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Boys Basketball

Tuesday sports schedule

Bob Putnam

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What to watch

Boys soccer

Nature Coast (12-1-2) at Weeki Wachee (11-2), 7:30

The Sharks won the first meeting two weeks ago and are trying to sweep the season series before the district tournament. The Hornets, meanwhile, are looking to not only exact revenge but also gain some momentum. 

Wharton (8-3-2) at Strawberry Crest (8-1-2), 8

The Chargers put their undefeated record at home on the line when they face the Wildcats in a solid matchup between two teams capable of making playoff runs. 

Girls basketball

Lakewood (12-3) at Carrollwood Day (8-3), 6

The Spartans, known for playing a tough schedule, go on the road to face the defending Class 3A state champions. 

Newsome (10-4) at Riverview (11-4), 6:30

In the first meeting the Sharks overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to win in 48-44 in overtime. A regular season sweep would likely secure a top three spot in the Class 7A, District 8 standings for Riverview. 

Wesley Chapel (13-3) at Brooks DeBartolo (7-3), 6:30

Last week the Wildcats got past Academy of the Holy Names and now face another formidable Hillsborough County opponent in the Phoenix. 

Girls soccer

Wharton (8-2-1) at Strawberry Crest (10-1), 6

After a two-week layoff the Chargers return hoping to rebound after losing for the first time this season. Scoring will be difficult considering both teams have allowed just 15 goals combined this season. 

Wiregrass Ranch (9-3-2) at Sickles (12-2-1), 6

Both teams are ranked among the top 11 in the state in their respective classification by MaxPreps (the Bulls are No. 11 in 6A and the Gryphons are No. 10 in 7A). 

The schedules

Boys basketball

Lakeside Christian at Lakewood Ranch, 4:30

Delphi Academy at Classical Prep, 5

Pinellas Park at Bradenton Manatee, 6

Grace Christian at Spring Hill Christian, 6

Brandon Academy at Spring Hill Christian, 6:30

Blake at Jesuit, 7

Armwood at Lakeland Kathleen, 7

Oldsmar Christian at DME Sports Academy, 7

Bayshore Christian at Community Christian, 7

Steinbrenner at Plant, 7

Lakeland George Jenkins at Strawberry Crest, 7

Anclote at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Keswick Christian, 7:30

Sunlake at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30

AACA at Tampa Prep, 7:30

Carrollwood Day at Cypress Creek, 7:30

Springstead at Citrus, 7:30

River Ridge at Hudson, 7:30

St. Petersburg at Calvary Christian, 7:30

Central at hernando, 7:30

Zephyrhills Christian at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7:30

Tampa Catholic at Seffner Christian, 7:30

Wiregrass Ranch at Zephyrhills, 7:30

Clearwater Central Catholic at Northside Christian, 7:30

Academy at the Lakes at Hernando Christian, 7:30

Nature Coast at Lecanto, 7:30

IMG Academy White at Fivay, 7:30

Crystal River at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Countryside at East Lake, 7:30

Clearwater at Gibbs, 7:45

Canterbury at Palm Harbor University, 7:45

Osceola at Largo, 7:45

Robinson at Spoto, 8

Chamberlain at Sumner, 8

Lennard at Durant, 8

Tampa Bay Tech at Bloomingdale, 8

Leto at Brandon, 8

Hillsborough at East Bay, 8

Gaither at Alonso, 8

Middleton at Jefferson, 8

King at Freedom, 8

Boys soccer

Academy at the Lakes at Anclote, 4

Cambridge Christian at Canterbury, 5

Calvary Christian at Northside Christian, 6

Central at Cypress Creek, 6:30

Wiregrass Ranch at The Villages, 6:30

Osceola at Keswick Christian, 7

Jesuit at Mitchell, 7

Fivay at Lecanto, 7

Sarasota Christian at Admiral Farragut, 7

Bradenton Christian at Indian Rocks Christian, 7

Lakewood at Palmetto, 7

River Ridge at Pasco, 7:30

Nature Coast at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Zephyrhills at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Spoto at Durant, 8

