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Girls basketball region quarterfinal preview

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All games tonight start at 7 unless noted (featured photo above courtesy of Full Press Photography).

Class 7A

Steinbrenner (20-8) at Sarasota Riverview (19-1)

The Warriors, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, have a tough task in the opening round against the Rams, the No. 3 team in the state in Class 7A by MaxPreps. 

Class 6A

Seminole (12-9) at Wiregrass Ranch (13-9)

After enduring a 1-5 stretch in January, the Bulls got hot at the right time to make the playoffs as the Class 6A, District 9 champions. The Warhawks, meanwhile, had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Palmetto in the 6A, District 10 final. 

East Lake (22-5) at Palmetto (15-6) 

After losing in the 6A-9 final, the Eagles have to go on the road to face the Tigers, who have won each of their last five games by at least nine points. 

Class 5A

Bradenton Southeast (10-9) at Jefferson (15-2)

First-year Dragons coach Pilar Walker led the program to its third straight district title. Now, Jefferson faces perhaps its toughest opponent of the season. The Seminoles have lost seven of their last eight games but have played one of the toughest schedules in the state.  

Robinson (13-9) at Clearwater (21-4)

The Tornadoes, ranked eighth in the state in 5A by MaxPreps, have won 14 straight — 13 coming by double digits. After starting the season 8-8, the Knights won five of their last six to make the postseason.  

Zephyrhills (18-8) at Orlando Jones (14-5)

The Bulldogs might have a tough challengel, a road matchup against the state’s No. 3-ranked team in 5A according to MaxPreps.  

Lecanto (17-5) at Fivay (18-4)

The Falcons enter the playoffs on an eight-game win streak, including five by double digits. If the game is close, the Panthers might have the edge. Five of their wins were decided by six points or less. 

Class 4A

Atlantic (10-6) at Lakewood (18-4)

These teams met twice last season. The Spartans won both games, including a 20-point rout in the region quarterfinals. 

Anclote (8-15) at Lake Highland Prep (14-0)

No area team has a more difficult matchup than the Sharks, who have to travel to face the undefeated Highlanders, who are ranked first in the state in 4A and second nationally by MaxPreps. 

Eustis (13-6) at Wesley Chapel (19-4)

The Wildcats have some momentum, especially after winning 10 of their last 11 games. The Panthers, meanwhile, had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Lake Highland Prep in the 4A-7 final.  

Class 3A

Seffner Christian (14-5) at Brooks DeBartolo (11-14)

This is a rematch of a 57-56 thriller the Crusaders won last month, Kailyn Gilbert, an Arizona commit, had 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Seffner Christian in that first matchup. The Phoenix rebounded, winning three straight, the highlight coming in a 42-39 victory over defending state champion Carrollwood Day in last week’s 3A-9 final. 

Carrollwood Day (13-4) at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic (12-10)

This is a rematch of a 45-44 win the Patriots pulled out two weeks ago. In that game, the defending state champions rallied from a three-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to win. 

Bradenton Saint Stephen’s (12-7) at St. Petersburg Catholic (19-5)

By winning the 3A-5 district title, the Barons get to play at home, where they are 12-1 this season, the lone loss coming by two points to Boca Ciega last month. 

Calvary Christian (16-4) at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney (16-8)

The Warriors want a rematch with St. Petersburg Catholic in the region semifinals. To make that happen, Calvary Christian has to get the Cougars, who are ranked fifth in the state in 3A by MaxPreps. 

Class 2A

Cambridge Christian (2-16) at Hernando Christian (13-0)

The undefeated Lions were the lone team in the 2A-5 district and automatically advanced as the champion. Hernando Christian beat the Lancers 69-22 in the season opener. 

Naples First Baptist (7-9) at Keswick Christian (12-11)

The host Crusaders battled through inexperience and injuries throughout the season to repeat as 2A-7 champions. Five of Keswick Christian’s losses this season were by five points or less. 

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Thursday night football forecast

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Seffner Christian (2-3) at St. Petersburg Catholic (3-3), 7

After starting 2-0, the visiting Crusaders have lost three straight. The host Barons, meanwhile, have rebounded from a 1-2 start to win two of their last three games. 

Putnam’s prediction: St. Petersburg Catholic 30-28

Gibbs (3-3) at Tarpon Springs (3-3), 7

An important Class 5A, District 10 game for both teams not only to stay in the mix for a title but also to get above .500 for the season. 

