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Girls Basketball

FHSAA releases girls basketball class and district assignments

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The Florida High School Athletic Association released the classifications, districts and regions for girls basketball this coming season. The assignments are based on student enrollment numbers from October 2020. This is a one-year cycle that the FHSAA board of directors voted on. There likely will be a two-year cycle starting with the 2022-23 calendar year. The classifications and districts for the other sports will be released at a later date. Below is the list for area teams. For the full  girls basketball list click here.  

Class 7A, District 6

Alonso

East Lake

Palm Harbor University

Plant 

Sickles

Steinbrenner

Class 7A, District 7

Durant

Lakewood Ranch

Newsome

Plant City

Riverview

Class 6A, District 9

Gaither

Land O’ Lakes

Largo

Leto

Mitchell

Pinellas Park

Sunlake

Class 6A, District 10

Armwood

Hillsborough

Strawberry Crest

Tampa Bay Tech

Wharton

Wiregrass Ranch

Class 6A, District 11

Bloomingdale

Bradenton Manatee

Braden River

East Bay

Lennard

Palmetto

Sumner

Class 5A, District 5

Belleview

Citrus

Lake Weir

Lecanto

Leesburg

Ocala Vanguard

Springstead

Class 5A, District 6

Cypress Creek

Fivay

Gulf

Pasco

River Ridge

Wesley Chapel

Zephyrhills

Class 5A, District 8

Blake

Brandon

Freedom

Jefferson

Jesuit

King

Middleton

Robinson

Class 5A, District 9

Clearwater

Countryside

Hollins

Osceola

Seminole

Class 5A, District 10

Boca Ciega

Bradenton Bayshore

Bradenton Southeast

Northeast

St. Petersburg

Class 4A, District 9

Central

Crystal River

Hernando

Nature Coast

South Sumter

Weeki Wachee

Class 4A, District 10

Academy of the Holy Names

Anclote

Chamberlain

Dunedin

Hudson

Tarpon Springs

Class 4A, District 11

Gibbs

Lakewood

Parrish

Sarasota Booker

Sebring

Wauchula Hardee

Class 3A, District 5

Bell Creek

Bishop McLaughlin

Brooks DeBartolo

Carrollwood Day

Seffner Christian

Tampa Catholic

Tampa Prep

Class 3A, District 6

Admiral Farragut

Berkeley Prep

Calvary Christian

Clearwater Central Catholic

St. Petersburg Catholic

Class 2A, District 9

Academy at the Lakes

Classical Prep

Hernando Christian

Seven Rivers Christian

Zephyrhills Christian

Class 2A, District 10

Cambridge Christian

Foundation Christian

Lakeside Christian

Universal Academy

Class 2A, District 11

Bradenton Christian

Canterbury

Indian Rocks Christian

Keswick Christian

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General

Plant’s Kendal Cheesman named Gatorade state player of the year

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The awards continue to pile up for Kendal Cheesman. 

After leading Plant’s girls basketball team to its first state title two months ago, Cheesman was named the Class 7A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association and the state player of the year by MaxPreps. 

Now, the Vanderbilt signee can add the Gatorade Florida girls basketball player of the year to the list. 

The Panthers senior forward averaged 17.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this past season. In the 7A final, she scored 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to help Plant knock off defending champion Miami, the team that beat the Panthers in last year’s title game.

Cheesman also is president of student government and has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her school’s National Honor Society. In addition, she has donated her time to Best Buddies and as a youth basketball coach. 

This is the first time an area has been named the Gatorade state player of the year since Lakewood’s Destanni Henderson during the 2018-18 season. 

Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” campaign, Cheesman has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. Cheesman also is eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization she chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year.

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College Basketball

Trinity Baptiste selected in second round of WNBA draft.

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Three weeks ago, Arizona’s Trinity Baptiste, a former star at Hillsborough, made history, becoming the first player from Hillsborough County and just the third player ever from the Tampa bay area to reach the NCAA Women’s Final Four. 

On Thursday, Baptiste was included in another elite list among locals when she became just the third area player to be selected in the WNBA draft. 

Baptiste was picked in the second round (24th overall) by the Indiana Fever. She joins Bernice Mosby (Hernando/Florida/Baylor) and Candice Dupree (Wharton/Temple) as the area’s only draftees. 

After starting her college career at Northwest Florida State College, Baptiste transferred to Virginia Tech. She played in every game for the Hokies during her sophomore and junior seasons, even earning ACC Sixth player of the year honors last season. 

But she never made the NCAA tournament — until this season.

As a starter this season, Baptiste helped the Wildcats qualify for the NCAA women’s tournament for just the eighth time, the last coming in 2005. . 

In the Elite Eight, Baptiste, a senior forward, finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to beat Indiana.

Photos courtesy of Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics

The only other area players to play in the Final Four were Dominique Redding and Necole Tunsil. 

Redding, who starred at Clearwater, played at Tennessee and won a national title in 2007. She still is the only area player to be crowned a champion at the Division I level. The only other local to make a women’s Final Four is Tunsil, a former star and now coach at Lakewood, who started for Iowa when the Hawkeyes advanced in 1993.

The charmed run continued with Arizona knocking off powerhouse Connecticut in the semifinals before falling to rival Stanford in the title game. 

This past week, Baptiste announced she would forgo another of eligibility to turn pro. Teammate Aari McDonald went third overall in Thursday’s draft. It is just the second time the Wildcats have had two players selected in the same WNBA draft. 

And it marks another historical moment for Baptiste on the local and national level. 

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General

Pinellas vs. Hillsborough all-star hoops games set for Thursday

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The Hillsborough vs. Pinellas County boys and girls all-star basketball games are at Tampa Slam Academy on Thursday. The girls play at 6 p.m., followed by the boys. Admission is $5.

Rosters

Hillsborough Boys

Bayshore Christian: CJ Crews; Blake: Cedric Jackson; Bloomingdale: Jalen Gallman; Brooks DeBartolo: Trae Martin; Carrollwood Day: Michael Trigg; Durant: Matthew Lentz; Hillsborough: Jalen Harris; Plant City: Ezereke Dawson; Tampa Prep: Valentino Hart; Wharton: Elijah Barnes 

Pinellas Boys

Clearwater: Nelson Taylor; East Lake: Anthony Bittar, Dean Gabrelcik; Hollins: Fernando Monroe; Lakewood: Oteman Delancy; Palm Harbor University: Connor Bartholomew; Pinellas Park: Stevmoney Medaries; Seminole: John Stephany; St. Petersburg: Kareem Grant, Ray Perry

Hillsborough Girls

Brooks DeBartolo: Amarie Godwin, Bri McClinton, Triniti Youngblood; Carrollwood Day: Aryana Dizon; Chamberlain: Adina Davis; East Bay: Courtney Logan; Jefferson: Zanayliah Hutchinson; Plant: Kendal Cheesman, Nyla Jean; Seffner Christian: Chimera Iloanya; Steinbrenner: Anaiyah Allen  

Pinellas Girls

Boca Ciega: Sy’ria White; Clearwater: Monae Jones; Clearwater Central Catholic: Ashley Hancock; Countryside: Riley Croasmun; Dunedin: Nyvaria Norwood; East Lake: Whitney Rush; Hollins: Nia Donaldson, J.J. Johnson, Brianna Lloyd; Northeast: Carolyn Harris, Meya King, Katilyn Race; St. Petersburg Catholic: Tori Knight

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