Morning Meanderings: Good morning, Tamika Coley



MORE from our HomeTeam writers.

More Video



Fri. February 12, 2010 | John C. Cotey | Email

Guess who's back, back again
Meanderings are back, tell a friend
Guess who's back, guess who's back,
guess who's back, guess who's back,
guess who's back, guess who's back,
guess who's back...


Ever cover a basketball game and afterwards, while looking up stuff, discover the team you're covering has never ever ever won a regional playoff game? Oh....yeah....well, me neither. *Cough*

But really, St. Petersburg? I can't believe that a school that has been around since Herbert Hoover was promising a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage had never won a playoff game, until Thursday when they smoked Plant.

The Green Devils are now 19-4, under Tamika Coley, the team's third coach in three years. The other two, Ryan Halstead and Tracolya Green, took the Green Devils to the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, respectively, but only Coley has coached the team into the regional semifinals. Her daughter, Gibbs transfer Kamika Idom, had 19 points and both their arrivals have been the tipping point.

The Green Devils have a super point guard in Kamyia Smith, nice size inside with 6-footers Andrea Johnson and Teyis Brown, and are looking like a team could be make more history next week when they host Sarasota, a team they have already beaten twice.


You know, i've been saying aaaaaaaallllll year that Amber Henson is the best girls basketball player in Tampa Bay, and she is indisputably the best prospect around and a future college star. But for 2010, I'm swerving -- if I had to pick the Player of the Year right now, I'd cast my vote for St. Petersburg Catholic's Jerica Coley, who had 39 points (and made 16 of 20 free throws) in the Barons win over Lakeland Tenoroc.

Henson is a stud. But Coley doesn't have the advantage of being 6-foot-4 (she's 5-6), and there's just no way anyone figured on the Barons beating Tampa Catholic once and playing them to a near-draw last week in the district final before losing. They meet again Tuesday and it should be a doozy. Now, SPC could lost that game, and Sickles coul go on to the state semis and beyond. But for now, Coley's the MVP, no doubt.


I'm starting a quote of the night to encourage originality, creativity and humor during interviews all across Tampa Bay. Are you listening, Mr. 110 percent and Mrs. We Played Hard?

This is one of my faves of all time, courtesy of Tenoroc coach Vic Smith, explaining his team's loss to SPC:

"We ran into Coley. The scouting reports said she was the ice cream, cake and sliced bread. They didn't lie."

There's so much to like about this quote. It's like he took "the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae", "the icing on the cake" and "the best thing since sliced bread" and mixed it all into this one, brilliant quote. Bravo, Mr. Smith, bravo!


1. No, I haven't forgot just how good Amber Henson is: 33 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks as Sickles cruised 67-47 past Naples Gulf Coast.

2. Hillsborough's Cassandra Nevarez had a great district semifinal, but struggled in the final. Thursday, she bounced back, making consecutive 3-pointers to break an early tie in the Terriers victory.

3. Oh, don't think former Clearwater boys standout Luke Loucks is gonna hog all the headlines with his recent play at Florida State, no siree: sister Emma tied teammate Lashe Kirkland for team-high honors with 12 in Clearwater's 62-22 victory.

4. Sam Newhaller's goal in the third minute was all Berkeley Prep needed to reach its first state girls soccer cham pionship.

5. Tampa Prep's Alyssa Bryant sees Newhaller's goal, and raises it a minute. The Terrapin sophomore only need two minutes to score in her team's 3-1 state soccer semifinal. (Of course, if this was a real poker hand, Berkeley would just re-raise the two regular season victories over Tampa Prep, and then bring up the volleyball state title it won, and, well, I have no idea where I'm going with this.)

6. Shantel Houston scored 13 of her game-high 23, and added six boards and five steals as Wesley Chapel won.

7. Boca Ciega's Tamara Taylor had 13 points in the district tournament. Why? Because she felt like it, that's why. Thursday, she was back to normal with 30 in a 71-40 win over Seminole.

8. Thought for a minute Keswick's Cassie Foster might be the Player of the Night, after hitting two 3-pointers and scoring 10 in a pivotal second quarter, and then coming out the next quarter and hitting two more 3s and scoring 10 of the Crusaders 12 straight points to open the second half and bust open a 26-25 contest in a 54-47 win. But then I saw Coley's line and got distracted.

9. Lakewood's defense allowed 37 points. Jefferson's defense allowed 28 points. What happens when two immovable objects collide on Tuesday?

10. I'm not saying Hillsborough can beat Sickles Tuesday, though it has played the Gryphons tough the last two times. But I am saying that they have a chance, especially if center Jacinda Myers, who had a team-high 16 points, keeps gobbling up rebounds.


Seffner Christian's Sabrina Whiting had a team-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers in a loss, and it got me thinking: Whiting is quite the basketball name in Tampa Bay.

There's a Christian Whiting at Seminole, and he leads the boys basketball team in scoring.

Former Clearwater star Shinikki Whiting was a Parade All-American and Florida Gatorade Player of the Year in 1999.

Former Palm Harbor standout Latoya Whiting was an All-County pick in 2005.

I'm not sure if any of them are even related, and am pretty sure they aren't.


1. With all due respect to the Seminole girls soccer team, the other Class 5A state semifinal is one of the biggest girls soccer games ever -- it pits defending national champion and last year's 6A champ Melbourne, still No. 1 in the ESPN Rise national poll, against Lakeland George Jenkins, No. 3 in that same national poll. Both teams are undefeated. Wow. (I mean, come on, can Seminole ever catch a break?)

2. Tuesday has the best collection of marquee girls basketball games -- Jefferson-Lakewood, Bogie-Clearwater, Tampa Catholic-St. Petersburg Catholic -- that I've ever seen on one night.

3. Plant and Abilene squaring off? John Davis back to Clearwater Central Catholic? A new coach (James Harrell, we're guessing) at Jesuit. What is this, football season?

You're there. I'm here: cotey@sptimes.com


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours