District boys basketball
Wesley Chapel 46, Ridgewood 38: The Wildcats trailed by one in the final minutes but scored the last seven points to advance to the Class 5A, District 8 title game.
“It was back and forth,” Wildcats coach Doug Greseth said.
Standout junior Erik Thomas made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to help Wesley Chapel (24-3) come back. Sasha Mentor nailed a three-point play with 1:30 remaining that helped the Wildcats regain the lead. Wesley Chapel’s defense stopped Ridgewood on the next possession, and Stefan Bayne sank a runner with 30 seconds left to preserve the victory and end the season for the Rams (15-12).
Julian Vann also had three key baskets in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats.
Hudson 66, Anclote 53: The Cobras’ defense shut down Anclote in the Class 5A, District 8 semifinals to get Hudson to the title game.
“I know it’s bland,” Cobras coach Jason Vetter said. “I just think it’s our team defense.”
Hudson (17-10) overcame foul trouble to come out to an early lead. The Cobras pushed it to 44-32 when Chris Gregory took over. He made a layup and sank three consecutive 3-pointers to get Anclote (13-12) back in the game.
But Hudson’s defense buckled down again, and Jamal Branco’s 16 points helped propel the Cobras to tonight’s district championship against Wesley Chapel. Brandon McWhorter added 14 points for the Sharks.
Academy at the Lakes 58, Bayshore Christian 46: The Wildcats abandoned its man-to-man defense and switched to a 2-3 zone. That change helped stuff the Warriors, holding them to five first-quarter points in the Class 2A, District 8 semifinals.
Academy at the Lakes advances to tonight’s district final against Cambridge.
The Wildcats took a 16-4 lead by transforming turnovers into easy buckets, and they withstood foul trouble and short Bayshore rallies to seize the win. Ethan Haslam led the Wildcats with 24 points. Forward/center Evan Gordy added 12 points, and Mikey Mauger chipped in 10 points.
“We kinda had to do some smoke and mirrors,” AATL coach Tom Haslam said.
School of the night
Land O’Lakes: The Gators’ boys soccer team made the most of a long road trip, earning a victory over Choctawhatchee to advance to next week’s state championship game. The boys basketball team claimed the Class 6A, District 10 title with a dramatic shot by Jackson Cannon with 10 seconds left. It was the Gators’ first district championship in 11 years.
Standout performances from Friday night
Jackson Cannon and Ernest McClendon, Land O’Lakes: Cannon got the winning basket with 10 seconds left to lift the Gators to the district title over Mitchell. McClendon assisted on the winner and scored a game-high 20 points.
Josh Davis, Land O’Lakes: The Gators’ top scorer had both goals in the 2-0 state semifinal win over Choctawhatchee
Erik Thomas, Wesley Chapel: The junior forward had, ho-hum, another double double with 19 points and 18 rebounds to clinch the Wildcats’ trip to regionals.
Donovan Ingram, Nature Coast: The 5-foot-10 senior made some of the biggest plays, including a momentum-seizing layup in the fourth quarter to help the Sharks claim the district title.
Ethan Haslam, Academy at the Lakes: The 6-foot-3 guard scored 24 points for the Wildcats. He has scored in double figures every game this season and has had at least 24 points in four of his past six games.
Christian Parra, Wiregrass Ranch: On a bad night for the Bulls shooters, Parra tried his best to keep them in it. He finished with a team-high 17 points.
Jamal Branco, Hudson: The senior guard poured in 16 points and played solid defense.
By the numbers
390 Miles from Land O’Lakes to Choctawhatchee, the site of Friday’s boys soccer state semifinal
18 Miles from Land O’Lakes to USF, site of next week’s state championship game
14 Rebounds by Wesley Chapel’s 5-foot-11 senior Sasha Mentor
7 3-pointers made by Hudson to help the Cobras advance to title game
10 Runs scored by Gulf softball in a shutout win over Wesley Chapel. Pitcher Amber Maxey took the win and hit a double.
0 Times that John Parker has scored in double figures since January before having 10 key points for Nature Coast on Friday
Standout performance? Milestone achievement? Coaches are asked to call 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8123 no later than 11 each night to ensure their team is included in our roundup of memorable performances.