Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seffner Christian girls basketball team has youth on its side

Seffner Christian Academy’s Peyton Walker (23) drives to the hoop against First Academy’s Leah Riker (24) during the second period at Seffner Christian on Tuesday. Seffner won 63-35.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Seffner Christian Academy’s Peyton Walker (23) drives to the hoop against First Academy’s Leah Riker (24) during the second period at Seffner Christian on Tuesday. Seffner won 63-35.

SEFFNER — As Seffner Christian's starting point guard three years ago, Sabrina Whiting led the Crusaders to the Sweet 16 as a seventh-grader. The following year she took them to the Elite 8 and into the Final Four last season.

So the logical step this season?

"Championship game," Whiting said with a chuckle.

Whiting, a sophomore, is a major reason the ultra-young Crusaders have a trip to Lakeland on their minds. Seffner Christian, coming off an impressive showing at the prestigious Fort Myers Queen of the Palms Classic over the winter break, entered a Thursday night game against Tampa Catholic 13-3.

"That tournament is for anybody who's anybody," coach Greg Fawbush said.

Seffner Christian is quickly entering into the conversation of who's who considering their recent surge the past few years. The Class 3A Crusaders defeated several schools in higher classifications including Palm Harbor (8A) and Lehigh (5A) before eventually falling in their bracket title game to Palm Beach Central (8A).

"It was a good experience to go against such good teams," Fawbush said.

And the future looks quite bright. The Crusaders have no seniors on the team and just two juniors. The rest are all underclassmen.

"We're young but (Whiting) provides such leadership for us," Fawbush said. "She can really do it all."

Whiting leads the backcourt, averaging team highs in assists (4.0 per game) and steals (5.7 per game) while averaging 14.6 per game. But the Crusaders' go-to player is freshman Peyton Walker, who's leading the team in scoring (17.2 points) and rebounds (12.3).

"She is the best freshman in the county," Fawbush said.

The Crusaders press frequently on defense, which feeds their up-tempo offense.

"We set a goal of how many turnovers we want to create before a game," Walker said. "We're a fast-breaking team."

But things haven't been all smooth sailing for Seffner Christian. The Crusaders were dealt a blow before the season even tipped off when Jaitesha Hanson, who led Seffner Christian in scoring last year, transferred to Riverview.

"We were pretty disappointed at first because she played with us through the summer," Walker said. "But it was her decision and we aren't mad at her or anything."

Fawbush said he was impressed the way his young team handled losing its top scorer coming off such a deep playoff run and a promising season ahead.

"No disrespect to her, but we have to coach and play with who we have, not who we don't have," he said. "These girls have put in the work in the weight room and the offseason and realized they just had to move on."

But adversity struck again last week when Whiting's backcourt mate Ally Parimore, the team's top defender and third leading scorer, suffered a right shoulder injury against Bishop McLaughlin Saturday.

It was at first thought to be a torn labrum in her shooting shoulder, but tests Tuesday revealed a slight dislocation. Fawbush is hopeful to have Parimore back in the lineup during the district tournament that starts Jan. 31 at Seffner Christian.

"The girls proved how tough they were (Tuesday night in a 63-35 win against First Academy)," Fawbush said. "I was anxious to see how they would respond playing without her and they showed it (Tuesday)."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Seffner Christian girls basketball team has youth on its side 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.