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BASKETBALL

Keep it clean, boys

The much-anticipated rematch of the Hernando and Tarpon Springs boys basketball teams will take place at 6:30 tonight at Imhoff Gymnasium.

After Hernando's 50-40 victory at Tarpon Springs on Jan. 7, a brawl broke out involving as many as 50 people. Tarpon Springs took disciplinary action against two players and another student, and Hernando coach Charlie Williams said Thursday that junior forward Dee Brown was suspended from one game and half of another last week for his role in the skirmish.

"It hurt him to sit out, but he understood why it had to happen," said Williams, who said Brown will be in the Leopards' lineup tonight. "I'm not condoning what happened, but I know we weren't at fault."

There was talk initially that the game might be canceled or played in closed quarters without the public. But now that everything's settled down, the game will be open to the public, but played an hour earlier than usual, with tipoff set for 6:30 p.m. Williams said Tarpon Springs chose not to have the scheduled junior varsity game contested.

Hernando athletic director Rodney Byrd said additional security measures will be taken in light of the earlier incident. Wherein one or two police officers are usually on hand for a varsity game, Byrd said three will be in attendance tonight, along with one to cover the district girls soccer match at Tom Fisher Stadium at the same time.

Tarpon Springs principal John Nicely said he would be attending the game in person. Hernando principal Elaine Sullivan did not return calls placed to her office this week.

WRESTLING

2 lbs of prevention

Not unlike the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates on Wednesday in an effort to keep up with the booming U.S. economy, high school wrestling has made a subtle change to keep pace with its ever-growing competitors.

You might not have noticed it, but on Jan. 17, all weight classes went up by 2 pounds. What was the 103-pound class, for instance, is now 105. The move is called a "growth allowance," which basically concedes that teenage wrestlers will grow on their own during the course of the season.

According to the FHSAA's wrestling manual, "this regulation is intended to encourage wrestlers to increase their strength, and thereby their muscle mass, and to discourage wrestlers from crash dieting to reduce weight so as to remain eligible in a lower weight class."

Wouldn't it be nice if we all were mandated an allowance of an extra 2 pounds on a regular basis?

RUNNING

26 miles to Las Vegas

It's hard to imagine a marathon as just a small part of a larger goal, but that's what the Las Vegas Marathon will be this weekend for Hernando softball and cross country coach Ernie Chatman.

Chatman is working on running marathons in all 50 states, and Nevada will be his 11th checked off the list. (We're getting tired just thinking of all 50 states.) He's headed out West today and will have two days to enjoy the less-tiring aspects of the city before running on Sunday morning.

"I have no clue what I'll do while I'm out there, but we'll do something," said Chatman, who is not wasting any time getting to state No. 12 _ on Feb. 26 he'll run a marathon in Tennessee.

"I haven't been feeling too well this week, so I might wind up just running this one and waiting to run the next one a little harder," he said.

BEST BET

WHAT: Boys soccer.

WHO: Springstead vs. Hudson.

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Hudson High.

WHY: The Eagles locked up a playoff berth with a 6-2 win against Zephyrhills on Wednesday, but Springstead's stingy defense is now one victory away from the Class 2A, District 6 title and home-field advantage to open the playoffs. The two schools split two meetings during the regular season, with Hudson taking a 2-0 victory on its home field in December and Springstead countering with a 2-1 win on Jan. 7. Leading Springstead's offensive charge is junior midfielder Stephen Bates, who scored a hat trick in the win against Zephyrhills, while Hudson counters with sophomore Robert Pollock, who recently posted his first career hat trick against River Ridge. The district champion will host the loser of Friday's Class 2A, District 5 final between Citrus and Crystal River, while the winner of that game will host the District 6 runner-up.

_ Compiled by Greg Auman

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