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Bayshore Christian leads A-9 corps into tourney

Bayshore Christian has everything going its way as the Class A, District 9 boys basketball tournament opens today. The Faith Warriors are the 11-team tournament's top seed, have won 15 straight games, and are ranked No.

10 in the state. As if Bayshore needed much more of an advantage, it has the home court for the four-day A-9 tourney.

Seeds 6 through 11 square off in today's three opening-round games. Riverhills Christian (8) takes on Lakeland-Beacon Prep (9) in the 3 p.m. matchup; Berkeley Prep (7) meets Tampa Baptist (10) at 5 p.m.; and Tampa Prep (6) draws Lake Wales-Vanguard (11) at 7 p.m.

After an off day Wednesday, the tournament resumes with four games Thursday. Temple Heights (4) faces Lakeland Christian (5) at 2 p.m., and Lakeland-Pathway Christian (3), Lakeland-Santa Fe (2) and Bayshore Christian make their tournament debuts in Thursday's final three games.

"I think Santa Fe and Pathway both have legitimate chances to win it, and when Temple Heights and Lakeland Christian have all their ducks in a row, they're tough," said Bayshore Christian coach Herman Valdes, whose club opens Thursday at 8 p.m. against the Riverhills-Beacon Prep winner.

"We're playing well. Our bench is playing well. Everybody's performing. Our work ethic has been great, and our intensity is unbelievable."

Bayshore is 13-1 against district foes this season. The only loss was Dec.

5 at Santa Fe.

Three of Hillsborough County's other four district tournaments begin Thursday. Class 4A-6 is at Chamberlain, 4A-5 at Lakeland-Lake Gibson, and 2A-11 at Tampa Catholic. The 3A-8 tournament, at Lake Wales, begins with one game Wednesday.