1. Tampa Bay Tech (13-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough, Thursday at Leto, Friday vs. East Bay, Saturday vs. Miami Country Day (MLK Shootout)
The scoop: The Titans had no trouble with their three opponents last week. There are four games this week and it’s a sure bet they are already thinking about Country Day, which won the Class 4A state title last year but is 10-8 this season. That game is at 7:30 at Chamberlain. Tech will also play St. Francis (Ga.) on Monday in the MLK Shootout.
2. Plant (14-1)
This week: Tuesday at Alonso, Wednesday vs. Armwood, Friday at Wharton, Saturday vs. Lakewood (MLK tournament)
The scoop: After three wins last week, including one over Palm Beach Lakes on Saturday, the Panthers have an interesting week. Aside from three games during the week, they will play a game at the MLK tournament on Saturday at Lakewood, then a game against Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas on MLK day at Chamberlain. That will test their depth, which is pretty good. Plant has seven players who get significant minutes and 12 players who have seen the court.
3. Carrollwood Day (15-2)
This week: Thursday at Bishop McLaughlin
The scoop: A light week after two wins last week in a shootout in Winter Haven. The Patriots have won four straight since a loss to Madison (Wisc.) over the break. That streak may continue for a while. They do have to play at Lakewood next week, and games against Clearwater and Braden River at the end of the season will surely get them ready for another postseason run.
4. Brooks DeBartolo (13-3)
This week: Wednesday at Sarasota Booker, Saturday vs. Miami Central
The scoop: The Phoenix have now won six straight after two wins last week. They are very balanced, with four players (Triniti Youngblood, Jaela Davis, Amarie Godwin and Brionna McClinton) averaging double figures in scoring. They score nearly 60 points as a team, so they are tough to defend.
5. Wesley Chapel (16-2)
This week: Monday at Land O’Lakes, Wednesday at Tampa Prep
The scoop: The game against Tampa Prep is a rematch of Dec. 6 game, which the Wildcats narrowly won 63-60. That is clearly the big game this week. Kayla Grant, Mia Nicholson, Ariana Rivera-Heppenstall and Emari Lewis can all score. Developing depth behind them is the key as the season wears on.
6. Seffner Christian (14-5)
This week: Friday vs. Tampa Catholic (Lakewood MLK tournament), Saturday vs. Ocala West Port (Lakewood MLK tournament)
The scoop: Just one game last week for the Crusaders, a 46-34 win over Fort Myers Bishop Verot. Not much heavy lifting this week either. They are another well-balanced team that has scorers like C.C. Mays, Tajah Spaulding, Kali Barber, Nini Davenport and Chimera Iloanya. It looks like Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic will be the big challenge in Class 3A, District 10.
7. Tampa Prep (10-3)
This week: Monday vs. American Collegiate, Wednesday vs. Wesley Chapel, Friday vs. Sunlake
The scoop: The Terrapins got a nice win over Berkeley Prep on Saturday as part of the Headmasters’ Challenge. The big game this week is Berkeley Prep. As usual, Kailyn Gilbert led the team against the Bucs with 30 points. But she is not the only player who can score. Freshman Arianna Mosley gets more than 11 points per game.
8. Keswick Christian (14-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Countryside, Thursday at Northside Christian, Friday vs. Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy
The scoop: The Crusaders won a close one against Academy of the Holy Names last week, 41-40. Jakara Akins scored 15 points in that one. Yasmin Baroni and Sydney Jackwin have been big contributors all season. Keswick hasn’t lost to an in-state opponent so far. That isn’t likely to change this week.
9. Clearwater (9-4)
This week: Monday at Bradenton Southeast, Tuesday vs. Lakewood, Wednesday at Palm Harbor University, Thursday vs. Boca Ciega
The scoop: The Tornadoes are loaded up with games this week. Southeast and Boca Ciega are district games. Lakewood is certainly not a pushover. And the PHU game will be the first trip back to the school for current Clearwater coach Darian Dublin since he left the Hurricanes. The Tornadoes weren’t really tested last week, but this week will be telling.
10. Jefferson (10-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Middleton, Wednesday vs. Chamberlain, Friday at Durant
The scoop: The Dragons cruised to two wins last week. The winning should continue this week. Elayza Jackson and Jaden Harris have been the big scorers. Zanayliah Hutchinson is a 3-point threat.
11. Fivay (11-2)
This week: Monday vs. Anclote, Tuesday at Land O’Lakes
The scoop: The Falcons just keep on rolling. They have won eight straight and should be able to keep that streak going this week. This young team of juniors and sophomores plays good defense and gets just enough offense to win.
12. Wiregrass Ranch (10-4)
This week: Thursday vs. Tampa Catholic, Friday at Freedom
The scoop: The Bulls lost to River Ridge over the break but came back with a convincing win over the Knights last week. There was also a loss to Brooks DeBartolo, but it was competitive. Zoi Evans is tough to stop under the basket. She averages 14 points per game, the only Bull who is in double figures.
13. Lakewood (8-8)
This week: Tuesday at Clearwater, Friday vs. Miami Norland (MLK tournament), Saturday vs. Plant (MLK tournament)
The scoop: The schedule has been brutal, and it doesn’t ease up this week. Despite the record, the Spartans are still the top team in Class 4A, District 10, which includes Academy of the Holy Names (10-8). No other teams in the district have a winning record.
14. Weeki Wachee (12-5)
This week: Tuesday at Lecanto, Wednesday at Cypress Creek, Friday at Springstead
The scoop: The Hornets won three straight last week. There is a good chance of doing that again this week. Sophomore Sy Crowley has been a pleasant surprise with 18.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. Morgan McDaniel (15.7 ppg) and Princess Hester (16.4 ppg) are also offensive threats.
15. Northeast (14-4)
This week: Monday vs. Boca Ciega, Tuesday at Calvary Christian, Thursday vs. Pinellas Park
The scoop: The Vikings had a challenging schedule prior to January. This month is not so tough. They have won four straight and should be able to make it seven straight after this week. Tarpon Springs next Tuesday may be the most difficult game left on the schedule. Freshman Laniya Fuller and senior Kanesha Hall lead the team in scoring.
On the bubble
River Ridge (10-7), Hernando Christian (13-1), Academy of the Holy Names (10-8), Armwood (8-7), Strawberry Crest (8-6), East Lake (9-6), Bishop McLaughlin (10-6), Mitchell (10-6).