NEW PORT RICHEY — It was going to be tough for Bryce Workman to top his performance in the first round of the Rotary Ram Classic, but his follow-up outings were more than enough to lead Sickles to the title.
Workman dominated inside with 21 points and 15 rebounds, earning tourney MVP honors as Sickles (8-3) rolled past host Ridgewood 72-47 Friday night. Workman, who went for 35 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday against East Lake, averaged nearly 25 points and 15 boards in three victories for the defending Class 8A state champions.
"Three games in three days is almost as much about grit as it about basketball," said Sickles coach Michael Weaving. "The score wasn't really indicative of how tough a game it was for us. Ridgewood is a tough out, and will be for any team it plays the rest of the way."
What was toughest for the Rams (10-3) was finding their scoring touch. Averaging 80 points headed into the tourney, Ridgewood was held in the 40s on back-to-back nights by Class 8A opponents from Hillsborough County. The Rams won by holding Plant to 36 points in the second round, but Sickles had that total surpassed by halftime, using a 22-14 second quarter to lead 39-24.
Workman went for a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in the half as Sickles held a 21-10 edge on the boards. Senior point guard Tahj Lalanne (four assists, all-tourney team) scored eight points in the second quarter after Denari Garrett went to the bench with three fouls thirty seconds into the period.
And Tre Hines, like Workman, Lalanne and Garrett a senior, had seven in the third quarter with two baskets immediately answering possible Rams uprisings.
"We're starting to hit our stride," Weaving said.
Impressive back-to-back blocks from Garrett and Workman led to baskets — the former assisting on one, Workman slamming home a rebound on the other — as Sickles grabbed a 64-40 lead early in the fourth quarter. Garrett had eight rebounds. Tyreq Hopkins (yep, a senior) scored 11.
For Ridgewood, Trey Reiser scored 14 points and Ty Quiroz had 13, earning all-tournament honors.
The best sign of how impressive Sickles' three-day output was: all three of their opponents went 2-0 the rest of the tourney. That included East Lake (6-4), which edged King's Academy on a last-minute 3-pointer. Dionte Blanche scored 15 for the Eagles and took all-tournament honors.
Clearwater Central Cathoic, which rolled by Wesley Chapel on Friday, was the other Sickles victim. Plant and Springstead also won Friday to finish 2-1 in the event.
As impressive as Sickles looked this week, the Gryphons are still sitting in third place behind Plant and Wharton in an extremely tough 8A-District 8, though Plant beat Sickles with Workman serving a suspension.