Posted On: 01/8/18 3:56 PM
Starting the season playing hard and winning is every teams goal. Talent and work ethic dictate what happens most of the time but there are times when luck and scheduling is on a teams side. I took a look at some of the teams from my area to see if they are CONTENDERS or PRETENDERS.
Tampa Catholic | 12-2 | 5-0 in District
The Crusaders lost a lot of talent last year. To see this kind of success really surprises me but it shouldn’t. History shows that they can continue success after losing some of the states most talented players. I’m certain they will continue its run through this district making them a CONTENDER.
Players to watch: Kobe Knox 13.6 points, 3 assists per game Messiah Turner 11.2 points, 2 steals a game
Ridgewood | 13-3 | 8-1 in District
The Rams are riding high right now but I see two teams in the district salivating at a second chance as they have gotten better since the first matchup. Zephyrhills and Hudson have been playing well but I’m still not convinced that either will battle the Rams’ and win. They are CONTENDERS!
Players to watch: Alec Sherman 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds per game Ty Quiroz 16.5 points per game
St. Petersburg | 10-1 overall | 5-0 in District
The Green Devils are a team that almost made the final four a year ago and they got better this year. If they can remain focused on the task at hand and not look ahead or take a team for granted, I believe they have what it takes to go on a deep run. They are CONTENDERS!
Players to watch: Tai Strickland, Serrell Smith (stats not available)
Lakeland | 14-1 overall | 0-0 in District
The Dreadnaughts look strong. I feel as if this could be miss leading. They have had a few tough opponents but their district is only 4 teams and on any given day a team can lose. I’m going out on a limb to say Lakeland is a PRETENDER. With no district games played yet, I’m just not convinced they can pull it off against Winter Haven, Bartow, and Kathleen.
Player to Watch: Luke Anderson 27 points, 11 rebounds per game
Wharton | 9-1 overall | 6-1 in District
The Wildcats only loss came from a district foe Plant Panthers. Only Tuesday, January 9, they’ll be looking to avenge that loss and share the top spot in the district. Wharton has been a staple of consistency in playing good ball so I look for them to get back to the playoffs. CONTENDER!
Players to watch: DJ Henderson, Darin Green (stats not available)
Plant | 9-2 overall | 7-0 in District
The Panthers have a tough district. For them to go through once undefeated says that they are tough. How tough you ask? I’m not sure but they have several games left against teams on the list. For now, I’m going to say they are CONTENDERS but keep a close eye on the remaining schedule.
Players to watch: Dylan Wilson (stats not available)
Plant City | 10-2 overall | 5-0 in District
The Raiders look poised to take the crown this year in its district championship. By the looks of the games, only Tampa Bay Tech and East Bay can derail that train. In only his third year, Coach Billy Teeden’s squad looks impressive and I have to say they are a CONTENDER!
Players to watch: Matt Simpson 22.8 points, 5 rebounds per game Justyn King 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds per game
Alonso | 10-3 overall | 3-0 in District
The Ravens only have four teams in its district, meaning the only have to win 1 district game and their in the playoffs. Knowing that fact and the fact that they’ve beat the other 3 already, I’m saying they are a CONTENDER but not for long.
Player to watch: Segar Cavalier (no stats available)
*All stats and records are via maxpreps.com