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Prime Time Preps’ all-Hillsborough County volleyball

Bob Putnam

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Player of the year

OH Kylie Stroehlein, Sr., Sickles

After a shoulder injury cut short her junior season, Kylie Stroehlein vowed to return. 

She came back stronger, more focused and injury-free. 

That helped her put up big numbers. Stroehlein led area players in hitting percentage (.496) and was tied with two other area players for second in kills per set (5.0). 

In one week, Stroehlein had a combined 113 kills and 87 digs to help the Gryphons go 6-2 . 

Her domination at the net led to some worthy praise. During that impressive eight-match stretch, Stroehlein was named the MaxPreps/American Volleyball Coaches Association state player of the week. She was the only area player to receive that honor this season. 

Better still, her play was a big reason Sickles made the playoffs for the first time since 2012. 

Coach of the year

Vanja Todorovic, Plant

Midway through the season, Plant went 3-4 during a seven-match stretch. 

No matter. Vanja Todorovic was able to get his team to rebound at the right time.

The Panthers won eight straight matches down the stretch and reached the state semifinals for the third straight season.  

First team

S Sophie Fleeger, Sr., Plant

L Sophia Kotsovolos, Jr., Plant

MH Olivia Mogridge, Jr., Steinbrenner

MH Lilou Stegeman, Sr., Steinbrenner

OH Erin Morrissey, Sr., Plant

OH Mila Yarich, Sr., Robinson

OH Gia Padilla, Sr., Carrollwood Day

OH Gracie Kiser, Sr., Tampa Prep

Second team

S Olivia Rabinowitz, Jr., Berkeley Prep

S Victoria Padilla, Fr., Sickles

L Madi Espy, Jr., Steinbrenner

MH Bella Bonatakis, Jr., Wharton

MH Jalyn Brown, Sr., Carrollwood Day

MH Becca Bach, Sr., Steinbrenner

OH Kinsley Warbritton, So., Academy of the Holy Names

OH Mallory Smith, Jr., Plant City

Honorable mention

Academy of the Holy Names: Janessa Bailey, Morgan Garlick, Camryn McClendon, Olivia Mortellaro; Armwood: Mikayla Warnell; Bayshore Christian: Emma Chapman, Marli Rose; Bloomingdale: Peyton Carter; Berkeley Prep: Camryn Carlo, Ava Swain; Brandon: Yomaris Rodriguez Castell; Carrollwood Day: Jessie Golden, Laney Higgins, Kacy Krig, Yalianie Rojas, Jasmine Welton; Durant: Paige Edson, Amari Fitts; East Bay: Kennedy Reed; Freedom: Dahlia Palacios, Isabel Rosenfeld; King: Elizabeth Branch; Leto: Kalesta Barreto, Sage Sharpe; Middleton: Madalyn Finstein, Elisa Landry, Jeilin Robinson; Newsome: Chloe Adams, Natania Fletcher, Sydney Ginaitt, Charlotte Llewellyn, Olivia Neu; Plant: Reese Friar, Lily Frierson, Bella Lee, Georgia Lowe, Sterling O’Neal; Plant City: Bailey Blanton, Eva Oyola, Brea Simmons; Riverview: Brooke Arnold, Hannah Bowers, Ariya Harris, Anise Lowe; Robinson: Casey Ingram, Katie Kemp, Jill Tanke; Sickles: Mia Holder, Tatum Pope, Gwen Tippen, Emilie Vendrone, Sheisa Villegas; Steinbrenner: Maddie Hill, Mandy Knipp, Isabel Reynolds; Strawberry Crest: Alex Friebolin, Emma Futch, Delaney Mobley, Maleea Zeto; Sumner: Coral Dastas Marcial; Tampa Bay HEAT: Olivia Balogh, Kaley Preston, Mia Saavedra, Elizabeth Southard, Candra Stephenson; Tampa SLAM: Victoria Hornedo-Diaz, Cyrianna Lee, Daylian Palermo; Tampa Bay Tech: Amari Colvin, Brooke Lewis; Tampa Catholic: Emma Hennessee, Riley Sipperly, Araceli Wakefield; Tampa Prep: Olivia Hart, Rylee Johnson, Maddie Newton, Alexandra Postlethwait, Ivanna Zojovic; Wharton: Gabby Frye, Jacquelyn Kelley, Johanally Sosa. 

