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Thursday, Mar 30, 2017

Girls Basketball District Tournament Preview

7A-8 at Steinbrenner

SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Sickles (4) vs. Gaither (5), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Wiregrass Ranch (2) vs. Freedom (3), 6 p.m.; Steinbrenner (1) vs. Sickles-Gaither winner, 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: The last time Wiregrass Ranch faced Freedom, the Patriots were able to come away with a 61-44 win on Jan. 8. If the Bulls look to make the postseason, they will need to get by Freedom first before looking ahead toward a possible district championship matchup against Steinbrenner. Since Wiregrass Ranch’s loss to Freedom, the Bulls have won five straight, including River Ridge and district-foe Sickles.


(Higher seed is home team)

SCHEDULE: Monday: Spring Hill Springstead (5) at Largo (4), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday: Osceola (3) at Mitchell (2), 6:30 p.m.; Largo-Springstead winner at Dixie Hollins (1), 6:30 p.m. Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: Injuries hit Mitchell hard during the regular season. Guard Hannah Kriston, who was second in scoring at 11.1 ppg, went down after 10 games and the team has lacked a scoring punch since. Mitchell lost to its semifinal opponent, Osceola, 55-45 on Jan. 10 and will have a tough task in bouncing out the Warriors without Kriston in the lineup.

5A-8 at Gulf

SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Gulf (1) vs. Dunedin (8), 3 p.m.; Tarpon Springs (4) vs. Fivay (5), 4:30 p.m.; River Ridge (3) vs. Sunlake (6) 6 p.m.; Land O’ Lakes (2) vs. Anclote (7), 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday: Gulf-Dunedin winner vs. Tarpon Springs-Fivay winner, 6 p.m.; River Ridge-Sunlake winner vs. Land O’ Lakes-Anclote winner, 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: In one of the most competitive districts in Pasco County, the Buccaneers are favored for another crown. Gulf went 4-0 against Land O’ Lakes and River Ridge, but a surprising 64-51 loss to Ridgewood last week causes concern. Land O’ Lakes will likely face River Ridge in the district semifinals and the Gators swept the season series with the Royal Knights. A darkhorse team could be Tarpon Springs, which played each of the top three seeds tough during the season.

5A-7 at Pasco

SCHEDULE: Monday: Pasco (2) vs. Weeki Wachee (7), 7 p.m.; Tuesday: Brooksville Central (4) vs. Zephyrhills (5), 6:30 p.m.; Brooksville Hernando (3) vs. Wesley Chapel (6) 8 p.m.; Wednesday: Pasco-Weeki Wachee winner vs. Wesley Chapel-Brooksville Hernando winner, 6:30 p.m.; Brooksville Nature Coast (1) vs. Brooksville Central-Zephyrhills winner, 8 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: These Pirates are not the same region finalists from last season because shooting guard Allahon Marbra tore her MCL over the summer. Pasco (16-9, 9-2) has turned to point guard Brianca Roberts and center Ashley Webster. Roberts is averaging a team-high 18.4 ppg and Webster averaging 10. The Pirates still have a shot at winning the district title, but Brooksville Nature Coast stands in the way. Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel will be hard-pressed to win their first-round matchups.

4A-6 at Villages

SCHEDULE: Monday: The Villages (4) vs. Hudson (5), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Ridgewood (2) vs. South Sumter (3), 6 p.m.; The Villages-Hudson winner vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic (1), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: Ocala Trinity Catholic is the No. 1 seed and Ridgewood is the No. 2 seed and both teams played each other close during the regular season. The Rams lost to the Celtics 54-49 and 55-51, but have shown progress toward the end of the season with a 64-51 victory against Gulf. Hudson finished the season at 1-18.

3A-7 at Bishop McLaughlin

SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Brooks-DeBartolo (4) vs. Bishop McLaughlin (5), 6 p.m.; Thursday: Tampa Prep (2) vs. Carrollwood Day (3), 6 p.m.; Brooks-DeBartolo-Bishop McLaughlin winner vs. Seffner Christian (1), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: Seffner Christian is the unquestionable favorite to win this district, thanks to a 4-0 district record. Bishop McLaughlin is enjoying one of its best seasons at 11-6, but is the No. 5 seed. The Hurricanes lost to Brooks-DeBartolo 39-29 on Dec. 12.

2A-7 at Cambridge Christian

SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Cambridge (2) vs. Tampa Bay HEAT (3), 6 p.m.; Thursday: Cambridge-Tampa Bay Heat winner vs. Academy at the Lakes (1), 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: Academy at the Lakes is 16-3 and have its youngest squad during coach Karim Nohra’s tenure,. The Wildcats have won each district game by an average of 56 points. AATL has an outside chance to reach the final four again this season, thanks to a lineup of eighth graders and freshmen.

Andy Villamarzo