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Can't-miss matchups

Who: Springstead boys at Nature Coast

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Lowdown: Not only are the Eagles and Sharks fierce county rivals (remember that Nature Coast football win earlier in the autumn?), they're the top basketball teams in the county and the district this season. And they're also undefeated. On Tuesday night, they'll finally face off. What makes this matchup especially intriguing is the contrast in styles. Springstead features four starters who stand at least 6 feet 3, while Nature Coast routinely throws four guards on the court.

Who: Nature Coast boys at Hernando

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The Lowdown: Hernando fell to Springstead in its first county game of the year, but the Leopards have a chance to get back on track - not to mention make a big statement - when they face the Sharks. Could this be a letdown game for a Nature Coast team coming off an emotional game against Springstead? Can Hernando's new starters jell and topple a team that has established itself as an early contender? Tune in.

The ballers

(Top performances from the week that was)

Ford Manuel, Hernando: Posted a pair of 20-point performances for the Leopards.

Darryn Frazier, Central: Had 19 points and six rebounds in the Bears' win over Bishop McLaughlin.

Ethan Selph, Springstead: Senior center had 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a win over Hernando.

April Griffey, Hernando: Had a monster game, recording 26 points and 14 rebounds as the Leopards beat Hudson for their second victory of the season.

Courtney Gray, Central: Seldom-used guard came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers in a loss to Wesley Chapel.

In the paint ...

..news and notes from the week

SEDLACK RETURNS: The game between Central and River Ridge on Tuesday might look like an uninteresting matchup between two struggling teams, but look again: Former Bears coach John Sedlack will return to Central for the first time since becoming the new head coach at River Ridge last spring. It will be interesting to see Sedlack pacing the visitor's sideline: He started the program at Central and spent 18 years there.

A BIG WIN: Springstead girls coach Todd Toomer said he saw his young team grow up quite a bit during last Friday's 42-26 win over River Ridge.

Sophomore Brittany Gibson led the Eagles with 14 points. Springstead combined for 14 steals.

The Eagles (1-7, 0-6 in the district) rode that momentum into the first half of Tuesday's loss to Pasco . But the team, led by senior Hilary Fiocca and her 12.3 points per game, features several underclassmen. There's still room to grow, and Toomer knows that.

"They just play hard," Toomer said. "That's all I ask for right now. I'm not concerned about wins and losses. I'm concerned about a positive attitude."

SELPH IMPROVEMENT: Springstead big man Ethan Selph had been relatively quiet through three games. But after a breakout game against Hernando in which he scored 17 points, some area coaches think he is on the verge of becoming an impact player.

Hernando coach Jeff Laing used the word "dominant" when describing Selph. The 6-foot-7 center was also impressive in a win over Central. Though he did not light up the scoreboard, he had several thundering blocks and routinely forced the Bears to alter their shots.

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