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Hillsborough: Girls basketball district preview

Jefferson High, led by 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound star Shayla Wilson, is the top seed in Class 6A, District 11, where Sickles  is among those hoping to unseat the Dragons.

BRIAN BLANCO | Special to the Times

Jefferson High, led by 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound star Shayla Wilson, is the top seed in Class 6A, District 11, where Sickles is among those hoping to unseat the Dragons.

In what amounts to February madness for girls basketball in Hillsborough County, here's what you need to know for those of you at home trying to predict which teams will appear in the region tournament brackets Saturday:

Class 8A-7 at Plant

Favorite: Plant (19-4). The Panthers, led by 1,000-point scorer Kelly Brennan, won their district games by an average of 34 points. Only two were within 15 points and both were against …

Dark horse: Durant (15-9). As the only other team with a winning record in both district play and overall, the Cougars alone could potentially trip up the Panthers. The last time the two met, Durant spotted the Panthers a 19-4 advantage after one quarter but managed to close the gap as Plant escaped with a 65-62 win.


Tuesday: No. 4 Newsome vs. No. 5 Alonso, 6:30 p.m.; No. 3 Wharton vs. No. 6 Bloomingdale, 8

Wednesday: No. 2 Durant vs. Wharton/Bloomingdale winner, 6:30; No. 1 Plant vs. Newsome/Alonso winner, 8

Friday: Final, 7

Class 7A-9 at Steinbrenner

Favorite: Steinbrenner (20-2). Riding a 10-game win streak that dates to the last calendar year, the Warriors are poised to make history with the first district title in the program's three-year history. Junior Bailey Hooker (20.2 ppg) is among the county's elite.

Dark horse: Freedom (17-8). The Patriots managed to stifle Steinbrenner's offense in a 33-29 loss. Last week, Freedom engaged Jefferson, an elite county team, in a similar defensive battle and scored the 40-38 upset win. Taylor Emery leads all freshmen in the state with an average of 19.9 points per game.


Tuesday: No. 4 Chamberlain vs. No. 5 Gaither, 7 p.m.

Wednesday: No. 2 Freedom vs. No. 3 Wiregrass Ranch, 6; No. 1 Steinbrenner vs. Chamberlain/Gaither winner, 8

Friday: Final, 7

Class 7A-8 at Riverview

Favorite: Tampa Bay Tech (21-2). Quite simply, this is the best team in the county. The Titans have only lost one game to a county opponent (see below) but won the Jan. 13 rematch. Junior Erica Young (20.5 ppg) and senior Dasha Christopher (11.6) average double figures.

Dark horse: Riverview (20-3). The Sharks are paced by the county's leading scorer, junior Faith Woodard, who averages 21.6 a game. Season-ending injuries to two starters forced Riverview to regroup midseason, but freshman point guard Asia Royster is settling in nicely. And the Sharks did beat TBT earlier this season.


Tuesday: No. 4 Plant City vs. No. 5 Hillsborough, 5 p.m.; No. 3 East Bay vs. No. 6 Brandon, 7

Thursday: No. 1 Tampa Bay Tech vs. Plant City/Hillsborough winner, 5; No. 2 Riverview vs. Brandon/East Bay winner, 7

Friday: Final, 7

Class 6A-11 at Jefferson

Favorite: Jefferson (16-6). Shayla Wilson, who has both 1,000 career points and rebounds, gets it done on both ends of the floor.

Dark horse: Sickles (18-6). The Gryphons will go as far as Bre Crum can carry them. The senior, the county's second-leading scorer (21.0 ppg), averages 42 percent of her team's total points.


Monday: No. 4 Strawberry Crest vs. No. 5 King, 6 p.m.; No. 3 Armwood vs. No. 6 Leto, 7:30

Wednesday: No. 2 Sickles vs. Armwood/Leto winner, 6; No. 1 Jefferson vs. Strawberry Crest/King winner, 7:30

Friday: Final, 7

Class 5A-11 at Blake

Favorite: Robinson (13-8). The Knights are on the verge of their first berth in the region tournament since 2003. Juniors Deliah Autry (12.5 ppg) and Nika Wright (10 ppg) lead the way.

Dark horse: Blake (14-9). After enduring a five-game skid in the middle of the season, perhaps the Yellow Jackets are peaking at the right time. Blake upset Plant 55-44 on Friday.


Tuesday: No. 4 Middleton vs. No. 5 Lennard, 7 p.m.

Wednesday: No. 1 Robinson vs. Middleton/Lennard winner, 6; No. 2 Blake vs. No. 3 Spoto, 7:30

Friday: Final, 7

Class 4A-9 at Tampa Catholic

Favorite: Tampa Catholic (16-9). The two-time defending state champions have handled its best district competition with ease, beating Academy of the Holy Names by 16 points on Dec. 9 and 20 more on Jan. 20.

Dark horse: Though Academy of the Holy Names is a fine team at 16-5, it's hard to make a convincing argument in favor of the Jaguars beating Tampa Catholic.

Fun fact: Though her team is 0-6 in district play, Berkeley Prep's Hayden Johnson leads the county with an average of 13.5 rebounds per game.


Wednesday: No. 2 Holy Names vs. No. 3 Sarasota Booker, 6 p.m.; No. 1 Tampa Catholic vs. No. 4 Berkeley Prep, 7:30

Friday: Final, 7

Class 3A-8 at Seffner Christian

Favorite: Seffner Christian (19-4). One year removed from their magical run to the Class A semifinals, this year's Crusaders are led by freshman Peyton Walker, who averages a double double of 18.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, respectively.

Dark horse: Brooks-DeBartolo (16-7). While an upset is unlikely, the trio of Chelsea White (14.4 ppg), Vintoria Hopps (13.8) and Tatiana Manuel (11.7), does give the Phoenix a balanced attack.


Tuesday: No. 4 Bishop McLaughlin vs. No. 5 Carrollwood Day, 7 p.m.

Friday: No. 2 Brooks-DeBartolo vs. No. 3 Tampa Prep, 5:30; No. 1 Seffner Christian vs. Bishop/CDS winner, 7

Saturday: Final, 7

Class 2A-8 at Cambridge

The only county teams will face each other first, as No. 5 Cambridge will host No. 4 Tampa Bay Christian. The winner will face the favorite, Pasco County's Academy at the Lakes.


Tuesday: No. 5 Cambridge vs. No. 4 Tampa Bay Christian, 6 p.m.

Thursday: No. 3 Citrus Park Christian vs. No. 2 Hernando Christian, 6; No. 1 Academy at the Lakes vs. Cambridge/TBC winner, 8

Friday: Final, 7

Hillsborough: Girls basketball district preview

01/28/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:26am]
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