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  1. District volleyball: Mitchell survives Sunlake; Land O'Lakes dispatches Springstead

    Home Team

    SPRING HILL – Sunlake had played plenty of good matches this season, taking its Class 7A, District 8 opponents to the brink on a few occasions.   None of those hard-fought matches amounted to anything like the Seahawks did against top-seeded Mitchell in Tuesday night’s district semifinal. The Mustangs won a battle of attrition in five sets (25-22, 15-25, 23-25, 29-27, 15-10) to clinch their eighth consecutive trip to the playoffs.   The Seahawks (5-10) came in winless this season in district play but stunned the short-handed Mustangs (19-8) by jumping in front two sets to one. Mitchell was missing two of their best players, with seniors Morgin Tew and Mariella Haimes both sidelined with severe leg injuries. Add to that the loss of junior Mya Jones to illness, and the Mustangs were backed into a corner.   “You really have to feel for those girls,” coach Heidi Michaels said. “Both of them are among the best in the area. We had some big holes to fill.”   Sunlake sophomore Caroline Schoonover, who came into the match with a team-high 123 kills this season, made her presence known in the fourth set, pacing the Seahawks with seven kills. She and junior Kamea Nash had Mitchell a point from postseason elimination with a 24-22 lead.   “That is the best 5-10 team you’ll see,” Michaels said. “Our district is so strong, and their record was not a good indication of just how good (Sunlake) is.”   The Mustangs would not roll over. With junior Kennedy DeLuca (13 kills, one ace) and senior Jessie Mooney (10 kills, one ace) dominating at the net, Mitchell not only roared back to win the fourth set in dramatic fashion but took that momentum into the fifth set. The first seed never again relinquished the lead.   In the match that was supposed to be close, Land O’Lakes and Springstead did not disappoint.   After splitting the season series, the Gators dispatched the Eagles in four sets (24-26, 25-22, 28-26, 25-18) to earn a ticket to the postseason and a date on Thursday against Mitchell.   Land O’Lakes (17-8), headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and the eighth time in school history, was led by junior Rachel Michner (16 kills, one ace) in the front row.   Although Springstead (16-6) controlled the match statistically in both kills (47-44) and aces (16-6), the inability of the Eagles to limit their miscues seemed to be their undoing. The host team led early in every set, burning through leads of 9-0 in the second set, 12-5 in the third set, and 5-1 in the fourth set.   Among the standouts for Springstead were junior Jennifer Aten (nine kills, 10 aces), senior Sami McLeod (15 kills, three aces), and senior Alexis Thompson (11 kills, one ace). The trio was a force at the net all night long with Aten nearing a rare double double.

  2. PCAC volleyball: Palm Harbor University dispatches Tarpon Springs in final


    CLEARWATER — Palm Harbor University won its third straight PCAC championship Wednesday night, but Tarpon Springs did not make it easy. The Hurricanes had to come back from an opening-game loss to defeat the Spongers 24-26, 25-14, 15-8 at Countryside. PHU made it to the final by sweeping St. Petersburg earlier in straight games. Tarpon Springs needed three games to get past Clearwater in the other semifinal. …

  3. Dispatch from a hurricane shelter: 'I only saw the best'

    The Gradebook

    Conditions varied from shelter to shelter during Hurricane Irma. Here at the Gradebook, we've heard the good and the bad. But we thought we would share this account from Ruth Salvaggio, who hunkered down at Sunlake High. A copy of her letter (below) came with a handwritten note: "I thought the media would like to hear an encouraging story that came from Irma." …

    Principal Michael Cloyd greets Carmen Silva at the Sunlake High shelter on Sept. 8, two days before Hurricane Irma hit Florida. Silva was the first evacuee to show, and she planned to have eight family members join her.
  4. Rockets dispatch Thunder in five


    HOUSTON — James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped the Rockets overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over the Thunder on Tuesday to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.  …

  5. Region tennis: St. Petersburg girls dispatch Steinbrenner 4-1


    ST. PETERSBURG — Throughout the regular season and into the postseason, St. Petersburg has relied on its depth to win matches. That pattern didn't change in Tuesday's Class 4A region semifinal against Steinbrenner at the St. Pete Tennis Center. The Green Devils won four of five singles matches to defeat the Warriors 4-1.  …

  6. 911 calls on nursing home dying: 'Oh my God, this is crazy'


    Associated Press …

  7. North Korea decries U.S. carrier dispatch as parliament meets


    PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea's parliament convened Tuesday amid heightened tensions on the divided peninsula, with the United States and South Korea conducting their biggest-ever military exercises and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier heading to the area in a show of American strength.  …

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his parliament called the escalation of U.S. presence nearby “outrageous.”
  8. "He is schizophrenic:" Deputies release 911 call, body-cam footage of Pasco shootout (w/video)


