HomeTeam 15: Girls basketball power rankings

Plant moves into the top spot after dispatching Tampa Bay Tech last week.
Tampa Bay Tech sophomore K'Nisha Godfrey drives against Plant junior Honor Culpepper during first-half action last week. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Tampa Bay Tech sophomore K'Nisha Godfrey drives against Plant junior Honor Culpepper during first-half action last week. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Published December 3 2018

The Elite

1. Plant (4-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Leto, Wednesday at Freedom, Friday vs. Wiregrass Ranch

Why they moved up: The Panthers beat Tampa Bay Tech 45-40 last week. It wasn't the prettiest game ever played, but Plant is deep and can overcome an off night. Sophomore Kendal Cheesman can fill it up. Sophomore Nyla Jean and junior Honor Culpepper are shooters. Senior Alexys Mathangani is a 6-foot-2 power forward who is good at clogging up the middle.

2. Tampa Bay Tech (4-1)

Up next: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest, Wednesday vs. Bloomingdale, Saturday vs. Miami Country Day.

Why they fell: The Plant loss drops the Titans a spot, but it wasn't a bad loss. They can play better and have a talented, young team. Freshman Janiah Barker is certainly a player to watch. They bounced back with two lopsided wins over Spoto and King. The big game this week is Country Day, which is ranked eighth in the state.

3. Carrollwood Day (3-1)

Up next: Today vs. Land O'Lakes, Tuesday vs. Calvary Christian

Why they stayed put: No problem at all last week for the Patriots, who easily defeated Lakewood Ranch and Northside Christian. Probably shouldn't be much trouble this week either. They are well-rounded and can give teams fits either underneath the basket or on the perimeter. Calvary Christian is the first Class 4A, District 4 this season.

4. Lakewood (4-1)

Up next: Today at Northeast, Wednesday at Gibbs, Thursday vs. Pinellas Park

Why they stayed put: The Spartans opened the season with a loss to Carrollwood Day. But since then they have won four straight and the last three haven't been close. That might be the case this week as well. The Spartans are fast and play full-court defense, which forces lots of mistakes by opponents.

5. Robinson (3-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Blake, Wednesday vs. Durant

Why they moved up: The Knights won three straight last week. As long as Kaliah Henderson is on the floor they have a chance. Durant is off to a good start and could be a challenge this week.

In the hunt

6. Clearwater (2-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Boca Ciega, Thursday at Osceola

Why they moved up: The Tornadoes didn't play in the opening week but got two wins over Dixie Hollins and Northeast in overtime last week. Olivia Jones is the player to watch on the outside and D'mya Ferguson is hard to guard on the inside. This week shouldn't be too taxing as the Tornadoes continue to try to improve.

7. Brooks DeBartolo (2-2)

Up next: Wednesday at Superior Collegiate, Friday-Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout

Why they fell: The Phoenix lost on Saturday to a good Naples Gulf Coast team. So far they are led by a sophomore and a freshman. Sophomore Amarie Godwin averages 17.5 points per game and freshman Jaela Davis averages 17.3 ppg. The weekend could be difficult with games against host Spruce Creek and Palm Bay Heritage.

8. Seffner Christian (1-3)

Up next: Tuesday at St. Petersburg Catholic, Friday-Saturday at Spruce Creek Shootout

Why they fell: The Crusaders started the season 0-3 against very good opponents. The first win came against Indian Rocks Christian, a Class 4A, District 4 opponent. The schedule heats up again this weekend at Spruce Creek, where they play Kissimmee St. Cloud and Naples Gulf Coast.

9. River Ridge (4-0)

Up next: Today vs. Mitchell, Tuesday at Pasco, Thursday vs. Anclote

Why they stayed put: The Knights got some bad news last week. Leading scorer I'ces Utegg is out for the year with a torn ACL. Junior forward Shannan Korovich is out three months with mono, which is basically the entire season. That is going to be a lot to overcome as the season wears on. It will put pressure on other players to try and fill the scoring void.

10. East Lake (5-0)

Up next: Today at Cypress Creek, Tuesday at Palm Harbor University, Friday at Pinellas Park

Why they moved up: The Eagles are coming off a six-point win over St. Petersburg last week, the only game of the five that has been decided by single digits. Summer Quigley is off and running with 25.8 points per game. She is not the only scoring threat. Raygen Bostick has scored 16.8 ppg in four games played.

Don’t overlook

11. Alonso (2-1)

Up next: Today at King, Tuesday vs. Chamberlain, Friday at Riverview

Why they moved down: The first loss came last week to a good Jefferson team. This week the Ravens should be able to get back on the winning track. Riverview is the first Class 9A, District 6 game this season and will give them a good gauge as to where they stand.

12. Weeki Wachee (5-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Lecanto, Thursday vs. Nature Coast

Why they moved in: The Hornets have rolled through their first five games, winning each game by double digits. They spread out the scoring, with senior Seytia Hill (15.6 ppg), senior Mykenna Corbett (13.8 ppg) and Shayleese Vazquez (11.4 ppg) all in averaging double digits. With plenty of depth and five seniors, Weeki Wachee is a team to watch all season.

13. Jefferson (4-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Lennard, Wednesday vs. Hillsborough, Friday at Spoto

Why they moved in: The Dragons have looked good through four games. Senior Nyanna Williams has looked especially good with 32.8 points per game. Fellow senior Naeve Duarte scores 10. 3 ppg for a team that scores 55 points per game.

14. Land O’Lakes (3-0)

Up next: Today at Carrollwood Day, Wednesday vs. Hudson, Thursday at Mitchell

Why they moved in: The Gators picked up three wins last week, including over Wiregrass Ranch and Academy of the Holy Names. They don't score a bunch of points but only allow 31 points per game. Sophomore Mia Nicholson is the top scorer with 11.7 ppg. Carrollwood Day will be a big test this week and Mitchell is a rivalry game.

15. Academy of the Holy Names (3-1)

Up next: Friday at Clearwater Central Catholic

Why they moved in: The Crusaders bounced back from a loss to Jefferson by beating Gulf in double overtime. This week is light with just one Class 5A, District 9 game at CCC. They have 11 players who have scored already this season, with Greta Dieck leading the way with 11.3 points per game.

On the bubble: Wiregrass Ranch (4-2), Northeast (2-2), Armwood (1-1), Tampa Prep (2-0), Boca Ciega (2-0), Countryside (2-1), Tarpon Springs (2-1)