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Basketball: Wesley Chapel boys, East Lake girls win Beef 'O' Brady's tournament titles

NEW PORT RICHEY — Wesley Chapel's boys basketball team continues to roll behind the ever-developing game of junior Erik Thomas.

The Bulls power forward was named the Beef 'O' Brady's Thanksgiving Tournament most valuable player at River Ridge Saturday night as Wesley Chapel rolled over Tarpon Springs for the boys' title 54-31.

A night after scoring 21 in a semifinal victory over Land O'Lakes, Thomas contributed in every facet of the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and four steals. Marcus Hayne, who scored 20 in the semifinal, added a team-high 13 points against the Spongers.

"I have better court vision this season because of all the work I've done in practice," Thomas said. "I can play inside, or I can play outside."

The Wildcats (3-0) used their defense-first philosophy to bottle up the Spongers (2-2) from the start. Wesley Chapel led just 10-5 after the first quarter.

Joining Thomas on the all-tournament team was teammate Stefan Bayne, Tarpon Springs' J.T. Aguilar, Land O'Lakes' Ernest McClendon and River Ridge's Malik Moore.

East Lake won the girls' final over host River Ridge 59-51.

The Royals Knights (2-1) were led by all-tournament team selection Leah Ford. The freshman had 16 points, nine rebounds and one block in the losing effort, but River Ridge showed considerable progress from the teams that have taken the court over the past few seasons.

"They definitely work hard because I push them hard," River Ridge coach Joeyn Dearsman said. "We are trying to get this program back on track."

The Eagles (4-1) just had a little too much in the way to defensive speed and backcourt pressure with another all-tournament team selection, Emily Dine, leading the way. Dine scored a game-high 22 with five steals.

East Lake guard Amber Jennings (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals) was named tournament MVP.

Basketball: Wesley Chapel boys, East Lake girls win Beef 'O' Brady's tournament titles 11/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 26, 2011 10:44pm]

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