Monday, May 21, 2018

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings

1. Seffner Christian (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at Tampa Prep, Friday at St. Petersburg Catholic, Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout

The skinny: It is true that the Crusaders lost to Lakewood in a preseason game, and they did lose close at Lakewood Ranch. But this is a talented team that will get better as the season goes on. Chelsie Hall is one of the best guards in the area. Audra Leipold is a junior transfer from Academy at the Lakes who can score. Avree Carpenter and Brylee Bartram are also good shooters.

2. Lakewood (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs, Thursday at Pinellas Park, Friday vs. Dunedin, Saturday at Lakewood Ranch

The skinny: The Spartans are a talented, but young, group. Zariyah Daniels is a stellar point guard. Samantha Douglas, 6-foot-2, is tough to deal with under the basket. Toi Smith also brings an inside presence. And Boca Ciega transfer Paris Williams adds depth at guard.

3. Tampa Catholic (5-0)

This week: Tuesday at Brooks DeBartolo, Thursday vs. Fort Myers Dunbar

The skinny: The Crusaders appear to be balanced this season. Mia Blocker, Alise Davis, Lenise Santiago, Tanyia Gordon and Ashley Sieper have all started the season well. They picked up a qualify win over Orlando Colonial at the Florida Prospects Thanksgiving tournament.

4. Clearwater (3-0)

This week: Tuesday at Dixie Hollins, Thursday vs. Northeast

The skinny: The Tornadoes picked up a good preseason win over Brooks DeBartolo and have cruised through the first week of the season. The loss of center Cheyanne Williamson to a knee injury hurts, but speedy guard Misha O'Neal is good enough to pick up the scoring load.

5. Brooks DeBartolo (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Tampa Catholic, Thursday vs. Holy Names, Friday vs. Winter Haven, Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout

The skinny: The Phoenix has a tough week ahead. Alyssa Nieves and Constance Thomas have picked up the scoring load thus far. Aniyah Buie and freshman Maliyah Perry have also played well early in the season.

6. Academy of the Holy Names (6-0)

This week: Tuesday at Berkeley Prep, Thursday at Brooks DeBartolo, Saturday vs. Sarasota Riverview

The skinny: The Jaguars have been balanced after the first six games. Juniors Lindsey Perez (13.5 ppg) and Mickey Carney (12.3 ppg) have led the way. But junior Kayla Eckermann, senior Devin Folkman, junior Katherine Hahn and senior Domenica Howard have all contributed.

7. Strawberry Crest (2-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay Tech, Friday at Lennard

The skinny: The Chargers were 24-1 last season, falling in the region semifinals to Palm Harbor University. Two of the three top scorers from last season, Ayanna and Briana Trigg, are back. Freshman Megan Watson has averaged 14 points and seven rebounds in two games. The Chargers might be even better this season.

8. Plant (3-0)

This week: Tuesday at Wharton, Wednesday at Sickles, Friday vs. Leto

The skinny: Seniors Bella Moreno and Payton Paro have been the leading scorers so far. The schedule gets tougher for the Panthers in December, but they could have enough offense to keep winning.

9. Palm Harbor University (2-2)

This week: Tuesday at Seminole, Friday vs. Countryside

The skinny: The schedule has been difficult to start for the Hurricanes. The season started with a loss to Brooks DeBartolo and they also have a 10-point loss to a very good Lakewood Ranch team. Expect PHU, led by seniors Julia Ingram and Kiana Chew, to go on a roll until Christmas break.

10. Countryside (3-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Lake, Friday at Palm Harbor University

The skinny: Junior November Morton is one of the top players in the area. She already is averaging 22.7 points per game. Senior Alexis Taglieri is averaging 13 points per game. Friday's game at Palm Harbor U. should be a challenge.

11. River Ridge (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Pasco, Thursday at Zephyrhills, Friday vs. Fivay

The skinny: The Knights have not really been challenged yet. Junior Jayde Doucette, sophomore Michi Corsini and senior Haley Prudhom have been the top scorers so far.

