No team has enjoyed a turnaround from last season more than Gulf High’s boys basketball team. The Buccaneers won only 10 games last season and are already 11-7, including a four-game winning streak.
They also have solid wins against Anclote, River Ridge and Sunlake.
Gulf features one of the most athletic lineups in Pasco County, as the team is led by guard Joey Nickerson and forward James Grubb. Nickerson, a senior, is averaging 16.9 points and shooting 41 percent from the field and 76 percent (22 of 29) from the free-throw line. Grubb is the team’s leading scorer at 21.7 points and is shooting 59 percent.
Wiregrass Ranch boys bringing best ball
The first half of the 2013-14 boys season started off rough for Wiregrass Ranch, going 4-8 through its first 12 games.
Since then, however, the Bulls have five straight wins against Englewood Lemon Bay, Ridgewood, Freedom, Anclote and Land O’ Lakes. The winning streak is credited to better defensive efforts since they’re allowing 50.6 oints during the winning streak.
After going 20-8 last season and then losing Christian Parra and Rico Kerney, the Bulls still possess talent and an outside chance to escape Class 7A-District 8 with a postseason berth. Leading the team in scoring is junior D.J. Ward, who is averaging 15.8 points. Also contributing is Alex Walker, Anthony Castillo and Sammy Buzik, who are averaging between 7.1 and 9 points.
Tight race in 5A-8
In one of the most competitive districts in the area, the girls 5A-8, features three teams with 15 or more wins and vying for the district’s top two spots. Gulf (16-2), Land O’ Lakes (15-2) and River Ridge (16-5) round out the top of the 5A-8 standings with Gulf undefeated in district play (12-0). Land O’ Lakes has defeated the Royal Knights and played them again Thursday.
The other teams in the district include Fivay (7-14), Tarpon Springs (7-14), Sunlake (4-12), Anclote (3-17) and Dunedin (0-20).
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.