Pinellas Park at Hollins, 8

Freedom at Hillsborough, 8

Gaither at Jefferson, 8

Chamberlain at King, 8

Newsome at Bloomingdale, 8

Clearwater at East Lake, 8

Wharton at Strawberry Crest, 8

Steinbrenner at Robinson, 8

Armwood at Middleton, 8

Alonso at Plant, 8

Riverview at East Bay, 8

Plant City at Lennard, 8

Girls basketball

Grace Christian at Spring Hill Christian, 5

Cambridge Christian at Lakeside Christian, 5

Central at hernando, 6

Lakewood at Carrollwood Day, 6

Tampa Catholic at Wiregrass Ranch, 6

Gibbs at St. Petersburg Catholic, 6

Academy at the Lakes at Hernando Christian, 6

Calvary Christian at Northeast, 6

Steinbrenner at Tampa Prep, 6

Osceola at Indian Rocks Christian, 6

Keswick Christian at Academy of the Holy Names, 6:30

Fivay at Nature Coast, 6:30

Chamberlain at Sumner, 6:30

Leto at Brandon, 6:30

Newsome at Riverview, 6:30

Robinson at Spoto, 6:30

Lennard at Durant, 6:30

Citrus at Springstead, 6:30

Bloomingdale at Berkeley Prep, 6:30

Wesley Chapel at Brooks DeBartolo, 6:30

Hillsborough at East Bay, 6:30

Gaither at Alonso, 6:30

Middleton at Jefferson, 6:30

Sickles at Wharton, 6:30

Largo at St. Petersburg, 7

Lakeland George Jenkins at Plant City, 7

East Lake at Gulf, 7

Zephyrhills at Pasco, 7:30

Mitchell at Sunlake, 7:30

Weeki Wachee Crystal River, 7:30

Girls soccer

Seven Rivers Christian at Seffner Christian, 4

Northside Christian at Universal Academy, 4

Berkeley Prep at Carrollwood Day, 5

Bell Creek Academy at Keswick Christian, 5

Shorecrest at Calvary Christian, 5

Sarasota Christian at Admiral Farragut, 5

Brooks DeBartolo at Cristo Rey, 5

Bradenton Christian at Indian Rocks Christian, 5

Sumner at Brandon, 6

Riverview at East Bay, 6

Wharton at Strawberry Crest, 6

Gaither at Jefferson, 6

Palmetto at Hollins, 6

Newsome at Bloomingdale, 6

Alonso at Plant, 6

Armwood at Middleton, 6

Blake at Leto, 6

Freedom at Hillsborough, 6

Chamberlain at King, 6

Steinbrenner at Robinson, 6

Spoto at Durant, 6

Plant City at Lennard, 6

Clearwater at East Lake, 6

Wiregrass Ranch at Sickles, 6

Cambridge Christian at Tampa Prep, 6

Springstead at Central, 6:30

Hernando at Gulf, 6:30

Countryside at Osceola, 6:30

Zephyrhills at Nature Coast, 6:30

Weeki Wachee at Fivay, 6:30

Cypress Creek at River Ridge, 7:30

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Boys Basketball

Sharp’s shooting leads to Bishop McLaughlin to 3A state final

Bob Putnam

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Bishop McLaughlin’s burgeoning athletic program has already done some impressive things this school year. In the fall, the volleyball team reached the state semifinals and the football program played for a state title as an independent. 

On Wednesday, it was the boys basketball that had the spotlight. 

The Hurricanes, who won just two games last season, made a memorable playoff debut by reaching the state semifinals for the first time. 

When it came to postseason experience, Bishop McLaughlin was at a serious disadvantage in its matchup with Jacksonville Andrew Jackson. 

The Tigers were in the semifinals for the third straight season and were motivated to get to the championship game after losing in the finals the past two seasons. They had 10 returning players accustomed to being on basketball’s biggest stage. 

Still, the Hurricanes had something better.

They had Emanuel Sharp.

Sharp, the Class 5A state player of the year when he was at Blake last season, was among several high-profile transfers who made Bishop McLaughlin’s turnaround possible. 

Sharp took those honors because of ability to pile on the points. 