Putnam’s prediction: Gibbs 34-21 

Clearwater (5-1) at Anclote (1-5), 7:30

The Tornadoes have won five straight and are the clear favorite to the Class 5A, District 10 title. The host Sharks are on a two-game losing streak. 

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 42-7

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Thursday sports schedule (Oct. 14)

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What to watch

Volleyball

Sunlake (12-5) at Wesley Chapel (13-4), 6

The Seahawks, who have won four straight, try to maintain their streak against the Wildcats in a rematch from last week that Sunlake took in five sets. 

Palm Harbor University (14-8) at Mitchell (18-0), 6:30

The Mustangs have a shot at going undefeated in the regular season. To do that, Mitchell has get the Hurricanes, who have turned things around. 

St. Petersburg (15-8) at East Lake (16-7), 7

The Pinellas County Athletic Conference final is between teams with impressive streaks. The Green Devils have won seven straight while the host Eagles have won five in a row. East Lake has owned the series this season, sweeping its rival in the previous three meetings. 

Newsome (16-7) at Bloomingdale (11-5), 7:30

Both teams have won three straight heading into their regular season finale. 

The schedules

Volleyball

Solid Rock Christian at Grace Christian, 4:30

Zephyrhills Christian at Hernando Christian, 5

Hillsborough Baptist at Foundation Christian, 5

Tampa Prep at Ocala Trinity Catholic, 5:30

Oldsmar Christian at Elfers Christian, 5:30

Brandon Academy at Universal Academy, 6

Sunlake at Wesley Chapel, 6

Tampa Bay HEAT at Shorecrest, 6

Weeki Wachee at Hernando, 6:30

Wiregrass Ranch at Anclote, 6:30

Carrollwood Day at Calvary Christian, 6:30

Citrus at Nature Coast, 6:30

Palm Harbor University at Mitchell, 6:30

St. Petersburg Catholic at Sarasota Christian, 7

Zephyrhills at Gulf, 7

Gulf Coast HEAT at Tampa SLAM, 7

Seven Rivers Christian at Cambridge Christian, 7

Alonso at Freedom, 7

Crystal River at Springstead, 7

St. Petersburg at East Lake, 7

Central at Lecanto, 7:30

Sumner at Brandon, 7:30

Cypress Creek at Pasco, 7:30

Tampa Bay Tech at Gaither, 7:30

River Ridge at Hudson, 7:30

Riverview at East Bay, 7:30

Newsome at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Spoto at Durant, 7:30

Middleton at Leto, 7:30

Plant at Robinson, 7:30

Jefferson at Armwood, 7:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Countryside, 7:30

Swimming

Plant at Berkeley Prep, 5

Tampa Prep at Berkeley Prep, 5:30

Lennard, Riverview at East Bay (Apollo Beach), 6

Blake, Leto at Hillsborough (Copeland), 6

Spoto, Tampa Bay Tech at Plant City (Plant CityYMCA), 6

Freedom at Academy of the Holy Names, 6:30

Steinbrenner, Wharton at Robinson (Bobby Hicks), 6:30

Gaither at Middleton (Cyrus Green), 6:30

Spoto, Sumner at Jefferson (Interbay), 6:30

Brandon, Tampa Bay HEAT at Bloomingdale (High five), 7

Golf 

East Bay at Riverview (boys), 2

Hillsborough at Leto (boys), 2:30

Freedom at Jesuit (boys), 2:30

Alonso at Chamberlain (boys), 3

Sickles at Jefferson (boys/girls), 3

Steinbrenner at Gaither (boys), 3

Newsome at Plant City (boys), 3

Sumner at King (boys/girls), 3:30

Plant at Robinson (boys), 3:30

Berkeley Prep at Tampa Prep, 4

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Volleyball: Hillsborough County Top 15

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The top of the rankings stays the same heading into the final week of the regular season. But there was plenty of movement in the rest of the top 15.

1. Berkeley Prep (22-2)

Up next: Idle

Last spot: No. 1

Why they stayed put: The Buccaneers, ranked fifth in the nation, closed out the regular season on a 15-match win streak, including sweeps over Newsome and Tampa Bay HEAT last week. Berkeley Prep can now focus on the ultra-competitive Class 3A, District 5 tournament, which starts on Oct. 18. 

