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Area teams face rugged task in District 9 tourney

Can anybody keep host-school Wildwood High from taking the Class 2A, District 9 boys basketball crown? Perhaps, but it will take something above and beyond a good effort.

"I think someone will have to play an outstanding game, and hope to do some things defensively to shut them down," South Sumter coach Von Moreland said of the Wildcats. "I don't think anybody can kid themselves and play an average game and beat them."

Wildwood is defending district champion and No.

1 seed in the six-team tournament. The Wildcats (20-3) also are ranked No.

3 in the 2A state poll.

But that ranking is not necessarily a blessing, according to Wildwood coach Ernie Lorenz.

"I'd say (the ranking) is more of a liability," Lorenz said. "It's good to be ranked because it shows a degree of greatness, but when you're working with high school kids they're sometimes not mature enough to put it in perspective.

"As a ranked team you have a lot of people taking pot shots at you."

The tournament begins today when No.

3 seed Crystal River (11-13) meets No.

6 Brooksville Central (10-15) at 6 p.m. No.

4 Dunnellon (6-22) and No.

5 Lecanto (2-25) tangle in the second game at 7:30 p.m.

Central did not play any district games this season, its first of varsity competition. For that reason, the Bears were seeded last, despite having a better record than Dunnellon and Lecanto.

The championship game is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Wildwood's last loss, and only defeat by a 2A school, was Jan. 16 against Tavares. The Wildcats, who have won 10 straight games since then, rely on the scoring of senior Dorie Harris (15.9 points per game) and junior Ben Bellamy (12.7).

Crystal River features senior forward Sandy Weaver, the tournament's leading scorer (21.7 ppg).

"There's always an upset in the district tournament," Pirates coach Bill Murray said. "I don't know where it's going to be because it's so unpredictable, but there always is one."

For more information, call Fred Willett at (904) 688-1735.

p.m. Game 2 _ Dunnellon vs. Lecanto, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Game 3 _ outh Sumter vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m. Game 4 _ Wildwood vs. r game 2, 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Championship game, 7:30 p.m.

Who: Wildwood (20-3), South Sumter (15-11), Crystal River (11-13), Dunnellon (6-22), Lecanto (2-25) and Brooksville Central (10-15).

What's at stake: The Class 2A, District 9 boys basketball title and a berth in the 2A-Region V game Tuesday.

Where: Wildwood High School.

When: Today through Saturday.

How to get there: Arriving in Wildwood on State Road 44, turn north (left) onto Highway 301 (Main Street). Proceed to the stop light at Huey Street and turn east (right). Follow the road around the diamond-shaped intersection approximately a half mile to the second school facility, which is Wildwood High.

Admission: $3.


Thursday: Game 1 _ Crystal River vs. Brooksville Central, 6 p.m. Game 2 _ Dunnellon vs. Lecanto, 7:30 p.m.

Friday: Game 3 _ South Sumter vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m. Game 4 _ Wildwood vs. winner game 2, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday: Championship game, 7:30 p.m.

PORT RICHEY _ Following Tuesday night's 59-37 loss to Haines City in the Class 3A, Region IV high school girls basketball championship, Ridgewood coach Jim Bavetta offered no excuses.

However, after the game Bavetta did wish some shots would have fallen in the first quarter. "If some of those shots would've gone, we may have had a chance," Bavetta said. "It wasn't their defense that was stopping us. We were beating them to the basket."

Sophomore Charlotte Jones was a pleasant surprise in the Class 3A, District 7 tournament last week. In three games, Jones averaged 11 points and six rebounds.

However, on Tuesday night, Jones scored only five points and had five rebounds. The Rams (14-11) became the first team from Pasco County to advance to the regional playoffs since Zephyrhills in 1986.

Lecanto coach vows return to region

CLERMONT _ Lecanto High girls basketball coach Ron Allan knew there wasn't much his team could do to stop Clermont all-state center Tonya Berry Tuesday night. Berry, a senior, scored a career-high 40 points in an 82-57 win over the Panthers for the Class 2A, Region V title.

The appearance was Lecanto's first in a region game, but Allan vowed at the night's end that it would not be the last.

"We will be back," Allan said. "We've got seven coming back next year and four or five up from the jayvee. We're going to be in this game again."

That's not to say the Panthers were out of it on Tuesday, despite a lopsided score. Clermont led by 14 early in the third period, but Lecanto closed to within seven early in the fourth. Only in the final three minutes did the Highlanders pull away.

"We played a real good third quarter of basketball, but we were in a little deeper hole than we could get out of," Allan said.

Clermont coach Gary Russo echoed Allan's prediction that the Panthers would play for more regional titles in the near future.

"They didn't quit," Russo said. "You have to be impressed with what they're doing over there. I'm sure they'll be back in the region again soon.

"They were down 12 or 14 and they came back. They're really scrappy. We had to use a lot more of our bench than we're used to."

Boat inspections are set for Saturday

HERNANDO BEACH _ Boat inspections sponsored by the Hernando Beach Yacht Club are scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will conduct safety inspections at the yacht club's docks, located behind its clubhouse on Shoal Line Boulevard here.