And that is just what the junior guard in the semifinals, finishing with 39 points to lead the Hurricanes to a 79-71 victory. Bishop McLaughlin will play the Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian-Miami Country Day winner in Friday’s 3A title game

And that is just what the junior guard in the semifinals, finishing with 39 points to lead the Hurricanes to a 77-71 victory. Bishop McLaughlin will play the Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian-Miami Country Day winner in Friday’s 3A title game.

From the start, Sharp dominated. He threw down emphatic dunks. He stepped back and hit NBA-range 3-pointers. He knocked down free throws.

More importantly, he rarely missed, an impressive feat for someone making his state semifinal debut. 

The vastness of Lakeland’s RP Funding Center, site of the tournament, can create problems with depth perception on long-range shots. Typically, area teams that make it there schedule a practice at USF or Eckerd College to get used to playing in a bigger arena.

Trouble was, no team was able to practice elsewhere because of the pandemic. 

That did not faze Sharp. 

He missed just two shots in the first half, going 7-of-9 in field goals and hitting all 12 of his free throw attempts. His 28 points led all scorers and helped the Hurricanes go into the half with a 38-23 lead.

Sharp’s shooting touch cooled off. He made just one of his six field goal attempts in the second half. But his first half performance — and his ability to hit some clutch free throws (21-of-22 overall from the line) — was more than enough to lead the Hurricanes into the final. 

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Boys Basketball

Boys basketball: Class 3A state semifinal preview

Bob Putnam

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Boys basketball state semifinals

All games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.  Admission is $10 in advance, $13 on the day of the event. Parking is $10.

Class 3A

Bishop McLaughlin (21-6) vs. Jacksonville Andrew Jackson (19-6), 2

How they got here: Bishop McLaughlin d. Calvary Christian 62-48, d. Carrollwood Day 84-66, d. Fort Myers Canterbury 47-42. Andrew Jackson d. Florida State University 82-65, d. Jacksonville Bishop Snyder 58-37, d. Winter Park Trinity Prep 69-47. 

Top players: Bishop McLaughlin: G Emanuel Sharp, Jr. (23.6 points, 4.2 assists, 1.8 steals per game); F/G Dillon Mitchell, Jr.(18.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 blocks per game); F/G Anthony Davis Jr., Jr. (12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds per game). Andrew Jackson: F/G Bryce Turner, Sr. (9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds per game); C Stephon Payne, Jr. (6.6 points, 6.0 rebounds per game); F Davin Daniels, Sr. (6.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists per game). 

Outlook: Bishop McLaughlin, which won two games last season, made its playoff debut last with its first state semifinal appearance. The Hurricanes did while playing all three regional games on the road. Emanuel Sharp, the Class 5A state player of the year at Blake last season, arrived this year and has been the go-to guy-averaging a team-high 23.6 points per game. Dillon Mitchell, a four-star recruit, came from Sickles and has been an inside force for Bishop McLaughlin. The advantage in experience goes to Andrew Jackson, which is making its third straight state semifinal appearance. The Tigers are motivated, especially after losing in the state title game the past two seasons. It is a veteran team with 10 returning players from last year’s squad. 

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Boys Basketball

The PTP boys basketball players of the week

Bob Putnam

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The fans’ pick

G Juan Arias, Sr., Brandon Academy

Brandon Academy’s nascent boys basketball program has made significant strides. After going winless in an abbreviated varsity schedule during the 2017-18 season, the Scorpions steadily improved, culminating with their first playoff appearance this year. 

Juan Arias was the catalyst for that postseason push. The veteran averaged 11.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Last month, he set the school record for points in a game with 36. 

Two weeks ago, he had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Brandon Academy to its first playoff win against Academy at the Lakes. 

Fans were impressed. Arias received more than 46 percent of the vote (703) to beat out Wiregrass Ranch’s Joshua Wilson, who had 35 percent (503 votes).

The PTP picks

G Joshua Martin, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: Led the Bulls with 29 points in a win over St. Petersburg, the first playoff victory for Wiregrass Ranch in a decade. 

F Joe Pesansky, Sr., Jesuit: The two-sport star dominated down low, finishing with 29 points and seven rebounds to lead the Tigers’ impressive comeback against Clearwater.

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