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PLAYERS TO WATCH

JACKIE PUGH

SCHOOL: Pasco.

HT: 6-1 YR: Sr. POS: F

COMMENT: All-Suncoast Player of the Year last year. Rated as state's No. 2 recruit. Averaged 22.6 points and 11.7 rebounds last season. Led team in steals (3.5 pg) and assists (6.0). Can play any position on the floor with equal effectiveness. Unstoppable when she has to be. Took games over last year, and there is no one around who can stop her.

COACH JOHN EDWARDS SAYS: "Jackie Pugh is the best high school basketball player to ever come through Pasco County. I can't see anybody being any better than her. She is the total package."

ASHLEA THOMAS

SCHOOL: River Ridge.

HT: 5-8 YR: Jr. POS: F

COMMENT: Led the Royal Knights in scoring last year with 11.7 a contest. Came on strong at end of the season, averaging close to 18 ppg down the stretch. Very quick off the dribble and owns a great vertical leap. Has best hang time of any player in the county. Was all-conference in volleyball and track (long jump) last year.

COACH BRIAN COLDING: "Ashlea is quick, a good defensive player, and has a nice shot. She's probably our fastest player on the floor."

NICKI CLEVENGER

SCHOOL: Land O'Lakes.

HT: 5-9 YR: Sr. POS: G

COMMENT: Four-year starter led team in scoring with 13.5 ppg, and chipped in with 4.5 rebounds and 3 assists. A pure shooter. Team leader on and off the court. Able to post up smaller guards and plays good defense. Will see some time at small forward.

COACH JERRY STACY: "She's the best pure shooter we have. She's an excellent spot-up shooter."

FRANCESCA HANKINS

SCHOOL: Land O'Lakes.

HT: 5-7 YR: Jr. POS: PG

COMMENT: Has started since freshman year, when she led the Gators in scoring. Was second in scoring last year with 13 ppg. Loves to run, and is most effective in transition. Can play either guard spot.

COACH JERRY STACY: "One of her keys is she's a transition player and just loves to run."

KRISTEN SCHLEICHER

SCHOOL: Zephyrhills.

HT: 5-11 YR: Sr. POS: F

COMMENT: Led team in scoring last year with 11 a game, and averaged almost as many rebounds. All-SAC selection. Expected to anchor Bulldogs' inside game. Big and strong. Hard to move inside and a solid shot-blocker if she stays out of foul trouble.

COACH ERNIE PITTMAN: "We expect Kristen to have another good year. She'll be strong inside."

_ JOHN C. COTEY

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