Compiled By Rod Gipson
Tampa Bay Boys Basketball – Top of the Charts
1. CLEARWATER (11-2) – Despite two losses at the Tampa Hoops Classic, the Tornadoes have still been head and shoulders above their local competition. FSU-commitment Okaro White is averaging 20 points a game while Julien Sargent and Regan O’Rouke are chipping in with 12 points each. The Tornadoes have key match-ups in the coming days against St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg Lakewood.
2. TAMPA SICKLES (11-4) – The John Henson-led Gryphons went 2-2 at the Tampa Hoops Classic and are the lone unbeaten team in Class 6A, District 7. Henson, headed to North Carolina, has been terrific, averaging 17 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks per contest. Junior guard Jordan Davis has been solid as usual, with eight points and six assists a game. The Gryphons have district contests coming up against Clearwater Countryside and Tampa Gaither.
3. OLDSMAR CHRISTIAN (14-3) – The Eagles are an independent private school team not only playing well against, but beating some larger public schools. Oldsmar Christian has won eight games in a row and can claim wins this year against nationally-regarded Montverde Academy, Bradenton IMG Academy, St. Petersburg Boca Ciega, Tampa Berkeley Prep and New Port Richey Ridgewood. The tandem of Harold Doby and Chris Perez also helped lead the Eagles to a holiday tournament title in South Carolina.
4. NEW PORT RICHEY RIDGEWOOD (13-2) – The Rams won their holiday tournament, the Ram Classic, with a 69-33 pounding of Lithia Newsome. Lukas Poderis and Bryan Jones are both averaging 12 points per contest. Gary Anders’ squad is 4-0 in Class 5A, District 7, a game ahead of rival Land O’ Lakes. The two teams square off Jan. 23.
5. TAMPA PREP (13-0) – The Terrapins used the holidays to win two tournaments, the City of Tampa Championships and the Keswick Suncoast Classic. Jamal Cherry (15 ppg), Jay Bowie (14 ppg) and Jake Haslam (10 ppg) have been the offensive stalwarts. The Terrapins face crosstown rival Tampa Berkeley Prep this weekend in the annual Headmaster’s Challenge.
Keep an eye on….
St. Petersburg Lakewood (8-2): Lost two of three at the Ocala Kingdom of the Sun holiday event.
Valrico Bloomingdale (12-2): Line up each night with one of the area’s best big men, Callum Townsend, averaging 23 points per game.
Tampa Berkeley Prep (7-3): Johnathan Gray netted 24 points in tournament loss to state-ranked Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer.
St. Petersburg (9-3): Green Devils in a fight with Sickles for top spot in Class 6A, District 7.
St. Petersburg Boca Ciega (7-3): Myron Dempsey-led Pirates eager to bounced back from Oldsmar Christian loss.
Tampa Bay Girls Basketball – Top of the Charts
1. CLEARWATER (15-0) – The unbeaten Tornadoes ended the Christmas break with an impressive performance at the Jaguar Holiday Tournament at Tampa Academy of the Holy Names. Clearwater’s talented group, led by Artajah Collins and Veronica Ryan, topped St. Petersburg Gibbs 50-42 for the tournament championship. Collins had 13 points and nine rebounds while Ryan added 12 points. Brielle Newton and J’beria Davis each added seven points and three rebounds. Meetings up next with Tarpon Springs and Tarpon Springs East Lake.
2. TAMPA JEFFERSON (13-1) – The Dragons have impressive early-season wins against Tampa Catholic and Tampa Plant. Although tournament tested, Jefferson dropped its lone game at its second holiday event, losing to defending Class A state champion Lake Worth Trinity Christian 66-51 at the Lake Mary Prep Invitational. The Dragons, led by guard Jade Givens’ 13 points a game, have three tune-ups before a Jan. 13 rematch at Class 5A, District 10 rival Plant.
3. WESLEY CHAPEL (13-0) – The Wildcats have one of the most dynamic players in the area in junior guard Shantel Houston. She showed that during the finals of the home team’s Christmas Tournament, scoring 24 points in a 54-36 win against Tampa Hillsborough. Houston, who averages 15 points a game, doesn’t do it alone. The Wildcats have proven scorers in Janelle Mills (14 ppg) and Jeileen Mas (12 ppg). Wesley Chapel has tough meetings coming up against fellow Pasco County foes New Port Richey Ridgewood and New Port Richey Gulf.
4. TAMPA CATHOLIC (13-1) – The Crusaders defended their Keeler Memorial tournament crown, defeating Tampa Plant 53-49. The Crusaders withstood a furious Plant rally to win the crown mainly thanks to junior forward Colette Eule’s clutch play. She dropped in 24 points and had seven rebounds in the win, including five free throws and a key block during the game’s final minute. Eule (21 ppg) is among three TC players averaging in double figures, along with Sarah Brennan (16 ppg) and Micah Kroll (11). TC still had Class 3A, District 3A 11 meetings with Clearwater Central Catholic, St. Petersburg Catholic and Tampa Holy Names.
5. ST. PETERSBURG GIBBS (13-2) – The scrappy Gladiators fell by eight points in the finals of the Jaguar Holiday Tournament to No. 1 Clearwater. Their only other lost was in November to St. Petersburg Catholic. Gibbs, which pounded Class 5A, District 11 rival St. Petersburg Boca Ciega by 30 earlier this season, is in charge of the district race but still has a Jan. 20 meeting against an improved Boca Ciega team. Winners in 9 of its last 10 games, the Gladiators have been led by Kamika Idom and Fahran Franklin’s combined 27 points per contest.
Keep an eye on….
St. Petersburg Catholic (11-3): Indian Rocks Christian holiday tournament runners up.
Tampa Plant (10-2): Solid showing at the Keeler event, placing second.
St. Petersburg Boca Ciega (13-3): Willie Clemons tournament winner, eyeing rematch with No. 5 Gibbs.
New Port Richey Gulf (11-2): Sophomore guard Nicole Adams is averaging 23 points a game.
St. Petersburg (10-4): The Jazmyne Green-led Green Devils took third at the Jaguar Holiday tournament.