    PORT RICHEY — A woman called Pasco County emergency dispatch on Thursday to report that her son had shot someone inside their garage. The son was having a "schizophrenic episode," she told dispatchers, and was now outside. "Hurry," she said, according to a recording of the call released Monday. …

    Pasco deputies approach Brian DiSario, who is next to a car during Thursday’s standoff with deputies, after DiSario shot a friend of his mother. See the video at
  9. Region volleyball: Palm Harbor University dispatches Cinderella


    By Rodney Page Times Staff Writer PALM HARBOR — Both Palm Harbor University and East Bay brought its "B" games to Tuesday night's Class 8A region quarterfinal. For the Hurricanes, that was good enough. …

  10. East Region: Florida silences doubters, dispatches East Tennessee State 80-65


    ORLANDO — When analyst Seth Davis pegged fourth-seeded Florida as a potential first-round upset victim on CBS's Selection Sunday Show, the Gators were watching on their locker-room big screen TV. The volume was cranked up. They heard what Davis said.  …

    Florida Gators forward Devin Robinson (1) drives to the basket for a dunk during the first half of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Amway Center on March 16, 2017 on Thursday, March 16, 2017.
  11. Police on spot over Vegas discrepancies


    Pressure mounted Wednesday for Las Vegas police to explain how quickly they reacted to what would become the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history after two hotel employees reported a gunman spraying a hallway with bullets six minutes before he opened fire on a crowd at a musical performance, killing 58 people, then himself.  …

  12. Brooksville council begins study of law enforcement options


    BROOKSVILLE — The City Council has jumped headlong into a discussion about the future of the Brooksville Police Department — specifically whether to maintain it as is or change the way law enforcement service is provided in an effort to relieve the city's budget woes. …

    Brooksville Mayor Robert Battista suggested that the City Council agree to promise residents that neither the city police nor fire departments would be disbanded without a voter referendum.
  13. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed. …

  14. Former Jabil executive's fate in hands of murder trial jury


    LARGO — For a second time, Patrick Evans' future is in the hands of a jury. Six years ago, he was found guilty of fatally shooting his wife, Elizabeth Evans, and her friend, Gerald Taylor, inside her Gulfport condo on Dec. 20, 2008. …

    Patrick Evans talks with Allison Miller, one of his three public defenders, before jury selection this w eek. Evans, a former Jabil executive charged with killing his estranged wife and her friend almost 10 years ago, is back in court for a second trial after his original death sentence conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  15. Busch Gardens offers free admission to first responders, family discounts


    Busch Gardens is giving first responders free admission through Nov. 24, with discounted tickets for their friends and family.  …

    Busch Gardens new ride Cobra's Curse ride.
Times files
  16. 'I'm intact,' Tillerson says, brushing off drama with Trump


    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday ducked, danced and sidestepped the question of whether he truly called President Donald Trump a "moron," dismissing the brouhaha as the "petty stuff" of Washington. Though they keep coming, Tillerson insisted the persistent queries aren't hindering his mission as the nation's top diplomat.  …

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brushed off talk of him insulting Trump as “petty stuff.”
  17. St. Petersburg man, 24, faces murder charge in shooting of 31-year-old woman


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 24-year-old man was arrested Thursday night after police said they linked him to the shooting death of a 31-year-old woman last weekend. …

    Donele Bowens, 24, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in the fatal Sept. 24 shooting of Allison Leigh Boyke, according to St. Petersburg police. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  18. Texas couple survives being stranded 6 days in rural Utah


    SALT LAKE CITY — A Texas couple who set out for a day trip to Lake Powell while on vacation in southern Utah ended up narrowly surviving six harrowing days stranded on a rocky, desolate dirt road that was impassable in their rental car, authorities said Friday.  …

    Photos courtesy of Kane County Search and Rescue via Associated Press
ABOVE: The desolate dirt road in southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was impassable in the Texas couple’s rental car. AT TOP: The couple made an SOS sign out of rocks and flowers while they were stranded.
  19. Things to Know in the U.S. for Oct. 19


    Mississippi School drops Confederacy for Obama …

    Jacob Jefferson, 8, listens to Janelle Jefferson, his mom and PTA president. She said the majority of students, parents, faculty and staff members voted change the school’s name to honor Barack Obama. 
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
  20. They survived six hours in a pool as wildfire burned their neighborhood to ground


    SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Jan Pascoe and her husband, John, were trapped. The world was on fire, and Jan was hyperventilating from fear. Then they remembered their neighbors' pool. "You've got to calm down, Jan," she told herself. "You can't go underwater and hyperventilate." …

    John and Jan Pascoe survived the firestorm by running out of their home and jumping into their neighbors' swimming pool in Santa Rosa, Calif. They spent six hours there as their neighborhood burned around them. [Brian van der Brug | Los Angeles Times via TNS]

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