 7

3A-9 at Calvary Christian
Tuesday: No. 4 Shorecrest vs. No. 5 St. Petersburg Catholic, 4:30; No. 3 Indian Rocks Christian vs. No. 6 Northside Christian, 6; No. 2 Admiral Farragut vs. No. 7 Clearwater Central Catholic, 7:30
Jan. 30: IRC-Northside winner vs. AFA-CCC winner, 5; No. 1 Calvary Christian vs. Shorecrest-SPC winner, 7
Jan. 31: Final, 7

2A-8 at Keswick Christian
Tuesday: No. 4 Canterbury vs. No. 5 Lakeside Christian, 5; No. 3 Hernando Christian vs. No. 6 Citrus Park, 6:30
Jan. 30: No. 2 Bayshore Christian vs. HCA-Citrus Park winner, 5; No. 1 Keswick Christian vs. Canterbury-Lakeside winner, 6:30
Jan. 31: Final, 7

Players in post

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