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Bob Putnam - Preps reporter

Preps reporter

I've been a staff writer since 1996. My career started before that as a correspondent with the St. Petersburg Times. I covered former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current USF assistant Shaun King's first start as a quarterback at Gibbs High. Writing about locals is a passion. I'm a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High. My great grandfather owned a farm in Pinellas Park. My father was among the first graduating classes at Boca Ciega. Sometimes I venture into other sports. Once, I tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was even assigned to one of their minor league affiliates. Well, sort of. Dan Jennings, the team's director of scouting at the time, said he was sending me to Walla, Walla, Wash. He was kidding. I think. Well, either way, I'm still here doing what I love to do.

  1. North Dakota State guard Tyson Ward (24) moves with the ball during the Summit League championship game against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. NDSU defeated UND 89-53 and would have moved on to the NCAA Tournament.
  2. Spring break in Hillsborough County usually involves plenty of pop at the plate. But the Saladino Tournament, which included Jesuit in the field this year, won't be happening next week.
  3. Coming off a week of no games, Academy of the Holy Names scores a huge win over Canterbury.
  4. Hillsborough senior forward Cantia Rahming, who was among the leaders nationally in rebounds much of the season, will be in Thursday's county all-star game.
  5. East Lake softball is on a roll recently, with Tuesday's romp over an improved Dunedin their fifth win in a row.
  6. Paige Lassiter, here with Tampa Catholic a year ago, is now a key player for Alonso, which moves to the top of our area softball rankings.
  7. Tampa Catholic forward Alijah Harrison cannot bear to look at the scoreboard moments before the final horn sounds in the Class 4A state final Saturday afternoon. Stranahan beat the Crusders 71-64.
  8. Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa paces the sideline during the first half of Thursday's Class 4A semifinal at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
  9. East Lake guard Dionte Blanch (1) drives the ball past Bartow guard Amarion Frazier (20) during the first half at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland on Thursday.
  10. Tampa Catholic senior Johni Broome (5) looks to drive against the Lake Highland Prep defense during the first half at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland for Thursday's Class 4A semifinal.
  11. Tampa Catholic's Kobe Knox has a chance to do something older brother Kevin never did: win a state title in high school.
  12. Bayshore Christian's C.J. Crews (15) shoots a 3-pointer over Orlando Christian Prep guard Terrance Reese (0) during the first half at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
  13. East Lake point guard Dionte Blanch leads the Eagles in scoring as a senior, averaging 24.2 points per game.
  14. Tampa Catholic's Johni Broome, who is averaging 19.5 points and 10.9 rebounds, is a big reason the Crusaders are heading back to the state final four.
  15. Bayshore Christian coach Broderick Day, in his 10th year coaching the Faith Warriors, is leading his team into the Class 2A semifinals in Lakeland later this week.
  16. Jadeyn Ruszkowski, center, and Newsome have had plenty to be happy about so far this season.
  17. Jesuit senior Zach Board celebrates after scoring his third goal in Saturday's Class 5A state soccer final in Deland.
  18. East Lake guard Dionte Blanch scores 35 points to lead the Eagles to a 78-61 victory over Fort Myers in a Class 6A region final Friday night.
  19. With Mike Trigg, right, back in the lineup, Seffner Christian has a very real shot at returning to the state tournament.
  20. East Lake's Brooke Roberts slaps a ball to leftfield, a hit that led to an error, a base-clearing moment and a race home for Roberts during an 11-3 victory over Durant in last year's Lady 'Canes Spring Classic semifinal.
  21. Shorecrest players hug, cry and console each other after losing to Orange Park St. Johns Country Day in the Class 2A title game at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand.
  22. Caitlin Blankenship, along with older sister Brooke, moves on from Academy at the Lakes, which won consecutive state titles, to River Ridge.
  23. St. Petersburg boys basketball coach Chris Blackwell, seen here in a game earlier this season, said his team had to utilize freshmen as Tuesday's game at Fort Myers wore on ... and on ... and on for five overtimes.