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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Girls hoops: Players and teams to watch

Taylor Emery, Freedom, junior, guard

Emery averaged 20.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.8 steals and 3.0 assists per game last season in helping the Patriots reach the 7A state final four. Emery already has interest from North Florida, Auburn, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Florida to name a few schools.

Aliyah Gregory, Strawberry Crest, senior, guard

The Central Florida signee led the Chargers to a 20-8 record last season while averaging 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

Brianna Thomas, Tampa Bay Tech, senior, F/C

At 6-foot-2, Thomas averaged a double-double last season for the Titans, who finished 17-10 and won a district championship to earn an appearance in the state region playoffs.

Peyton Walker, Seffner Christian, junior, forward

Walker was the second-leading scorer on the Crusaders’ final four team last season with 15.8 points per game. Walker has schools such as Wagner, LaSalle, Illinois State, Yale and Princeton knocking on her door.

Sabrina Whiting, Seffner Christian, senior, guard

Whiting has been the floor general for Seffner Christian during the program’s last two state tournament runs. Whiting will play for Embry-Riddle next fall as a member of the school’s first women’s team.

Five More to Watch

Trinity Baptiste, Hillsborough; Kierra Haywood, Riverview; Shayna Lawrence, Plant City; Ashley McWilliams, Academy of the Holy Names; Taylor Thigpen, Steinbrenner

Teams: Preseason Top 5

1. Strawberry Crest: The Chargers went 20-8 last season and return a stellar backcourt in senior Aliyah Gregory and junior Maiya Trigg.

2. Seffner Christian: The Crusaders have reached the state final four the past two years and could make it for a third consecutive season with Sabrina Whiting and Peyton Walker at the helm.

3. Freedom: The Patriots still have a few pieces from last season’s state final four team, namely Taylor Emery.

4. Tampa Bay Tech: Brianna Thomas, Shakela Smith and Kirtisha Nelson should lead the Titans to the postseason once again.

5. Steinbrenner: The Warriors should be among Hillsborough County’s best this season with Florida Southern-bound guard Taylor Thigpen and junior forward Rachel Briere.

Others to watch: Hillsborough, Plant, Riverview, Sickles and Tampa Catholic

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