2014-15 Tampa Bay area girls hoops preview

November 13, 2014
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Girls basketball: District breakdown
Published: November 10, 2014
Class 8A-7

TEAMS: Alonso, Bloomingdale, Newsome, Plant, Riverview, Wharton

NEED TO KNOW: David Kaufman takes over as head coach at Newsome, but he isn’t the only new arrival for the Wolves. Sisters Kristen, Tory and Vanessa Self played at Foundation Christian last year, when they combined for 47 points per game, with Tory leading the way at 22.7 per game. Alonso will be led by Bethune-Cookman commit Angel Golden, who scored more than 19 points per game as a junior. Sophomore Payton Paro returns as Plant’s go-to player, while Serena Grant and E’Lisha Byrd will try to lead Bloomingdale to the postseason. Wharton returns only two seniors in Nicole Wolard and Sam Ayala. Riverview won the district last year, while Plant was the runner-up.

Class 7A-8

TEAMS: Freedom, Gaither, Steinbrenner, Sickles, Wiregrass Ranch

NEED TO KNOW: Steinbrenner won the title last season in one of the most competitive district races in the area. The Warriors, who went as far as the region championship, return forward Rachel Briere, who is committed to Embry-Riddle, and 6-foot-2 junior center Courtney Hall. Freedom senior guard Taylor Emery, who averaged 25 points per game last season, will sign with Tulane and will be joined in the back court by junior guard Nari Garner with Bianca Igwe in the post. Sickles will be led by junior Alexis Allen. Wiregrass Ranch, led by Amanda Melosky and Stephanie Brower, was the district runner-up last season.

Class 7A-7

TEAMS: Brandon, Durant, East Bay, Plant City, Strawberry Crest, Tampa Bay Tech

NEED TO KNOW: Strawberry Crest won the district title last season and returns point guard Maiya Trigg and center Nandi Jorden, who has committed to the University of Mobile. Tampa Bay Tech lost to the Chargers in the district championship game and welcomes back senior guard and perimeter threat Kirtisha Nelson, who averaged 15.4 points last season. Shayna Lawrence, who led the county in blocked shots with 105, returns for Plant City, as does Avery Brown, who missed the 2013-14 season.

Class 6A-9

TEAMS: Armwood, Blake, Chamberlain, Hillsborough, Jefferson, King, Lennard, Leto

NEED TO KNOW: Armwood, the defending district champion, is under new guidance this season in first-year coach Willonda Windham. The Hawks, who reached the region championship last season, return sophomore high-scoring guard Alyssa Nieves. Hillsborough advanced to the state region playoffs as the district runner-up and did it without its top player, forward Trinity Baptiste, who missed the season with an ACL injury. Baptiste, now a junior, is fully healthy and will be joined by Khoe Wilson and Jada Roberts. Jefferson finished 20-9 last season but lost to Hillsborough in the district tournament. The Dragons will depend on the trio of Lakariah Davis, Teeuana Williams and Roshaunda Thurston. Blake returns an experienced group of upperclassmen who hope to improve on last year’s 2-23 record.

Class 5A-9

TEAMS: Middleton, Robinson, Spoto

NEED TO KNOW: Spoto, led by Ivy Carswell, defeated Robinson in the semifinals to secure the program’s first playoff berth, then upset Middleton in the district final to win the program’s first title. Carswell returns for her senior season.

Class 4A-10

TEAMS: Berkeley Prep, Sarasota Booker, Academy of the Holy Names, Sarasota Military Academy, Tampa Catholic

NEED TO KNOW: Holy Names and Tampa Catholic battled it out for the district title last year, which the Jaguars won en route to reaching the region championship. Seniors Caroline Kimbler and Siobhan Lynch will be Holy Names’ go-to players. Tampa Catholic was led by a pair of freshmen starters last year in Alise Davis and Mia Blocker. Berkeley Prep will depend on its guard play, with Isabella Moreno, Kaelee Overfield and Kristina Foreman.

Class 3A-7

TEAMS: Bishop McLaughlin, Brooks-DeBartolo, Carrollwood Day, Seffner Christian, Tampa Prep

NEED TO KNOW: Seffner Christian advanced to the state final last season and returns 2014 Tribune Player of the Year Peyton Walker, who is committed to Wofford. With Riverview High transfer Asia Royster, who is committed to Saint Leo, and Coral Springs Charter transfer Chelsie Hall , the Crusaders will be much more athletic.

Class 2A-8

TEAMS: Bayshore Christian, Canterbury, Citrus Park Christian, Hernando Christian, Keswick Christian, Lakeside Christian

NEED TO KNOW: Keswick Christian won the district title, while Hernando Christian finished as the runner-up. Keswick Christian lost in the region semifinals to Academy at the Lakes.

Class 2A-7

TEAMS: Academy at the Lakes, Cambridge Christian, Foundation Christian, Universal Academy

NEED TO KNOW: Academy at the Lakes reached the state semifinals last season and lost to eventual state runner-up Sarasota Christian. Cambridge Christian reached the playoffs as the district runner-up and lost to Keswick Christian.

Nick Williams

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