MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Player of the year: G Bre Crum, Sr., Sickles
Entering the season, teams knew that to stop Sickles, they’d have to stop Bre Crum. Without graduated All-American Amber Henson, now at Duke, Crum was aware she would get every opponent’s full attention.
“I knew that people were going to start double-teaming me, playing box-and-one, that it would be, ‘If you guard Bre, she’s out of the game,’ ” she said.
There was just one problem for Sickles’ opponents: stopping Crum was easier said than done.
The lone senior averaged 20.9 points (42 percent of her team’s offense), 4.8 steals and 4.0 assists, all team highs. And she was third best on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game — not too bad for a 5-foot-8 guard.
That’s not to say it was easy, though.
“It started out really rough,” said Crum, who will play at North Florida next year. “I was like, ‘This is going to be harder than I thought. I’m going to have to do a lot more than I thought I would have to do.’ ”
But the team slowly started coming together. Crum pointed to the Dec. 9 game against Jefferson, a 54-51 defeat, as the initial sign of hope. She scored a season-high 31 points.
“That was the first time I thought, ‘Hey, we might have a chance to go far’ ” she said.
The second time came at the end of the season, in the Gryphons’ Class 6A region quarterfinal against Palmetto. Crum “only” scored 10 points, her season low, but Sickles won 47-38 to advance the region semifinals, farther than anyone could have predicted, including Crum.
“That was the highlight,” she said, “Just how far we got with this team.”
Coach of the year: Mike Quarto, Gulf
Quarto faced a tough task: Help Gulf regroup after losing four of its top players, 86 percent of its scoring, 71 percent of its rebounding, 57 percent of its steals and one of the best players in Pasco County history. But Quarto helped his young roster mature and took the Bucs even farther than last year’s run to the region semifinals. Despite the graduations and transfer, Gulf rattled off an 18-game win streak. Quarto’s squad finished 28-3 and advanced to the Class 5A region final for the second time in school history.
G Kristine Fuller, Sr., Palm Harbor University: BYU commit averaged 22.2 points and had her jersey retired by school.
G/F Kayla Kivinski, So., Gulf: Sharpshooter averaged 18.2 points and 9.2 rebounds to take the Bucs to the region final.
F Faith Woodard, Jr., Riverview: Major Division-I recruit averaged a double double with 21.4 points and 11 rebounds
F Kasey Drayton, Jr., Lakewood: Averaged more than 18 points and led the Spartans to the final four.
C Erica Young, Jr., Tampa Bay Tech: Averaged 20.1 points per game for the 23-3 Titans
G Amelia Oliver, Sr., Academy at the Lakes
G Kelly McCaffrey, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch
G Meagan Thomas, So., Dixie Hollins
F Shayla Wilson, Sr., Jefferson
G/F Tesha Hanson, Jr., Riverview
Academy at the Lakes: Yvanessa Vincent, Andrea Mauger
Boca Ciega: Qytiesha Middlebrooks, Destiny Brown
Clearwater: Tyra Bolden
Gulf: Kadejah Saunders, Lexy Schulman
Indian Rocks Christian: Jessica Logemann
Lakewood: Shineice Beamon, Alexis Ungro
Nature Coast: Lyndsey Pospisil, Courtney Crawford
Pasco: Brianca Roberts
Plant: Kelly Brennan
Ridgewood: Natasha Morris
Seffner Christian: Peyton Walker, Sabrina Whiting
St. Petersburg Catholic: Annie Artise, Brittney Dunbar
Steinbrenner: Bailey Hooker
Tampa Catholic: Kai Jones, Micah Kroll