Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boys basketball district preview

They've pounded away on Hillsborough County's courts for months. Now the stakes rise at a time when every game truly matters. These tournaments are the first steps toward Lakeland and the state semifinals. Does Hillsborough County have the juice? A look at some of the more intriguing teams as they enter the postseason.

Berkeley Prep (20-5)

What makes them good? The Buccaneers have three scorers averaging in double figures: Johnathan Gary (17.9), Austin Suarez (13.7) and Christian Reintgen (11).

Key statistic: The Buccaneers have scored 60 or more points in 16 of their past 17 games.

Blake (18-6)

What makes them good? The Yellow Jackets twice fought off pesky Jesuit to claim the top seed and have their best record in four years. But there are clearly concerns heading into the tournament after consecutive losses to Hillsborough and Sickles to end the season.

Key statistic: Blake had won 12 in a row before dropping its last two games.

Durant (20-5)

What makes them good? The Cougars have three scorers averaging in double figures: Andre Nation (13.1), Aaron Garden (12.6) and Jeffrey Thomas (10.1).

Key statistic: Durant is tough to stop at home with a record of 7-1. The lone loss came at the hands of top-seeded Lakeland.

King (17-6)

What makes them good? The Lions forfeited four games earlier this season for using an ineligible player. They've won 15 in all and have not lost since the Tampa Hoops Classic in late December.

Key statistic: Toarlyn Fitzpatrick is averaging 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Newsome (17-4)

What makes them good? Samal Sheppard is averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. The 6-foot-3 guard has five games of 20 points or more, including a 38-point effort in a 68-62 win against Tampa Bay Tech.

Key statistic: The Wolves have three winning streaks of at least four games but none longer than five.

Seffner Christian (16-7)

What makes them good? Best shot of any Hillsborough County team to go as deep as last season, when it earned a region final berth.

Key statistic: Junior Devin Paularinne is averaging 21.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. He scored a season-high 35 in a 75-51 win against Keswick Christian.

Sickles (21-4)

What makes them good? North Carolina signee John Henson instantly turned the Gryphons into a state contender. At 6 feet 4, 200 pounds, Henson has proved to be as good as promised, averaging 17.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.4 blocks.

Key statistic: The Gryphons went undefeated in district play and have won 11 in a row, outscoring teams by an average of 30 points.

Tampa Prep (21-3)

What makes them good? The Terrapins have three scorers averaging in double figures: Jamal Cherry (16), Jay Bowie (15.2) and Jake Haslam (10.5).

Key statistic: The Terrapins are 11-0 at home.

6A-8 at Durant

Tuesday: (5) Plant City vs. (4) Sarasota, 4; (6) East Bay vs. (3) Sarasota Riverview, 6; (7) Riverview vs. (2) Durant, 8. Friday: semifinal, 6; (1) Lakeland vs. TBD, 8. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Durant has chipped away at Lakeland, falling by 10 and eight points. Those are its only losses over a 12-game span.

6A-7 at Mitchell

Wednesday: (3) Countryside vs. (6) Sickles, 6; (4) Mitchell vs. (5) Gaither, 8. Friday: (2) St. Petersburg vs. TBD, 6; (1) Sickles vs. TBD, 8. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Mitchell came the closest to upsetting Sickles, falling

51-45 on Dec. 8. The Gryphons made the Mustangs pay with a 69-33 win at Mitchell on Jan. 23.

5A-10 at Jefferson

Today: (8) Middleton vs. (9) Leto, 7. Tuesday: (4) Jesuit vs. (5) Plant, 6:30; (1) Blake vs. TBD, 8. Wednesday: (7) Robinson vs. (2) Chamberlain, 6:30; (3) Hillsborough vs. (6) Jefferson, 8. Friday: Semifinals, 6:30 and 8; Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Blake's 12-game win streak came to a halt after consecutive losses to Hillsborough and Sickles. The Yellow Jackets have two tight wins against Jesuit, whom they could see in the semifinals.

5A-8 at Bloomingdale

Today: (2) King vs. (7) Brandon, 6; (1) Newsome vs. (8) Freedom, 8. Tuesday: (4) Tampa Bay Tech vs. (5) Armwood, 6; (3) Bloomingdale vs. (6) Wharton, 8. Friday: Semifinals, 6 and 8. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Newsome is the top seed, but King beat it twice. Bloomingdale has slipped since the loss of Callum Townsend (knee).

4A-9 at Haines City

Today: (4) Davenport Ridge vs. (5) Lake Wales, 7. Tuesday: (3) Lakeland Kathleen vs. (6) Lakeland Tenoroc, 6; (2) Haines City vs. (7) Spoto, 7:30. Friday: (1) Bartow vs. TBD, 6; semifinal, 7:40. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Bartow was the class of the district at 11-1. Its only loss came against Haines City.

3A-11 at Berkeley Prep

Wednesday: (5) Clearwater Central Catholic vs. (4) Lennard, 7. Friday: (3) Tampa Catholic vs. (2) St. Petersburg Catholic, 6; (1) Berkeley Prep vs. TBD, 7:30. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: The Buccaneers have won their past four games, including their second over Tampa Prep.

2A-9 at Bishop McLaughlin

Friday: (2) Indian Rocks Christian vs. (3) Bishop McLaughlin, 6; (1) Tampa Prep vs. (4) Calvary Christian, 7:30. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: A coin toss via conference call was used to determine the third and fourth seeds. The team to beat here is Tampa Prep, which is 21-3.

A-10 at the Corral

at USF

Tuesday: (4) Tampa Bay Christian vs. (5) Berean, 6. Friday: (2) Bayshore Christian vs. (3) Cambridge, 6; (1) Seffner Christian vs. TBD, 7:30. Saturday: Final, 7.

Skinny: Berean was set to host. Instead, the teams agreed to move to a neutral site. Seffner is deeper than most, but Bayshore and Cambridge are relatively even and could pull an upset.

Note: Lakeside Christian, the A-11 host, did not provide a schedule.

Boys basketball district preview 02/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 8, 2009 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win


    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …

  2. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But it still turned out to be a bad idea as he allowed four runs without getting through three innings.

  4. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  5. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)