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Pasco County revises guidelines to allow fans at sporting events

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Less than two weeks after restricting fans from attending high school sporting events and fine arts performances, Pasco County changed course and will now allow spectators on a limited basis starting Tuesday. 

The school district revised its guidelines after consulting with health officials. No more than two fans can attend for each participating student at an extracurricular event. Social distancing will be enforced and masks must be worn at all times at indoor events and can only be removed when seated at outdoor events.

On Nov. 20, the county issued safety guidelines that limited all athletic activities to students and coaches due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases.  

That rule was supposed to last until the positivity rate, which had climbed to nine percent, dropped to below five percent for a rolling seven-day period. 

Last month, two county football teams — Wiregrass Ranch and Fivay — had to forfeit playoff games because of a player testing positive for coronavirus and multiple team members and coaches having to quarantine due to contact tracing. A few basketball programs also had to cancel preseason tournaments or season-opening games because of players quarantining. 

But the safety measures also forced a home playoff game to be moved, irking some fans. 

Last week, Zephyrhills was supposed to host Orlando Jones in the Class 5A region semifinals. Because fans from either team were not allowed to attend, the Florida High School Athletic Association decided to move the game to Jones to accommodate spectators. 

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Boys Basketball

Former St. Petersburg star Serrel Smith Jr. commits to USF

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For years, the USF men’s basketball program has tried to land a prized prospect from the bay area, extending offers to local stars such as Tampa Catholic’s Kevin Knox and Thomas Dziagwa, Tampa Prep’s Juwan Durham and St. Petersburg’s Serrel Smith Jr..

All went elsewhere.

On Friday, one of those standouts decided to give the Bulls a chance. 

Smith Jr., who played two seasons at Maryland before transferring to East Tennessee State, announced on his Twitter page that he was committing USF.

The move comes exactly two weeks after Smith Jr. entered the transfer portal. This is Smith Jr.’s third school in as many seasons. Still, the latest stop gives the Bulls a homegrown star, something that has eluded the program for years. 

Only three other locals — Hudson’s Mark Calleja, Seminole’s Henry Beard and Oldsmar Christian’s Troy Holston, have made the USF roster in the past five seasons. Calleja and Beard were walk-ons. 

Smith Jr. was a coveted recruit who continued to receive interest from the Bulls a year ago when he transferred to East Tennessee State. 

“The way the transfer portal is now, players are constantly coming and going,” Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell Jr. said. “Their journeys are always evolving but eventually they end up playing where they should have been all along.

“I’m happy for Serrel. He’s back home, and it should be a good situation for him.”

During his two seasons at Maryland, Smith Jr. played sparingly, averaging 10 minutes and 2.6 points per game. Last season, Smith Jr. averaged seven points and 2.3 rebounds per game at East Tennessee State.   

He was a star throughout his high school career at St. Petersburg. As a senior, Smith Jr. was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 8A state player of the year after averaging 29. 3 points per game and helping the Green Devils reach the state semifinals for the third time in his four seasons with the program. 

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Boys Basketball

Tony Livingston transfers to King

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Tony Livingston, a two-sport star who committed to Florida earlier this month, has transferred from Carrollwood Day to King. 

The rising senior will play football and basketball for the Lions. 

“We’re happy to have him for his last year,” said King basketball coach Chris Senoga-Zake, who previously coached at Carrollwood Day. “He’s grown a lot from the time I had him as a freshman and has been working hard this off season. I’m hoping we can change the culture at King and give him the opportunity to showcase his true talent on the court.”

Three weeks ago, Livingston became the first area player in the 2022 class to commit to the Gators. . 

Livingston (featured photo above courtesy of JJ Battle/Battle Tested Photography) is a 6-foot-6, 250 pound offensive tackle who is athletic enough to play tight end, too. The four-star recruit is rated as the 18th-best player in the state and 19-best offensive tackle in the nation in the 2022 class according to 247 Sports’ composite list.

Though Livingston’s primary sport is football, he also played a key role in helping Carrollwood Day’s basketball team win a district title and reach the Class 3A region semifinals. Earlier this month, Florida became the first school to extend offers to Livingston in both sports. 

He could end up playing both in college, much like his former Carrollwood Day teammate Mike Trigg plans to do at Southern California this coming fall.   

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Boys Basketball

City of Hoops Classic set for today

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City of Hoops Classic 

Where: Bishop McLaughlin

When: Today

Schedule: Girls rising stars game, 2; Girls senior game, 3:30; 3-point/dunk contest, 5; Boys rising stars game, 6; Boys senior game, 7:30

Livestream: Florida Athletics Network

Rosters

Boys senior game

Home team

G Ray Perry, St. Petersburg

F Jayven Millien, Riverview

F Ezereke Dawson, Plant City

G Dean Gabrelcik, East Lake

G Anthony Bittar, East Lake

G Mikey Shane, East Lake

F Trae Martin, Brooks DeBartolo

G Gavin Martinez, Cambridge Christian

G Oteman Delancy, Lakewood

Away team

G/F Mike Trigg, Carrollwood Day

G Mark Mulfinger, Berkeley Prep

G Christian Rolack, Robinson

G CJ Crews, Bayshore Christian

G Deon Brown, Bayshore Christian

F Tripp Burdgess, Alonso

F Matt Lentz, Durant

F/G Jaylen Wharton, Durant

G Ryan Weir, Jesuit

Boys rising stars

Home team

G Emanuel Sharp, Bishop McLaughlin

F Dillon Mitchell, Bishop McLaughlin

F Matthew Webster, Bishop McLaughlin

F/G Josh Watkins, Bishop McLaughlin

G Trent Scott, Alonso

G AJ Wright, Clearwater

G Braylon Jackson, Riverview

G CJ Lee, Clearwater

Away team

G Jason Jackson, Sarasota Riverview

F/G Tony Livingston, Carrollwood Day

G Javohn Thomas, Sickles

G George Kimble, Bishop McLaughlin

G Karter Knox, Tampa Catholic

F CJ Hawkins, Berkeley Prep

G Tristan Gross, Calvary Christian

G Kamrin Oriol, Admiral Farragut

Girls Senior Game

Home team

G O’Mariah Gordon, Braden River

G Cheyenne Stubbs, Braden River

G/F Adina Davis, Chamberlain

F Chimera Iloanya, Seffner Christian

G Jasmine Peaks, Tampa Bay Tech

F Jayla Murray, Tampa Bay Tech

F/G Tavi’yanna Habib, Armwood

G Courtni Demorest, Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic

Away team

G Nyla Jean, Plant

F Kendal Cheesman, Plant

C/F Mya Lamar, Tampa Bay Tech

G Isabella Prada, Bishop McLaughlin

G Amarie Godwin, Brooks DeBartolo

G Triniti Youngblood, Brooks DeBartolo

F/G Brionna McClinton, Brooks DeBartolo

G/F Kassidy Jones, Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic

Girls rising stars

Home team

G Jade Thompson, Tampa Bay Tech

G Sydney Shaw, Miami Country Day

G E’marie Lewis, Lady Drive Nation

F Nicole Carreno, Seffner Christian

F Amiya Evans, Tampa Bay Tech

G Arianna Mosley, Tampa Prep

Away team

G Olivia Delancy, Carrollwood Day

G Tanner Strickland, Plant

G/F Jaela Davis, Brooks DeBartolo

G/F Keyara Bromley, Armwood

G/F Tyra Kennedy, Hillsborough

F Leah Barnes, Carrollwood Day

G Ja’Leah Williams, Blanche Ely

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