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)

Bright House Shootout: Clearwater, White sail into final vs. Wiregrass

CLEARWATER — The offense was relentless and merciless Monday, but that has been the case a lot lately.

Clearwater is scoring in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add a defense that has been effective, if not spectacular, and you have a six-game win streak from a team that no longer resembles the bunch that started 1-3.

The rampaging Tornadoes overwhelmed Plant City in the semifinals of the Bright House Shootout, jumping out to 30-point lead at the half in an 85-51 victory.

Clearwater (7-3) will play Wiregrass Ranch (8-2) in the championship game at 8 tonight.

"That's about as well as we've played in the half all year," Tornadoes coach Allen Carden said. "We were clicking on all cylinders."

The string of victories for Clearwater has coincided with the return of Okaro White.

White, who was out with a sprained ankle, helped alter shots on the defensive end and his presence on offense opened up things for everyone else.

The Tornadoes shot 22-of-33 in the first half and hit eight 3-pointers. By the end of the first quarter, it was 29-9. By halftime, Clearwater was ahead 56-26.

"Everyone is going to see the score and think it was all about our offense," Carden said. "But I was really pleased with our defense and rebounding."

In all, the Tornadoes had 11 players score. White had 24 points and Brandon Leston had 20 to lead Clearwater.

In the other semifinal, Wiregrass Ranch beat Gibbs 61-56.

"This was the biggest win in school history," Bulls coach Jeremy Calzone said.

The victory tied the record for most victories in a season for the fourth-year program.

But Calzone was more impressed with beating a press of the Gladiators' caliber.

"We knew (Gibbs) would be fast and aggressive," Calzone said. "We just had to be patient."

Wiregrass Ranch was not goaded into playing at a faster pace all over the court. The Bulls waited for the opportunity to get the ball inside to their big man, Eric Williams.

Williams, more accustomed to being triple teamed in Pasco County, feasted on single coverage and set a school record with 33 points.

Gibbs (6-3) was led by Ke'Owen Walker, who scored 19.

Bright House Shootout: Clearwater, White sail into final vs. Wiregrass 12/21/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 11:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season


    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined


    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs


    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]