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Boys Basketball

Thursday sports schedule

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What to watch

Boys basketball

Fivay (11-1) at Nature Coast (11-5), 7:30

The Falcons, who are off to one of their best starts in school, get what they want — a challenge on the road against one of the top teams in Hernando County.

Boys soccer

Plant (10-2-1) at Newsome (12-2), 8

Both teams are ranked among the top 15 in the state in Class 7A by MaxPreps (the Wolves at No. 12 and the Panthers at No. 9)

Girls basketball

Tampa Bay Tech (4-0) at Wharton (13-3), 7

The Titans’ schedule beefs up the next few weeks, starting with a matchup against the Wildcats.

Academy of the Holy Names (11-6) at Wesley Chapel (11-3), 6:30

Cross-county matchup provides a good test for both programs before the start of district tournament play in a few weeks.

Girls soccer

Plant (10-0) at Newsome (11-1), 6

It does not get much better than this. Both teams are ranked among the top 20 in the nation, the top 11 in the state and the top four in Class 7A (the Panthers are No. 3 and the Wolves are No. 4) by MaxPreps.

The schedules

Boys basketball

Lakeside Christian at Canterbury, 6

Universal Academy at Cambridge Christian, 6

Strawberry Crest at Leto, 7

Steinbrenner at Sunlake, 7:30

St. Petersburg Catholic at Indian Rocks Christian, 7:30

Lakeland Christian at Zephyrhills, 7:30

Tampa Prep at Brooks DeBartolo, 7:30

Lakewood at Bradenton Southeast, 7:30

Fivay at Nature Coast, 7:30

Anclote at Mitchell, 7:30

Boys soccer

Lakeside Christian at Academy at the Lakes, 4

Winthrop College at Cambridge Christian, 4

Brooks DeBartolo at Tampa SLAM, 4:30

Armwood at Hillsborough, 6

Anclote at Sunlake, 6

Leto at Alonso, 6

Gulf at Zephyrhills, 6:30

Hernando at Citrus, 6:30

Shorecrest at Bradenton Christian, 7

Northside Christian at Canterbury, 7

Lakewood Ranch at Jesuit, 7

Seffner Christian at Bradenton Saint Stephen’s, 7

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7

Keswick Christian at Calvary Christian, 7

Pasco at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30

Plant at Newsome, 8

East Bay at Bloomingdale, 8

Girls basketball

Universal Academy at Cambridge Christian, 4:30

Hernando Christian at Lakeside Christian, 5

Northside Christian at Keswick Christian, 5:30

Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic at Berkeley Prep, 6

Calvary Christian at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 6

Tampa Prep at Brooks DeBartolo, 6

Plant City at Armwood, 6:30

Academy of the Holy Names at Wesley Chapel, 6:30

Sarasota Booker at Tampa Catholic, 6:30

Tampa Bay Tech at Wharton, 7

Sumner at Strawberry Crest, 7

Orlando First Academy at Central, 7

Leto at Bloomingdale, 7

Indian Rocks Christian at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7:30

River Ridge at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Anclote at Gulf, 7:30

Sunlake at Fivay, 7:30

Girls soccer

Tampa Prep at Seffner Christian, 4

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney at St. Petersburg Catholic, 5

Crystal River at River Ridge, 5:30

Cambridge Christian at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 6

Indian Rocks Christian at Northside Christian, 6

East Bay at Bloomingdale, 6

Plant at Newsome, 6

Central at Gulf, 6:30

Calvary Christian at Mitchell, 6:30

Land O’ Lakes at Wiregrass Ranch, 7

Cypress Creek at Tampa Catholic, 7:30

Ocala Forest at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Nature Coast at Springstead, 7:30

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Boys Basketball

Bishop McLaughlin’s Emanuel Sharp commits to Houston

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Bishop McLaughlin’s Emanuel Sharp, who led the program to its first state title game appearance, made his college plans official by committing to Houston on Thursday. 

Sharp publicly made the decision on social media. The four-star recruit, who was rated as the 11th-best shooting guard in the nation by ESPN, picked the Cougars over offers from Florida, Georgia Tech and Louisville, among others. 

Last month, Sharp was named the state player of the year in his classification for the second straight season by the Florida Dairy Farmers.

A year ago, Sharp (featured photo above courtesy of Willie Kelly) took home 5A honors after finishing as the state’s fourth-leading scorer and ranking among the top 20 in the nation with an average of 31.9 points per game. Better still, he helped Blake go through a remarkable turnaround. The Yellow Jackets went from a losing record during the 2018-19 season to finishing 22-6 and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2011 last season. 

In the offseason, Sharp switched schools, transferring to Bishop McLaughlin to join his father, Derrick, who took over head coaching duties. After missing the first six games of the season with an injury and enduring a 17-day layoff for contact tracing related to COVID-19, Sharp found his groove. 

The junior guard finished with a team-leading 24.7 points per game and led the Hurricanes to their first state title game appearance in school history. Those numbers, coupled with the playoff run, were the main reasons Sharp won again, this time as the 3A state player of the year. 

He is the first male at Bishop McLaughlin to win a state player of the year award in the school’s classification.

Sharp is one of the prized prospects in the 2022 class for Houston, which went 28-4 and lost to eventual national champion Baylor in the Final Four this season.

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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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