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Girls basketball district preview: Juniors will play key roles

schedule the skinny
Class 6A, District 8 at Plant City Tuesday: East Bay (4) vs. Plant City (5), 4 p.m.; Durant (3) vs. Riverview (6), 6; Sarasota Riverview (2) vs. Lakeland (7), 8; Friday: Durant/Riverview winner vs. Sarasota Riverview/Lakeland winner, 6; Sarasota (1) vs. East Bay/Plant City winner, 8; Saturday: final, 7. Durant has a pair of scorers averaging double digits in Taylor Broadnax and Eryka Williams, but it is 3-3 in its last six games. Sarasota and Sarasota Riverview look tough.
Class 6A, District 7 at Countryside Wednesday: Mitchell (4) vs. Gaither (5), 6 p.m.; Countryside (3) vs. Alonso (6), 8; Friday: Countryside/Alonso winner vs. Sickles (2), 6; Mitchell/Gaither winner vs. St. Petersburg (1), 8; Saturday: final, 7. St. Petersburg went 10-0 in district play and is the heavy favorite to return to the title game. But don't count out the Gryphons, who have won nine straight with sophomore leading scorer Amber Henson (19.2 points per game).
Class 5A, District 10 at Plant Tuesday: Hillsborough (2) vs. Robinson (7), 6 p.m.; Jefferson (1) vs. Middleton (8), 7:30; Wednesday: Chamberlain (4) vs. Blake (5), 6; Plant (3) vs. Leto (6), 7:30; Friday: Hillsborough/Robinson winner vs. Plant/Leto winner, 6; Jefferson/Middleton winner vs. Chamberlain/Blake winner, 7:30; Saturday: final, 7. The Dragons finished the regular season 22-1, cruising against local competition and winning by double digits on most nights. They defeated second-seed Hillsborough by margins of 27 and 20 points, respectively. The Terriers and Panthers could meet in a semifinal that would be the rubber match in a split season series.
Class 5A, District 8 at Tampa Bay Tech Monday: Armwood (2) vs. Freedom (7), 6 p.m.; Tampa Bay Tech (1) vs. King (8), 8; Tuesday: Wharton (4) vs. Brandon (5), 6; Newsome (3) vs. Bloomingdale (6), 8; Friday: Armwood/Freedom winner vs. Newsome/Bloomingdale winner, 6; TBT/King winner vs. Wharton/Brandon winner, 8; Saturday: final, 7. One of the tougher districts in Hillsborough County features two of the area's top teams in Tampa Bay Tech and Armwood. Both are heavy favorites to advance to the final, which would promise to be one of the area's best district finals after they split the season series.
Class 4A, District 9 at Lake Wales Monday: Tenoroc vs. Bartow, 7 p.m.; Tuesday: Haines City vs. Spoto, 6; Lake Wales vs. Ridge Community, 7:30; Friday: Lakeland Kathleen vs. Tenoroc/Bartow winner, 6; Haines City/Spoto winner vs. Lake Wales/Ridge Community winner, 7:30; Saturday: final, 7. One drawback to being a new school is the likelihood of playing in a district out of your neighborhood. Spoto was placed in a district made up of Polk County teams, including Lakeland Kathleen, which has won nine of its last 10 games.
Class 3A, District 11 at Berkeley Prep Tuesday: Academy of the Holy Names (3) vs. Lennard (6), 6 p.m.; Berkeley Prep (4) vs. Clearwater Central Catholic (5), 7:30; Wednesday: St. Petersburg Catholic (2) vs. AHN/Lennard winner, 6; Tampa Catholic (1) vs. Berkeley Prep/CCC winner, 7:30; Saturday: final, 7. Tampa Catholic is the team to beat here with a solid 22-2 record and Eule Colette, Sarah Brennan and Micah Kroll all averaging double figures in scoring.
Class 2A, District 9 at Tampa Prep Thursday: Tampa Prep (2) vs. Bishop McLaughlin (3), 6 p.m.; Indian Rocks Christian (1) vs. Calvary Christian (4), 7:30; Friday: final, 7. A coin toss between athletic directors from IRC and Tampa Prep determined the top seed. The Terrapins defeated the Hurricanes twice with relative ease, and split the season series with IRC.
Class A, District 10 at Cambridge Friday: Cambridge Christian (2) vs. Tampa Bay Christian (3), 6 p.m.; Saturday: final: CC/TBC winner vs. Seffner Christian (1), 7. Seffner Christian is automatically in the playoffs in this three-team district. So the battle for second will hinge on the only semifinal. Cambridge defeated Tampa Bay Christian twice in the regular season, but there's that old saying about beating a team three times in one season.
Class A, District 11 at Lakeside Christian Tuesday: Canterbury vs. Oldsmar Christian, 5 p.m.; Thursday: Academy at the Lakes vs. Lakeside Christian, 5; Citrus Park Christian vs. Canterbury/Oldsmar winner, 7; Saturday: final, 7. Citrus Park Christian has won four of its last five games with Bailey Hooker and Mady Kaplan each averaging double figures in scoring.

Call it the year of the junior. As the Hillsborough County girls basketball season heads into district tournament play this week, some of the top impact players are juniors. Yes, Holy Names senior Katie Davis is a senior and Sickles' Amber Henson just a sophomore, but here we take a look at four players who have taken their games to another level and will be important if their teams expect to get deep into the postseason.

Colette Eule, Tampa Catholic

Eule's skills fit perfectly with the Crusaders' get-up-and-go game plan, which makes Tampa Catholic a dangerous postseason team. Eule, left, is equally dangerous as a shooter and someone who drives to the basket with authority. She has averaged 20.4 points a game, scored in double figures in all but one game, and she has at least 18 points in every game but three. Add in 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.9 steals a game and it proves Eule is more than a scorer.

Jade Givens, Jefferson

Givens, a 5-foot-7 guard, is the engine that makes the top-dog Dragons go. She is quick on her feet and can make a play just as quickly. She is averaging 12.2 points a game and also gives Jefferson 4.2 assists a game. She's at her best, however, defensively. She leads the Dragons with 4.7 steals a game and usually will cover the opposition's best player. She has tallied seven or more steals in a game six times this season.

Leria Jenrette, Tampa Bay Tech

The 5-foot-8 junior, above center, is a big guard who might be the county's top playmaker. "She sees the floor better than anyone I've ever coached," Tampa Bay Tech coach Heather Glezen said. She is averaging 8.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game. She successfully returned Jan. 24 from being stabbed in her lower back on New Year's Eve and played the entire game Thursday in an overtime loss to Plant.

Michelle Taylor, Plant

The 5-foot-8 guard, above center, averages 12.7 points a game and is one of the leaders on a Panthers team primed for a deep playoff run. She is a menace on defense, one of the county's leaders in steals (5.7 a game), but she also is always around the basket, as shown by her 7.0 rebounds per game. She has registered five double doubles this year, including a 12-steal game against Chamberlain and a 20-point, 12-rebound effort last week in a three-point win over Tampa Bay Tech.

Girls basketball district preview: Juniors will play key roles 01/31/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 2, 2009 1:07pm]
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