MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Class 8A-7 at Alonso
Favorite: Newsome. The Wolves won their past nine district games by an average of 23 points after dropping the first to Plant in late November. That includes a 26-point win over the Panthers on Dec. 18.
Sleeper: Alonso. After playing Newsome close and knocking off Plant earlier this month, the Ravens were slowed by injuries down the stretch. If they can recover, they’ll be a tough out.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 4 Wharton vs. No. 5 Bloomingdale, 5; No. 3 Alonso vs. No. 5 Durant, 7. Wednesday — No. 1 Newsome vs. Wharton-Bloomingdale winner, 5; No. 2 Plant vs. Alonso-Durant winner, 7. Friday — Final, 7
Class 7A-9 at Freedom
Favorite: Freedom. The Patriots have been the best team in the district and county from start to finish. This could be the start of a postseason run to the state title.
Sleeper: Wiregrass Ranch. Twice in the regular season, the Bulls have played No. 2 seed Steinbrenner fairly close. The third time could be the charm.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 4 Gaither vs. No. 4 Chamberlain, 7. Wednesday — No. 2 Steinbrenner vs. No. 3 Wiregrass Ranch, 6; No. 1 Freedom vs. Gaither-Chamberlain winner, 7:30. Friday — Final, 7
Class 7A-8 at Tampa Bay Tech
Favorite: Tampa Bay Tech. Once preseason favorites, the Titans struggled with uneven performances earlier in the season. But they’ve won their past three by an average of 44 and defeated No. 1 seed Riverview earlier this month.
Sleeper: Hillsborough. The Terriers beat TBT by 10 in their last game, on Dec. 20. If they advance to the semifinals, they’ll get to do it again.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 5 Plant City vs. No. 4 East Bay, 5; No. 6 Brandon vs. No. 3 Hillsborough, 7. Wednesday — Plant City-East Bay winner vs. No. 1 Riverview, 5; Brandon-Hillsborough winner vs. No. 2 TBT, 7. Friday — Final, 7
Class 6A-11 at Sickles
Favorite: Sickles. A 10-0 run through district play stamps the Gryphons as the prohibitive favorites.
Sleeper: Armwood. The Hawks went 1-for-5 against the top seeds, Sickles and Strawberry Crest. But they were in every game and could be due for a breakthrough.
Schedule: Monday — No. 4 Jefferson vs. No. 5 King, 6; No. 3 Armwood vs. No. 6 Leto, 7:30. Wednesday — No. 2 Strawberry Crest vs. Armwood-Leto winner, 6; No. 1 Sickles vs. Jefferson-King winner, 7:30. Friday — Final, 7
Class 5A-11 at Robinson
Favorite: Robinson. In their past five district games, the Knights have held opponents to an average of 23 points. That’s the definition of stingy defense.
Sleeper: Middleton. No other district team had more success creating offense against Robinson, scoring an average of 45 points in their two losses.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 5 Spoto vs. No. 4 Lennard, 7. Wednesday — No. 2 Blake vs. No. 3 Middleton, 6:30; No. 1 Robinson vs. Lennard-Spoto winner, 8. Friday — Final, 7
Class 4A-9 at Holy Names
Favorite: Tampa Catholic. Even in midst of their worst season in more than a decade, the Crusaders should benefit most from Holy Names’ loss of top scorer Ashley McWilliams to a knee injury.
Sleeper: Sarasota Booker. In a four-team district, someone has to be the sleeper. The Tornadoes beat AHN on Jan. 17 and lost both games to Tampa Catholic by a total of only six points.
Schedule: Wednesday — No. 3 Sarasota Booker vs. No. 2 Tampa Catholic, 5:30; No. 4 Berkeley Prep vs. No. 1 AHN, 7. Friday — Final, 7
Class 3A-8 at Tampa Prep
Favorite: Seffner Christian. No county team has been more dominant than the Crusaders. They won their district games by an average of 58 points.
Sleeper: Tampa Prep. The Terrapins were the only district team to crack double digits against Seffner Christian in a 65-19 loss on Jan. 15.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 5 Carrollwood Day vs. No. 4 Brooks DeBartolo, 6. Thursday — No. 1 Seffner Christian vs. CDS-Brooks winner, 6; No. 2 Bishop McLaughlin vs. No. 2 Tampa Prep, 7:30. Friday — Final, 7:30
Class 2A-8 at Academy at the Lakes
Favorite: Academy at the Lakes. Karim Nohra has built another powerhouse, and the Wildcats again seem primed for another run to Lakeland.
Sleeper: Cambridge. The Lancers are the No. 2 seed but an unlikely candidate to pull off an upset of AATL. They’ve lost 60-5 and 72-5 in their regular-season meetings.
Schedule: Tuesday — No. 3 Hernando Christian vs. No. 2 Cambridge, 6; No. 4 Tampa Bay Christian vs. No. 1 Academy at the Lakes, 7:30. Friday — Final, 7:30