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East Lake’s Dionte Bostick named Class 6A player of the year

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East Lake’s Dionte Bostick

There was so much Dionte Bostick (formerly Blanch) wanted to achieve this season. The Murray State signee strived to keep piling on the points, remain the unquestioned leader and guide East Lake to its first-ever state semifinal appearance. 

The senior was able to check each of those goals off his list. On Monday, he was able to add one more with his selection as the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 6A state player of the year. The winners in each classification were selected by a panel of high school boys basketball coaches and reporters.

“It’s honestly huge because I’ve been trying to win this since my sophomore year and it shows that my hard work finally paid off,” Bostick said of taking 6A honors. 

The dynamic playmaker also came close to being named the Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Basketball, the award given to the state’s top player regardless of classification. Bostick finished second in the voting behind Paxon’s Isaiah Adams.

In January, Bostick had the go-ahead layup and game-winning steal in the final minute of regulation to lead the Eagles to a 58-57 win over Paxon in the final of the Sun Bash tournament.

Bostick averaged 24.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game this season. Often, he put up those numbers with opposing defenses trying everything to keep him away from the basket. It did not matter. Blanch could slither through the tiniest passages for layups. Or he could step back and swish 3-pointers with regularity. 

The wins kept coming. At one point, the Eagles were ranked as the state’s top team in 6A this season. In the playoffs, Blanch helped save East Lake’s season by nailing a buzzer-beating 3-pointer with three defenders converging on him to beat defending two-time state semifinalist Lehigh in the region quarterfinals. He continued to shine in the postseason to get the Eagles to the state semifinals. East Lake vowed to keep the same routine, practicing in their gym in preparation for playing on the state’s biggest stage in high school basketball. 

The Eagles’ dynamic playmaker made one significant change, switching his last name from Blanch to Bostick.

“My father wanted it to be changed to his last name and we both agreed on that,” Bostick said. 

About the only thing Bostick could accomplish this season was a state title. The Eagles lost to eventual champion Bartow in the semifinals. Blanch led the team in scoring with 23 points. 

“Besides winning the state championship I did everything I set out to do, and I have no regrets on the season,” Bostick said. “I’m very satisfied.”

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Boys Basketball

Schedule for Kevin Durant National Hoopfest released

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The Kevin Durant National Hoopfest series will make its way to the Tampa Bay area on Jan. 28-29.

The tournament, now being held at St. Petersburg High, is the last of four stops that have already been announced.

What makes the event noteworthy is that it matches teams from the area against nationally-ranked teams from across the country, giving fans a chance to root on their local school as well as check out players who will be playing for major colleges and NBA teams in the future.

Here is the schedule, which was released this weekend.

Jan. 28

AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.) vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 5

IMG Academy vs. Oldsmar Christian, 6:30

St. Pete vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 8

Jan. 29

Windemere Prep vs. Wasatch Academy (Utah), 1

Orlando Christian Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 2:30

Oldsmar Christian vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 4

Tampa Catholic vs. AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.), 5:30

IMG Academy vs. St. Petersburg, 7

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Boys Basketball

Dillon Mitchell transfers to Montverde Academy

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Dillon Mitchell, a four-star recruit who helped Bishop McLaughlin reach the state final for the first time this past season, has transferred to boys basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy. 

Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 senior small forward, made the announcement Thursday night on his Twitter account. 

In 2017, Montverde was named the nation’s top basketball program of the decade by USA Today. Several current NBA players went there, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and R.J. Barrett. Two more notable alumni, Oklahoma’s Cade Cunningham and and FSU’s Scottie Barnes, are expected to be among the top five picks in this year’s NBA draft. 

The ability to mold such high-profile stars prompted Mitchell to make the move. 

“They have developed great players to be successful at the next level,” Mitchell said of Montverde. “The competition is awesome,and being able to play against the best even at practice will help me become better. I believe it’s a great move.”

This is Mitchell’s third school in as many years. 

During the 2019-20 season, Mitchell played at Sickles, averaging 12.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game with the Gryphons.

He left this past season to attend Bishop McLaughlin, where he teamed with another four-star prospect, Emanuel Sharp, to form a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch. Mitchell (featured photo above by Willie Kelly) finished the season averaging 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while leading the Hurricanes to the Class 3A state final. 

Mitchell is rated fourth in the state and 29th nationally in the Class of 2022 by ESPN. He has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, FSU, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee, among others.  . 

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Boys Basketball

FHSAA releases boys basketball class and district assignments

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The Florida High School Athletic Association released the classifications, districts and regions for boys basketball this coming season. The assignments are based on student enrollment numbers from October 2020. This is a one-year cycle that the FHSAA board of directors voted on. There likely will be a two-year cycle starting with the 2022-23 calendar year. The classifications and districts for the other sports will be released at a later date. Below is the list for area teams. For the full  boys basketball list click here.  

Class 7A, District 6

Alonso

East Lake

Palm Harbor University

Plant 

Sickles

Steinbrenner

Class 7A, District 7

Durant

Lakewood Ranch

Newsome

Plant City

Riverview

Class 6A, District 9

Gaither

Land O’ Lakes

Largo

Leto

Mitchell

Pinellas Park

Sunlake

Class 6A, District 10

Armwood

Hillsborough

Strawberry Crest

Tampa Bay Tech

Wharton

Wiregrass Ranch

Class 6A, District 11

Bloomingdale

Bradenton Manatee

Braden River

East Bay

Lennard

Palmetto

Sumner

Class 5A, District 5

Belleview

Citrus

Lake Weir

Lecanto

Leesburg

Ocala Vanguard

Springstead

Class 5A, District 6

Cypress Creek

Fivay

Gulf

Pasco, River Ridge

Wesley Chapel

Zephyrhills

Class 5A, District 8

Blake

Brandon

Freedom

Jefferson

Jesuit

King

Middleton

Robinson

Class 5A, District 9

Clearwater

Countryside

Hollins

Osceola

Seminole

Class 5A, District 10

Boca Ciega

Bradenton Bayshore

Bradenton Southeast

Northeast

St. Petersburg

Class 4A, District 9

Central

Crystal River

Hernando

Nature Coast

South Sumter

Weeki Wachee

Class 4A, District 10

Anclote

Chamberlain

Dunedin

Hudson

Tarpon Springs

Class 4A, District 11

Gibbs

Lakewood

Parrish

Sarasota Booker

Sebring

Wauchula Hardee

Class 3A, District 5

Bell Creek

Bishop McLaughlin

Brooks DeBartolo

Carrollwood Day

Seffner Christian

Tampa Catholic

Tampa Prep

Class 3A, District 6

Admiral Farragut

Berkeley Prep

Calvary Christian

Clearwater Central Catholic

Shorecrest

St. Petersburg Catholic

Class 2A, District 9

Academy at the Lakes

Classical Prep

Hernando Christian

Seven Rivers Christian

Zephyrhills Christian

Class 2A, District 10

Bayshore Christian

Brandon Academy

Cambridge Christian

Foundation Christian

Lakeside Christian

Universal Academy

Class 2A, District 11

Bradenton Christian

Bradenton Gulf Coast HEAT

Canterbury

Indian Rocks Christian

Keswick Christian

Port Charlotte Community Christian

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