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Experience is everything for PHCC

Now this is why Pasco-Hernando Community College basketball coach Bobby Bowman favors returners.

Of his six players back, one is the team's top scorer and two are neck-and-neck for the rebounding lead.

Guard Stanley Pringle is scoring at a 23.9 clip to lead the Conquistadors. Forwards Mike Ford and Japan Ruise rank first and second in rebounding with averages of 9.3 and 9.1, respectively.

"Obviously, we've got some experience," Bowman said. "It's just a combination of good chemistry."

Chemistry, balance and very few injuries have fueled the Conquistadors' hot start. PHCC opened the season with a five-game win streak and is 9-2 after Wednesday's 85-75 loss at Indian River.

In the Florida Community College Athletic Association poll (released Monday), PHCC is ranked fifth.

In a Nov. 25 win over Indian River, Pringle scored a game-high 31 points and Marquis Robinson came off the bench for Ruise, sidelined by an ankle injury for two games, to score 20. Trevor Lee, a versatile player as a forward/guard, chipped in with 15 in that 99-88 win.

Pringle, a sophomore who has signed with Marshall, is well ahead of last season's 16.5 scoring average when he made the all-Suncoast Conference first team and was its freshman of the year. Pringle has twice been named the Florida Community College Athletic Association's player of the week.

Bowman marvels at the play of Pringle, adding that rebounding on both ends by Ford and Ruise have been invaluable.

"The good thing about Japan and Ford is they're both power forwards who take pride in doing the blue-collar dirty work," Bowman said.

TWO FOR EACH: The Saint Leo men's and women's basketball teams each won a game this week and both have two wins.

The men evened their record at 2-2 after Monday's 84-55 defeat of Nova Southeastern. Leading the Lions to their second straight win was freshman Thomas Kaiser, who came off the bench to score 16 points.

Saint Leo's Richard Blue scored 15, Jordan Prais 14 and Jonathan Banks 11.

The women had four scorers in double figures and improved to 2-4 with Tuesday's 74-55 win over Edward Waters. Amanda Hollaway scored a game-high 20 in that game. Roni Carithers added 11 and Saint Leo got 10 each from Melissa Guerero and Marquita Fenn.

TOP 10: Saint Leo swimmer Julie Carusone has posted two top-10 Division II national times during dual meets this season.

A sophomore, Carusone's time of two minutes, 10.6 seconds in the 200-meter individual medley was good for eighth. And a 1:06.84 in the 100 breaststroke was ninth. Both marks came in a 116-84 loss to Rollins on Nov. 17.

As a freshman, Carusone was an All-American in four events and holds most of the second-year Lions' records.

Contact Steve Lee at lee@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6517.

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