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North Suncoast: Girls, boys basketball super 7

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Thu. January 9, 2014 | Mary Kenney

Basketball super 7
Records through Wednesday

Girls
1. Wiregrass Ranch (19-2, 5-2):
The Bulls are tried with Steinbrenner for the No. 1 spot in a talent-rich 7A-8, but Freedom is gaining ground after beating the Bulls 61-44 Wednesday. Wiregrass’ next district opponent is Sickles (16-4) on Jan. 17.
2. Gulf (15-2, 11-0): A perfect district record keeps Gulf ahead of Land O’Lakes and River Ridge in 5A-8. Three of the Buccaneers’ next four games are against district foes: Anclote, Sunlake and Fivay.
3. Land O’Lakes (14-2, 10-2): The Gators have overcome every opponent except the Bucs. Their focus on defense, averaging 28.1 rebounds and 10.4 steals per game, paints an optimistic picture for the postseason.
4. River Ridge (13-4, 8-3): Leah Ford continues to shine, averaging 17.4 points per game. The Royal Knights are third in the district as the postseason fast approaches, but face second-seeded Land O’Lakes on Jan. 17.
5. Nature Coast (13-2, 8-1): The Sharks and Pasco are battling for the top spot in 5A-7. NCT has a chance to avenge an early December loss to the Pirates on Tuesday.
6. Pasco (12-7, 7-1): A surprising loss to Central ruined the Pirates’ perfect district season, and a tough schedule during the break makes their win-loss record seem less impressive than it is.
7. Hernando (11-7, 6-3): The Leopards hang on to the final spot in the super 7 and third place in 5A-7 — barely. They can afford few slipups in district play with a hot Central team making a late-season push.

Boys
1. Mitchell (14-1, 3-0):
The Mustangs established themselves as the North Suncoast’s top team with a five-point win against Nature Coast. Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles is now focused on the postseason. Mitchell and Largo are both undefeated in 6A-10 and face each other Jan. 17.
2. Nature Coast (13-4, 6-0): The Sharks endured a mini three-game skid during the winter break before bouncing back to beat rival Springstead. Carlos Clemente and Jordan Burkes lead the team offensively, averaging 14.1 and 12.8 points per game, respectively.
3. Wesley Chapel (13-2, 6-1): The Wildcats surged past several area adversaries in the past few weeks to establish local dominance. Their one loss in district play leaves them behind Nature Coast, but they could change that when they face the Sharks in two weeks.
4. Hernando (6-3, 5-2): The Leopards are hanging on to third in a tough 5A-7 and have four district opponents left in regular-season play. Hernando’s team features top defense from Brian Duncan, Mark Wilson, Dallas Maclachlan and Mike Jones.
5. Springstead (9-6, 3-2): Losses to Steinbrenner and Nature Coast marred the Eagles’ return from winter break, but they’ll have a chance to redeem themselves when they face district foes Largo on Friday and Mitchell next week.
6. Land O’Lakes (9-7, 7-3): Losses to the Royal Knights and Tarpon Springs early this season initially spelled disaster for the Gators in 5A-8 district play, but they’ve shot up to second place since. Next week’s game against Hudson, though not a district matchup, should be one to watch.
7. Hudson (9-7, 4-1): The Cobras added wins against Ridgewood and Sunlake this week, and face 4A-6 leader The Villages on Friday. Luke Calleja is averaging 19 points per game for second-seeded Hudson.

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