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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General

Tuesday night rewind: Softball

Bob Putnam

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Scoreboard

Sickles 5, Mitchell 0

Boca Ciega 7, Northeast 5

Brooks DeBartolo 5, Hernando Christian 4

Berkeley Prep 16, Admiral Farragut 1

Land O’ Lakes 13, Tarpon Springs 1

Seminole 4, Countryside 0

Hernando 11, Springstead 1

Lakeside Christian 16, Keswick Christian 3

Sumner 15, Blake 0

Newsome 9, Lennard 1

Osceola 5, Clearwater 1

Calvary Christian 17, Clearwater Central Catholic 0

St. Petersburg Catholic 7, Cambridge Christian 2

Gaither 18, Armwood 0

River Ridge 16, Fivay 0

Robinson 11, Riverview 3

East Lake 7, St. Petersburg 1

Sickles 4, Mitchell 0

Weeki Wachee 15, Central 5

Plant 11, Wharton 10

Nature Coast 12, Crystal River 0

Sunlake 17, Gulf 0

Wiregrass Ranch 19, Tampa Bay Tech 2

Wesley Chapel 17, Bishop McLaughlin 0

Prime time performers

3B/P/SS DaNia Brooks, So., Sickles: Led the Gryphons on offense by going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs in a win over Mitchell. 

SS Brooke Blankenship, Sr., River Ridge: Went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs in a win over Fivay. 

3B Julia Diecidue, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Went 2-for-3 with a grand slam homer in a win over Admiral Farragut. 

SS/3B Bri Duggins, Sr., Plant: Finished 4-for-4 in a win over Wharton. 

CF/INF/P Kendra Falby, Sr., Sunlake: Led the Seahawks by going 3-for-3 with two RBIs in a win over Gulf. 

P/OF Kaitlyn Felton, Sr., Newsome: Threw four scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out seven in a win over Lennard. 

P/3B Alexa Grande, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic: Threw a complete game and recorded nine strikeouts in a win over Cambridge Christian. 

P/1B Mikayla Haschak, Sr., Sunlake: Struck out all six batters she faced in a win over Gulf. 

3B/1B Jordan Herring, Sr., Boca Ciega: Went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in a win over Northeast.

P/1B Robyn Herron, Jr., Sickles: Threw a one-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts in a win over Mitchell.  

SS/C Leah Jarnac, Sr., Calvary Christian: Went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in a win over 

C/OF/1B Abbee Klinefelter, So., Clearwater: Finished 2-for-2 in a loss to Osceola. 

C/3B Kadence Means, Jr., Wesley Chapel: Hit a grand slam in a win over Bishop McLaughlin. 

C/3B/SS Madison Moran, Sr., Weeki Wachee: Went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in a win over Central. 

P/INF Mariah Rivera, Sr., Osceola: Hit her third homer of the season in a win over Clearwater. 

P/1B/OF Jordan Sheets, Jr., River Ridge: Threw a three-inning no-hitter and recorded four strikeouts in a win over Gulf. 

3B/OF/P Gracie Stanley, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Went 2-for-4 at the plate and combined with Mia Fields and Aliana Mercado for a no-hitter on the mound in a win over Tarpon Springs. 

UTIL Hannah Taylor, So., Hernando: Went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in a win over Springstead. 

SS Tieley Vaughn, Sr., Wharton: Led the Wildcats by going 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI in a loss to Plant. 

OF Samantha Walz, So., Newsome: Finished 5-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs in a win over Lennard. 

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