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With Dupree's lead, Wharton on a roll

By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2002

TAMPA -- With the regular season winding down and the district tournaments tipping off Tuesday, Wharton girls basketball continues its roll toward the post season. And Candice Dupree is the main reason why.

Dupree has helped the Wildcats to a 20-4 record with performances like her 27-point effort Tuesday against Riverview. Dupree also added 20 rebounds, seven steals and three assists as the Wildcats defeated the Sharks 43-38. Dupree is third in Hillsborough County in scoring with a 21-point per game average and first in rebounding with 17.5 per game.

Pollsters have noticed the Wildcats' efforts. Wharton received eight votes on this week's Class 5A state poll, checking them in at No. 11, their highest position this season.

In other girls action, King defeated Sickles 64-42, Gaither slipped 52-50 against Tampa Bay Tech despite 20 points from Elaine Evans. Despite the loss, the Cowboys, at 16-9, still received a vote on this week's Class 5A poll. Leto, meanwhile, suffered a 62-49 loss to Brandon, despite 16 points from Holly Manninen and 13 points from J.J. Womble. Falcons' guard Yarenis Blanco remains third in the county in assists with 3.7 per game.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Gaither received 21 points from Antonio Russell and 17 from Kareem Garibaldi in its 62-54 win against Sarasota Jan. 27. The win improved Gaither, ranked 10th in the state's Class 6A boys poll, to 17-5 on the season. In other boys' games, Max Hardy scored 18 points to lead Wharton to a 77-47 thrashing of Tampa Bay Tech and Leto defeated Sickles 69-61. Russell remains among the county's top scorers with his 20.8 points per game average. Russell is fourth while teammate Brandon Harrison is fifth with a 20.6 ppg average. Chamberlain's Otis White is third at 22.3 ppg and Leto's Jon Abreu is sixth at 19.9.

GIRLS SOCCER: In Class 3A-9 district tournament action, Chamberlain topped Leto 2-1 but fell 4-0 in the second round to Sickles. The Gryphons pounded the Chiefs on the strength of goals from Lauren Ophaug, Jessica Forsythe, Megan Wolfe and Lydia Harvey. In the Class 4A-5 tournament, Gaither lost 2-1 to Riverview in the opening round.

BOYS SOCCER: In the opening round of the Class 4A, District 5 tournament, Bloomingdale and Wharton waited until the second half to do all their scoring but it wasn't enough for the Wildcats, who lost 2-1. Wharton ends its season at 8-6-1.

Meanwhile, in the Class 3A, District 9 event, Leto topped Sickles 2-1 in the opening round.

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