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Chamberlain aims for its third title in past four years

Chamberlain High captured at least a tie for the Western Conference American Division boys basketball championship when second-place Gaither fell to King 91-82 Tuesday. The Chiefs can win their third division title in four years with a victory over winless Leto tonight.

With district tournaments set to tip off next week, about the only other thing to settle in this weekend's final regular-season games are the district seedings.

Robinson clinched the Western Conference National Division title with a thrilling 90-84 overtime victory over King on Tuesday night and should be the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A, District 10 tournament at Jesuit next week.

"In essence, we're 16-6 without a starter back from last year," said Robinson coach Jan Bennett. "That's a testament to the kids who came out and worked so hard all summer."

Chamberlain, which has won seven of its last eight games, will likely be the second seed in the Class 4A, District 6 tournament. Host Brandon should grab the top seed, but six teams have a legitimate shot at the district title won last year by King.

"This year there's more parity as far as teams that can win it than there's been in five or six years," said Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin, noting that Gaither, Hillsborough, King and perhaps East Bay could pull an upset. "We struggled early, but the last couple of weeks we've been playing great."

Armwood should be the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A, District 5 tournament at Winter Haven. Lake Gibson will likely be seeded No. 1. Plant City and Bloomingdale will probably be seeded third and fourth, respectively.

In other district tournaments involving Hillsborough County teams, Tampa Catholic will be the top seed in the Class 2A, District 11 tournament at River Ridge, and Bayshore Christian will be No. 1 in the Class A-9 tournament at Lakeland-Santa Fe Catholic.

1,000-point club: Three county players eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in their high school careers during the past week. A record seven players have joined the exclusive club this season. Eighty county players have now amassed 1,000 points.

The latest additions are Mike Connell of Riverhills Christian, who scored a school-record 41 points in a 133-35 win over Oldsmar Christian last Friday. Connell, who added 15 points Saturday against Admiral Farragut and 14 against Temple Heights on Tuesday, now has 1,049 career points.

Also last Friday, Gaither guard Joe Jackson had 15 points in an 87-62 win over Leto to surpass the 1,000-point milestone. Jackson added 15 points Tuesday and now has 1,029 career points. He is within striking distance of the school record of 1,086 set by Kevin Starnes, now a Tampa Prep coach.

Then on Tuesday, DeDe Sanders became the first King player to score 1,000 points with 26 in the victory over Gaither.

"All you have to do is see him with a ball in his hand to see that he's a great shooter," said King coach Mike Moran. "It's pretty obvious he's a scorer."

Tampa Catholic's Andrew Walter, Bloomingdale's Chris Akers, Chamberlain's Shane Vogt and East Bay's Robert Barger all scored their 1,000th career point earlier this season.

Settle for a tie: Bayshore Christian equaled its school-record winning streak of 26 games on Feb. 13, but the Faith Warriors could not do better. They were defeated by Daytona Seabreeze 85-64 last Friday in a semifinal game of the Blue Darter Classic in Apopka.

The loss dropped the Faith Warriors out of the top spot in the Class A poll, which it held for three weeks. Bayshore is ranked No. 2 this week.

"We lost against a school with 2,000 students," said Bayshore coach Herman Valdes. "We were losing but knocked it down to five and they came down and stroked four consecutive threes." In the tournament consolation game, Bayshore defeated T.W. Josey of Augusta, Ga., 80-64 after trailing by 15 at halftime.

The county's only other ranked team, Tampa Catholic, went 1-1 during the last week and fell from No. 7 to No. 8 in the Class 2A poll.

Bayshore (28-1 prior to Thursday's game against Tampa Prep) plays at No. 4 Keswick Christian at 7:30 tonight for the Bay Conference championship. The Faith Warriors conclude the regular season Saturday against Riverhills, which has won seven in a row.

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