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Host basketball team edges Wharton in Seminole Shootout

Berkeley Prep and Clearwater also pull out tight thrillers Saturday.
Saturday's Seminole Shootout was full of closely contested basketball action. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]

SEMINOLE — Four days ago, the Seminole boys basketball team had its worst shooting performance of the season. That was a big reason the Warhawks let a close game slip away down the stretch in a loss to Gibbs.

Warhawks coach Josh Walker wanted to see how his players responded from that setback. They rebounded, beating Bradenton Manatee to stay undefeated in Class 6A, District 10. But an even bigger test loomed in Saturday’s Keith MacCollom Shootout — a matchup with always powerful Wharton.

Taking control from the start, the host Warhawks hit tough shots from long range and in the paint to win 51-47.

“It was nice to see the way we were able to come back that loss to Gibbs,” Walker said.

Seminole (12-5) led every quarter and went up by double digits in the fourth. The sizable was due in large part to the production of Parker Conitz, who led all scorers with 21 points.

Still, the Wildcats (14-2) showed some resolve. They kept coming back, cutting the deficit to three in the final minute. Wharton had three players in double figures — Carr Thiam (15 points), Josh Barnett (13) and Gio Reyes (10).

“I think the world of (Wharton) coach Tommy Tonelli,” Walker said. “He’s a tremendous coach. If we can play defense against their offense, we can pretty much play defense with anybody.”

Berkeley Prep 59, Anclote 58

The Buccaneers had an impressive record but were still waiting for a signature victory against an area opponent.

They finally got one at the Keith MacCollom Shootout. RJ Garcia made sure of it.

The junior guard swished a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to lift Berkeley Prep to a thrilling victory over Anclote.

“We knew we were going to be challenged,” said Buccaneers coach Renaldo Garcia, who is also RJ’s father. “Anclote is a great team, a big test for us. We lost to Tampa Prep last week. It’s always tough to lose to your rival but it was the wake up call that we needed.”

Berkeley Prep (14-2) had four players reach double figures in scoring — Kegan Karnes (15 points), Garcia (13), CJ Hawkins (12) and Varun Ajjarapu (11).

The Sharks (13-5) were led by Jakob Hester, who had 21 points, and Jalen Cooper, who had 16.

Clearwater 62, Sebring 61

Last week was a rough one for the Tornadoes, who lost to East Lake and Lakewood. But Clearwater bounced back from that with three straight wins entering Saturday’s matchup with Sebring.

The momentum continued with the Tornadoes rallying in the fourth quarter, then holding on to win. Better still, Clearwater did it without Max Jones, who was hurt in a victory over Countryside the night before.

CJ Lee had 23 points and eight rebounds. Two others — Maddox Wahr (13 points) and Nelson Taylor (11) — were in double figures,