2. Steinbrenner (21-2)

Up next: Monday at Blake; Tuesday vs. Plant

Last spot: No. 2

Why they stayed put: The Warriors, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, have won 10 straight matches, including a sweep over Alonso in their only match last week. Steinbrenner closes out the regular season with an anticipated matchup against Plant that could serve as a preview of the Class 7A, District 7 final. 

3. Plant (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Steinbrenner; Wednesday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic; Thursday at Robinson

Last spot: No. 3

Why they stayed put: The Panthers, the state’s top team in 7A according to MaxPreps, have won seven straight, all via sweeps. The match against Steinbrenner is not the only tough one this week. Plant also faces Clearwater Central Catholic on Wednesday. 

4. Tampa Prep (18-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay HEAT; Thursday at Ocala Trinity Catholic

Last spot: No. 4

Why they stayed put: The Terrapins are on a three-match win streak after sweeping Academy of the Holy Names last week. Two of Tampa Prep’s five losses this season have come against Berkeley Prep and Plant, both ranked ahead of the Terrapins. 

5. Riverview (13-3)

Up next: Monday at Leto; Thursday at East Bay

Last spot: No. 6

Why they moved up: After starting the season 1-3, the Sharks have won 12 straight matches, including sweeps over Robinson and Durant last week. Riverview will try to keep that streak going with matches against Leto on Monday and East Bay on Thursday to close out the regular season. 

6. Academy of the Holy Names (15-8)

Up next: Tuesday at Osceola

Last spot: No. 5 

Why they moved down: The Jaguars split their two matches last week, sweeping Tampa Bay HEAT and getting swept by Tampa Prep. Academy of the Holy Names travels to Osceola on Tuesday for its regular season finale. 

7. Newsome (15-7)

Up next: Tuesday at Tampa Bay Tech; Thursday at Bloomingdale

Last spot: No. 7

Why they stayed put: The Wolves won their only match last week, sweeping Lennard. Newsome finishes the regular season with matches against Tampa Bay Tech on Tuesday and Bloomingdale on Thursday. 

8. Wharton (13-7)

Up next: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest

Why they stayed put: The Wildcats swept King to extend their win streak to five. Wharton will maintain that streak when it travels to play Strawberry Crest in Tuesday’s regular season finale. 

9. Bloomingdale (11-5)

Up next: Thursday vs. Newsome

Last spot: No. 10

Why they moved up: The Bulls had a solid week, beating Strawberry Crest in five sets and sweeping Sumner to extend their win streak to three. Another challenge comes Thursday when Bloomingdale hosts Newsome in the regular season finale. 

10. Sickles (13-10)

Up next: Monday at Wiregrass Ranch; Tuesday at Gaither

Last spot: No. 9

Why they moved down: The Gryphons split their two matches last week, sweeping Blake and getting swept by Plant. That tough schedule will help Sickles stay competitive in the Class 7A, District 7 tournament that starts Oct. 18. 

11. Plant City (8-4)

Up next: Monday at Lennard

Last spot: No. 15

Why they moved up: The Raiders have won four of their last five matches, including a sweep over East Bay in their only match last week. Plant City finishes the regular season with a match against Lennard on Monday. 

12. Strawberry Crest (12-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Wharton

Why they moved down: The Chargers split their two matches last week, losing in five sets to Bloomingdale and sweeping Leto. Strawberry Crest hosts Wharton on Tuesday in the regular season finale. 

13. Freedom (8-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Hillsborough; Thursday vs. Alonso

Last spot: No. 13

Why they stayed put: Though the schedule has been light, the Patriots have played well. They beat Gaither in five sets in their only match last week. Freedom’s two losses came against Wharton and Strawberry Crest. 

14. Carrollwood Day (13-10)

Up next: Tuesday at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney; Thursday at Calvary Christian

Last spot: No. 12

Why they moved down: The Patriots split their two matches last week, sweeping Patel and getting swept by Bishop McLaughlin. All of Carrollwood Day’s losses this season have come against quality opponents. 

15. Tampa Catholic (12-10)

Up next: Tuesday at Shorecrest

Last spot: No. 14

Why they moved down: The Crusaders will try to snap out of their four-match losing streak when they travel to play Shorecrest in the regular season finale. 

On the bubble: Gaither (6-3) , Sumner (8-8), Cambridge Christian (12-10)

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