Each week, our HomeTeam staffers will nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. These nominations span Saturday, Jan. 12 through Friday, Jan. 18. Winners get a free T-shirt and bragging rights over every other school in the area. Read up on what made our nominees stand out, then look for our writers’ picks for overall winners in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times. Show your support for a nominee in our comments section below.
Meggie Dougherty-Howard, St. Petersburg Catholic soccer: A senior and captain, Dougherty-Howard scored three goals in two games during the Class 2A, District 9 tournament, none bigger than the winner against rival Clearwater Central Catholic in the final that gave the Barons their first district title in two seasons.
Quatasia Fantroy, Alonso basketball: The senior forward had 22 points in the Ravens’ 51-47 upset win over Plant on Friday. She also had 26 points and 13 rebounds in the Ravens’ four-point loss to district-leading Newsome on Jan. 11.
Cristina Gutierrez, Plant City soccer: The junior midfielder had the tying goal in Plant City’s eventual 3-2 win over East Bay on Friday in the Class 4A, District 9 championship. Gutierrez’s blast came in the 74th minute, knotting the score at 1-1 and ultimately sending the game into overtime.
Elisha Holmes, East Lake soccer: The freshman scored a goal in Thursday’s 6-0 win over Riverview in the Class 5A, District 8 semifinals and scored another on Friday night in a 2-0 district championship win over Palm Harbor University. “She is so fast,” East Lake coach Sergei Stopek said. “She can run down just about any ball.”
Silvana Paonessa, Nature Coast soccer: The senior scorer tallied six goals in the Class 3A, District 6 tournament to lead the Sharks to the program’s first district championship. Two of those goals came in a 3-0 win over Citrus for the district title.
Berlin Waters, Wiregrass Ranch soccer: The Saint Leo commit scored both of her team’s goals — including the winner four minutes into sudden death — in a 2-1 win over Sickles that pushed the Bulls into the playoffs. She added another goal Friday night to help her team earn a 2-1 victory over Steinbrenner and secure the district title.
Barry Brown, Gibbs basketball: The sophomore scored 18 points to help the Gladiators beat Boca Ciega 72-55 and create a three-way tie for first place in Class 5A, District 12.
Justin Gray, Berkeley Prep basketball: The junior had 18 points and 20 rebounds in 58-56 win over Tampa Catholic, and 13 points and 13 rebounds in a 62-50 loss to Tampa Prep. Tally for his past three games? 41 points and 40 rebounds.
Josh Heath, Tampa Prep basketball: In three games (two of them victories), the USF-bound point guard averaged 18 points and 7.3 assists including a double double (18 points, 10 assists, five steals) in a 35-point district win against Seffner Christian. In that contest, Heath also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Michael McDonald, Springstead wrestling: The sophomore was the champion in the 113-pound weight class to help his team win the Flagler County Rotary Invitational in a dramatic comeback.
Jeffrey Velasquez, Hernando basketball: The senior guard scored 10 of his 35 points in overtime to lead the Leopards to a comeback win over Crystal River on Friday. He added a team-best 10 points in a win over Central and 35 more in a four-point win over Dunnellon.
Noah Weller, Seminole basketball: Playing with a shoulder so strained he twice had to leave the game, the senior stayed in when it mattered most, scoring seven of his team-high 18 points in a 44-37 victory over St. Petersburg that helped the Warhawks snap a six-game losing streak to their rival.
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