It’s never easy to replace your team’s leading scorer. It’s even harder when that player was averaging area highs in points and rebounds.
Gone is Wesley Chapel High forward/center Erik Thomas, who averaged around 33 points and 16 rebounds last season and left as one of only two players to score more than 2,000 points at Wesley Chapel. The other: his sister, Sthefany.
But even with Thomas now at East Georgia State, the Wildcats and coach Doug Greseth found relying on steady play of four senior starters — Carson Emery, Riyan McCrary, Brian Rodriguez and Marcus Hayne — has made losing Thomas much easier than anticipated.
Emery and Hayne return as key contributors from last season and have combined to average 27.5 points per game and 14 rebounds.
McCrary is also a solid second scoring option to Emery, as the 5-foot-11 guard is averaging 14 points a contest. Rodriguez has been the consistent facilitator among the group, dishing out 5.5 assists a game and chipping in 11.5 points.
Wesley Chapel is 2-0 thanks to two blowout victories against Hudson (75-43) and Ridgewood (64-26).
The Wildcats’ next three games are at home against Brooksville Central, Anclote and Zephyrhills.
Wiregrass Ranch girls start fast
No team is off to a hotter start than Wiregrass Ranch girls, which has reeled off four-consecutive wins to start the season.
The Bulls have have blowout victories against Hudson (64-17), Gulf (62-43), Pasco (64-16) and Ridgewood (63-24), two of which are against playoff teams from last season. Wiregrass is now starting to enter a tough stretch in its schedule and will face 7A-District 8 foe Steinbrenner, Tampa Catholic, Academy of the Holy Names and Gaither, whom are a combined 12-5.
Wiregrass has been efficient offensively, averaging 62.3 points and creating fast-break opportunities with six steals a game. Junior forward Amanda Melosky and Stephanie Brower are averaging 13 and 11.3 points.
Fivay’s first 1,000 points scorer
Fivay has its first girls basketball player to score 1,000 points in a career.
Falcons senior forward/center Alicia Artley passed the 1,000-point plateau by scoring 18 points against Anclote in the team’s 57-16 season-opening win .
According to coach Greg Bollinger, Artley has led Fivay (2-2) in scoring since the school opened in 2010. Artley had her best season as a junior when she averaged 18 points and 13.8 rebounds. Artley is averaging 18 points and nine rebounds this season, including a game-high 21 points against Dunedin .
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.