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Boys basketball: Pinellas district tournament preview

Gabe Moton of St. Petersburg will help lead the Green Devils in this week’s Class 6A, District 7 tournament.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Gabe Moton of St. Petersburg will help lead the Green Devils in this week’s Class 6A, District 7 tournament.

The dominant big man has become all but extinct in boys basketball in Pinellas County this season. Of course, there is one glaring exception, Clearwater's Okaro White, a 6-foot-9 forward who has given the bully treatment to opponents. But there are few other teams loaded with talented front lines. Instead, most other district title contenders offset their lack of stature with speed and versatility — weapons that have helped cut them other teams down to size. They have done that with guards, and there are plenty of exceptional ones to go around for teams who use the small-ball staples of fast-breaks, quick drives and 3-pointers. Here are a few of them to keep on eye on this week.

District tournaments

Admission: $5 per session

At stake: The top two teams advance to next week's region quarterfinals.

Class 6A, District 7 at various sites

Schedule: Tuesday — Sarasota (5) at St. Petersburg (4), 7 p.m.; Palm Harbor University (6) at Countryside (3), 7 p.m. Wednesday — Sarasota-St. Petersburg winner at North Port (1), 7 p.m.; Palm Harbor U.-Countryside winner at Sarasota Riverview (2), 7 p.m. Friday — Championship (highest seed hosts), 7 p.m.

Guards to watch

Gabe Moton and Allen Wilson, St. Petersburg: Moton, a hyperquick player, has received interest from such schools as Tennessee-Martin and Cornell. He has come on late in the season, helping the Green Devils beat North Port, Pinellas Park and Gibbs in the past few weeks. Wilson, a sharpshooter, hit some key 3-pointers in a game against rival Lakewood.

Dino Tabakovic, Countryside: Deadly from the outside, he hit four 3-pointers in upset of St. Petersburg last month.

Class 5A, District 12 at Boca Ciega

Schedule: Wednesday — Pinellas Park (4) vs. Northeast (5) at Pinellas Park, 7 p.m. Friday — Largo (2) vs. Boca Ciega (3), 6:30 p.m., Pinellas Park-Northeast winner vs. Gibbs (1), 8 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7

Guards to watch

Charlie Brooks, Gibbs: His play has been big in the Gladiators late-season run to grab district's top seed.

Patrick Kearney, Largo: An outside threat whose shooting compliments the play of Breon Bostic.

Kenny Smith, Boca Ciega: A veteran who improves each year and is a steady presence on a young team.

Srdjan Jankovic, Pinellas Park: The best playmaker among a trio of Patriot guards who can score.

Class 5A, District 11 at Clearwater

Schedule: Tuesday — Dunedin (5) vs. Tarpon Springs (4), 7 p.m. Wednesday — East Lake (2) vs. Seminole (3), 6:30; Dunedin-Tarpon Springs winner vs. Clearwater (1), 8. Friday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guard to watch

Cory Carden, Clearwater: He might not be the biggest scorer, but his decision-making is among the best on the title-contending team.

Class 4A, District 10 at various sites

Schedule: Tuesday — Bradenton Lakewood Ranch (4) at Bradenton Bayshore (5), 7 p.m.; Dixie Hollins (6) at Palmetto (3), 7 p.m., Osceola (7) at Braden River (2), 7 p.m. Wednesday — Palmetto-Dixie Hollins winner vs. Braden River-Osceola winner (highest seed hosts), 7 p.m.; Bayshore-Lakewood Ranch winner at Lakewood (1), 7 p.m. Friday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guards to watch

Bernard Reedy Jr. and Mike Singleton, Lakewood: Reedy is one of the county's best defenders and Singelton has developed into a consistent scorer.

Class 3A, District 10 at St. Petersburg Catholic

Schedule: Wednesday — Berkeley Prep (1) vs. CC Catholic (4), 6 p.m., Tampa Catholic (2) vs. SP Catholic (3), 7:30 p.m. Friday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guard to watch

Rei Okolins, SP Catholic: The senior scored 18 in a win over CCC last week that helped the Barons secure the No. 3 seed.

Class 2A, District 11 at Sarasota Out-of-Door

Schedule: Friday — Shorecrest (2) vs. Sarasota Out-of-Door (3), 6 p.m., Admiral Farragut (1) vs. Northside Chr. (4), 7:30 Saturday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guards to watch

Chris Myrick and Chance Russell, Admiral Farragut: Their athleticism is often too much for opponents at this level to handle. Class 2A, District 10 at Calvary Christian

Schedule: Friday — Indian Rocks Chr. (2) vs. Calvary Chr. (3), 6 p.m., Tampa Prep (1) vs. Bishop McLaughlin (4), 7:30 p.m. Saturday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guard to watch

Sean Culkin, Indian Rocks Chr: One of the county's tallest guards at 6 feet 5, Culkin has given the Golden Eagles the scorer they needed this season.

Class A, District 9 at Cambridge

Schedule: Monday — Cambridge (1) vs. Berean Academy (8), 3:30 p.m.; Carrollwood Day (4) vs. Academy at the Lakes (5), 5 p.m.; Keswick Chr. (2) vs. Lakeside Chr. (7), 6:30 p.m.; Canterbury (3) vs. Tampa Bay Chr. (6). Tuesday — Cambridge-Berean winner vs. Carrollwood Day-Academy winner, 5:30 p.m.; Keswick-Lakeside winner vs. Canterbury-Tampa Bay Chr. winner, 7 p.m. Friday — Championship, 7 p.m.

Guard to watch

Tanner Wozniak, Keswick Chr.: The junior is the county's most prolific scorer, averaging nearly 25 points per game.

Boys basketball: Pinellas district tournament preview 02/07/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 7, 2010 7:02pm]
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