12. Calvary Christian (3-1)

This week: No games scheduled

The skinny: Losing Savannah and Carly Plentovich, along with Niaya White, is a lot to replace. But so far, the Warriors are competitive. Cindy Linn, Katie Williamson and Taylor Polasky are key returners.

13. Bloomingdale (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Plant City, Friday at Tampa Bay Tech

The skinny: The Bulls won by big margins against Spoto and Armwood to start the season. Things get much tougher this week with two district games.

14. Northeast (3-0)

This week: Tuesday at Boca Ciega, Thursday at Clearwater

The skinny: Junior guard Emily Joseph is off to a nice start. Senior Sam Lee is the only returning starter, but the Vikings got some help with Countryside transfer Gigi Merkel. Clearwater will be tough to deal with this week.

15. Hernando (3-0)

This week: Tuesday at Weeki Wachee, Thursday at Fivay

The skinny: The Leopards are off and running after wins over Lecanto, Gulf and Nature Coast. Senior Ali Bronson (21 points per game) has emerged as the scoring leader. Sophomore Nakalya Roberts has nine points per game.

16. Durant (3-0)

This week: Tuesday at East Bay, Friday vs. Newsome

The skinny: The Cougars haven't been challenged in three games to start the season. Junior Ashlyn Myers and senior Tamara Hanson have been the main point scorers.

17. Tampa Bay Tech (2-0)

This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest, Friday vs. Bloomingdale

The skinny: The Titans had two high-scoring wins before Thanksgiving break. Several players return from last year's district runnerup team, including senior Logan Wilson and sophomore Shannon Lise.

18. Steinbrenner (3-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sickles, Wednesday vs. Leto, Friday vs. Wiregrass Ranch

The skinny: The two losses were to Holy Names and Calvary Christian. The Warriors should have a more favorable schedule this week. Sophomore Sara O'Brien has proven she can score, with 11.2 points per game. Senior MK Miller averages more than 10 rebounds per game.

19. Alonso (2-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Jefferson, Wednesday at Hillsborough, Friday vs. Jacksonville University Christian

The skinny: The lone loss was against Plant, which is not a bad loss. The Ravens are spreading out their scoring. Junior Ariel Scott has just over 10 points per game, but Kylie Eckerson, Veronica Diaz and Carly Price have all contributed. The Ravens will have to overcome the loss of Alyssa Jones, who suffered a season-ending knee injury

20. Robinson (2-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough, Wednesday at Blake

The skinny: Sophomore Kaliah Henderson is off and running with 21 points per game. Other scorers need to step up for the Knights to continue winning. This should be a week to get a few more wins under their belt.

21. Newsome (2-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Armwood, Wednesday vs. King, Friday at Durant

The skinny: The Wolves are getting big points so far from freshman Maia Smith, who has 12.5 points per game. Senior Marcella Benner and senior Bailey Cross have also played well early on.

22. Seminole (2-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University, Friday at Largo

The skinny: The lone loss came against Calvary Christian to start the season, and it was only by five points. Palm Harbor U. may be a little too much to handle, but the Warhawks will be competitive this season.

23. Anclote (2-0)

This week: Tuesday at Fivay, Wednesday vs. Wesley Chapel, Thursday vs. Ridgewood, Friday vs. Ridgewood

The skinny: Granted, the Sharks haven't been too taxed with wins over Gulf and Mitchell. This week will be a much better indicator of what kind of team Anclote has.

24. Carrollwood Day (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Winter Haven All Saints

The skinny: New coach Karim Nohra, who was at Academy at the Lakes, has not skipped a beat. The Patriots won five games all of last season. They are clearly much improved and don't have a challenging week.

25. Sunlake (2-1)

This week: Tuesday at Springstead

The skinny: The Seahawks are trying to bounce back from a loss to Academy of the Holy Names after winning handily against Nature Coast and Ridgewood. Junior Mary Moran, sophomore Terra Barron and senior Cheyenne Yucatonis have all contributed in the early season.

On the bubble: Clearwater Central Catholic (3-1), Ridgewood (2-2), Wiregrass Ranch (2-2)

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