Sunday, January 21, 2018
Prep Sports Report

Host St. Petersburg leans on guards to top Sickles

ST. PETERSBURG — The primetime matchup at St. Petersburg's annual shootout was a contrast in strengths.

The host Green Devils are led by a trio of electrifying guards — Serrel Smith and Tai and Terrell Strickland. The Gryphons, the defending Class 8A state champions, have an imposing frontcourt, led by 6-foot-8 forward Bryce Workman and 6-7 forward Denari Garrett.

There were quick crossovers, thunderous dunks and a barrage of 3-pointers from St. Petersburg's guards. There were lots of short jumpers and layups from Sickles' big men.

In the end, the Green Devils guards pulled through, especially in the final two minutes to pull out a 78-68 victory.

"Sickles is really good, and I could see a rematch down the road in the playoffs," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. "Our guard is something. That's what led us. I haven't seen two guards (Tai Strickland and Smith) who can do it like those guys can."

Tai had the hot start, hitting several long-range shots to help the Green Devils (12-1) jump out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter.

The Gryphons (11-5) would not go away.

In the fourth quarter, Sickles took its first lead, 57-56, with 5:40 remaining, and went up by as many as three.

Smith took over late, hitting a crucial 3-pointer and making several free throws to seal the win. Smith finished a team-high 27 points and Tai added 23.

Workman led all scorers with 29 points and Garrett had 14.

Gibbs 61, Tampa Bay Tech 59 (OT): Trailing most of the game, the Gladiators forced overtime, then won it by hitting crucial free throws.

Tre Gilliam, who led Gibbs with 19 points, hit a pair of three throws with 1.2 seconds left that proved to be the difference.

The Gladiators (12-4) have a knack for hitting clutch free throws at St. Petersburg's shootout. Last year, Gibbs beat Class 4A state finalist Seffner Christian 54-53 by hitting a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left in regulation.

Gilliam, who scored more than 30 points in consecutive games this past week, has become the Gladiators' go-to player, especially with David Pierce serving a six-week suspension due to a physical altercation at a tournament in Jacksonville over the winter break.

The Gladiators have won six straight.

The Titans (10-6) had their two-game win streak snapped. TBT has not fared well against Pinellas County foes this season. Last week, the Titans lost to Lakewood and Seminole at Clearwater's shootout.

Tyrick Brascom led TBT with 22 points against Gibbs.

Admiral Farragut 61, Lakewood 50: Saturday's game was a rare matchup for the private school against one of Pinellas County's top public schools.

Blue Jackets coach Julian Allen just wanted to play the Spartans at full strength. Lakewood was without starters Jamille Reynolds and Jalen White.

Reynolds, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, is out three weeks after partially tearing his meniscus in last week's win over Tampa Bay Tech. White, the Spartans' top recruit, is expected to return Thursday from a fractured bone in his wrist.

Admiral Farragut (12-5) got into a rhythm early, opening up a 19-point lead at the half. From there, the Blue Jackets cruised to pick up their third win this week.

Winston Dessesow led AFA in scoring with 22 points. Andreas Fuller, who this week was the lone bay area player selected as a nominee for the McDonald's All American Game, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lakewood's top scorer was Adrian White with 14 points.

Canterbury 61, Bradenton Southeast 59: The Crusaders have beefed up their schedule, playing public schools in higher classifications at shootouts the past two weeks. On Saturday, Canterbury (8-7) got above .500 with perhaps its biggest win of the season, beating a Seminoles squad that was 10-5 and had beaten Lakewood earlier this season.


National Hoopfest: St. Petersburg’s Serrel Smith shines in loss to national power

TAMPA — Where there's a will, there's a way. And Serrel Smith had a gym-full of will on Saturday.With St. Petersburg trailing nationally-ranked Oak Hill Academy by as many as 21 points in the third quarter of the National Hoopfest contest, Smit...
Updated: 8 hours ago

National Hoopfest: Berkeley Prep proves to be no pushover

TAMPA —  Berkeley Prep's four-game win streak came to end Friday.That was expected.The Buccaneers faced West Oaks Academy, an independent powerhouse from Orlando that plays a national schedule, during Friday's National Hoopfest tournament....
Published: 01/19/18
Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

TAMPA — Being handed the Guy Toph trophy — which has been awarded to Hillsborough County's top football player every year since 1939 — is a pretty big deal.Winners love smiling for photo after photo while holding up the big, old, go...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18

Carrollwood Day cruises past new district foe Seffner Christian

TAMPA – Carrollwood Day moved up to Class 4A this season, which meant it was in the same district as perennial power Seffner Christian. The Patriots made it clear Thursday night that they are the new team to beat.Four Carrollwood players scored...
Published: 01/18/18
New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

Berkeley Prep's Renaldo Garcia still is the same coach. He still bellows instructions from the sidelines. His players still are methodical on offense, efficient on defense.The only difference is Garcia now wears navy and Columbia blue instead of gree...
Published: 01/18/18
HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (11-1)This week: Friday at Osceola; Saturday vs. Oak Hill (Va.) @Berkeley Prep's National HoopfestThe buzz: The Green Devils returned to action last week, beating Palm Harbor University by 33 and Sickles by 10. Guards Serrel Smith a...
Published: 01/17/18
Sorry, Dad, no baseball for this Radke

Sorry, Dad, no baseball for this Radke

TAMPA — From the very beginning, Ryan Radke was surrounded by baseball.The son of former major-league right-hander Brad Radke, Ryan grew up in stadiums, playing with toys at ballparks all over the country while his father made a living during a...
Published: 01/17/18

Overtime favors Countryside in girls hoops bout with Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Two similarly successful teams in Clearwater and Countryside combined for one exciting game.Facing each other Tuesday night in a brilliant, all-out girls basketball battle, one unfortunate play turned the tide.Leading by two p...
Published: 01/17/18

Largo rallies past Palm Harbor University 3-2, wins PCAC north

LARGO — Prior to Tuesday night's game against Palm Harbor University, Largo coach Dan Flynn gave his team a pep talk that may have been slightly embellished. He told his team that he talked to fellow coaches, who told him they had little chance...
Published: 01/16/18
HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Alonso (14-1)This week: Wednesday vs. Tampa Bay Tech, Friday at RiverviewThe buzz: The Ravens picked up a big win last week against Plant. They are very well-rounded. Jacquelyn LeVay is one of the best guards in the area. And under the basket, sen...
Published: 01/16/18