7A-8 at Sickles
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Steinbrenner (4) vs. Gaither (5), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Freedom (2) vs. Wiregrass Ranch (3), 6 p.m.; Sickles (1) vs. Steinbrenner-Gaither winner, 8 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: In one of the most competitive districts in the area, Sickles is the favorite to come away with the title, owning a 7-1 district record. Wiregrass will start the tournament in the semifinals against Freedom, which split the season series with the Bulls, who rely on guard DJ Ward (15.2 ppg).
(Home games will be
played at highest seed)
SCHEDULE: Monday: Spring Hill Springstead (4) vs. Dixie Hollins (5), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Mitchell (2) vs. Osceola (3), 7 p.m.; Largo (1) vs. Spring Hill Springstead-Dixie Hollins winner, 7 p.m.; Friday Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: Pasco County’s best team — Mitchell (20-4) — resides in this district, though are the No. 2 seed to Pinellas County-power Largo (21-2). Largo’s only two losses are to Westwood Christian (89-75) and ELVE8 Sports Institute (66-62). Mitchell defeated Osceola 68-48 and 65-51 during the season and its likely Mitchell will meet Largo, which won both season meetings, in the district final.
5A-8 at Anclote
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Gulf (3) vs. Dunedin (6), 3 p.m.; Land O’ Lakes (2) vs. Fivay (7), 4:30 p.m.; Tarpon Springs (1) vs. Sunlake (8) 6 p.m.; River Ridge (4) vs. Anclote (5), 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday: Gulf-Dunedin winner vs. Land O’ Lakes-Fivay winner, 6 p.m.; Tarpon Springs-Sunlake winner vs. River Ridge-Anclote winner, 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: This district features six Pasco County teams, the most of any of the seven districts with county squads. Tarpon Springs (22-3, 13-1) is the No. 1 seed and their lone district loss is 58-53 to Anclote on Jan. 17. Several teams — Land O’ Lakes, Gulf, River Ridge and Anclote — are contenders to reach the district championship. River Ridge lost to Tarpon Springs 67-57 last week, but has momentum after clinching its first winning regular season since the 1997-98. Gulf is a darkhorse, as the Buccaneers welcome back forward Andre Wilson, who is a difference maker.
5A-7 at Wesley Chapel
SCHEDULE: Monday: Brooksville Hernando (2) vs. Weeki Wachee (7), 7 p.m.; Tuesday: Brooksville Central (4) vs. Zephyrhills (5), 6:30 p.m.; Wesley Chapel (3) vs. Pasco (6) 8 p.m.; Wednesday: Brooksville Nature Coast (1) vs. Brooksville Central-Zephyrhills winner, 6:30 p.m.; Brooksville Hernando-Weeki Wachee vs. Wesley Chapel-Pasco winner, 8 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: Three Pasco County teams are in this district: Wesley Chapel stands the best chance to win the title after finishing with an 8-3 district record. Wesley Chapel may be on course to meet Brooksville Hernando (the two teams split the season series), while the Wildcats lost to Brooksville Nature Coast twice this season (47-43 and 38-32).
4A-6 at The Villages
SCHEDULE: Monday: Ridgewood (4) vs. Bushnell South Sumter (5), 7 p.m.; Wednesday: Hudson (2) vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic (3), 6 p.m.; Ridgewood-South Sumter winner vs. The Villages (1), 8 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: Both Hudson and Ridgewood have hovered around the .500 mark and each have an opportunity to reach the district final. Ridgewood faces Bushnell South Sumter in the opening round, but the Rams defeated the Raiders in both meetings during the season (61-49 and 60-57). Hudson faces tough Ocala Trinity Catholic in the semifinals, but the Cobras were able to upend the Celtics twice. The Cobras went 0-2 against The Villages this season.
3A-7 at Tampa Prep
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Bishop McLaughlin (4) vs. Carrollwood Day (5), 7 p.m.; Friday: Brooks-DeBartolo (2) vs. Seffner Christian (3), 6 p.m.; Bishop McLaughlin-Carrollwood Day winner vs. Tampa (1), 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: Bishop McLaughlin will have a tough time getting past the top three seeds: Tampa Prep, Brooks-DeBartolo and Seffner Christian. The Hurricanes are the No. 4 seed and face Carrollwood Day, which they defeated twice (53-34 and 43-27). Will Potosky leads the Hurricanes in scoring (13.2 ppg).
2A-7 at Cambridge Christian
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Academy at the Lakes (2) vs. Universal (3), 6 p.m.; Cambridge (1) vs. Tampa Bay HEAT (4), 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW: Academy at the Lakes filled its regular-season schedule full of public schools in anticipation for a deep postseason run. The Wildcats also wanted to prepare themselves to win a district championship, as AATL faced Sunlake, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gulf and Lakeland Tenoroc. The Wildcats will probably meet Cambridge Christian in the championship game and the teams split the regular-season series.