By ROD GIPSON
Wharton's Dupree takes top honors
PEBBLE CREEK -- Accolades continue to roll in for Wharton's Candice Dupree. Already the Wildcat's career scoring leader and headed to Temple University on a scholarship, Dupree was honored Thursday with the Dottie McGahagin Award as the Hillsborough County girls basketball player of the year. In addition to her 21 points, 17 rebounds, six steals and seven blocks per game averages, she also led the team in the classroom with a 4.8 grade point average.
The Hillsborough County Winter Sports Academic Awards also were handed out Thursday and Wharton's girls basketball team posted the highest team GPA among the county's girls squads with a 3.75 GPA. Leto was honored with the highest boys basketball GPA with 3.35 and the Falcon's soccer team posted the highest team GPA in their sport at 3.42.
TRACK & FIELD: It's been a busy week for Dupree, as she also helped the Wharton girls track team win the Seminole Relays on Tuesday. Dupree placed second in the discus and teammate Natalie Moser was second in both the pole vault and the 330 hurdles. Kendra Smith led the way for Wharton, winning the triple jump with a meet and school record leap of 38 feet, 5 inches. Wharton won the meet with 111 points, host Seminole (92.5) finished second while Gaither was third at 77.
SOFTBALL: Sickles saw its perfect start come to an end March 16 at the hands of area rival Chamberlain. Both teams are among the area's best this year and have achieved lofty rankings on the state polls. Sickles remains no. 1 in Class 4A while Chamberlain is ranked no. 3 in Class 5A.
But the Gryphons' 10-0 start came to an end as the Chief's Melissa Zick had a three-run home run and five RBIs in Chamberlain's 8-3 win. The Chiefs, who followed the big Sickles win with a 14-0 trouncing of Wharton, are now 14-1. Sickles is 10-2 after a 4-3 loss Thursday to Tampa Bay Tech. In other action, Leto (8-3) pounded out nine hits to defeat King 10-5 and Gaither scored in the bottom of the seventh to beat district foe Venice 1-0 to improve to 4-9 on the season.
BASEBALL: Alonso pitcher Shane Effertz picked up his first victory of the season Thursday and threw the first shutout in school history in beating Jefferson 3-0. Effertz, a left-hander, threw a complete game and allowed the Dragons three hits. Alonso is 3-11. Leto, meanwhile, got two doubles and four RBIs from sophomore Philipe Platero, helping the Falcons (5-6) score six runs in its last at bat in a 10-9 win against Robinson. In games played on Tuesday, Chamberlain got a home run from Clay Spivey and pitcher Devon Cason had eight strike outs but it wasn't enough as the Chiefs' rally came up short in a 4-3 loss to Class 5A, District 6 rival Hillsborough. And Ryan Tolley was the winning pitcher and hit his third homer of the season to lead Wharton to a 7-4 win against Alonso.
Hillsborough County teams, including Gaither and Sickles, will compete in the Tony Saladino tournament this week at various sites around the county. Sickles will use the occasion to unveil its new scoreboard, which shows scores by inning. The $11,000 scoreboard was paid for by the Gryphon's baseball boosters after four years of fundraising.
TENNIS: Carl Fisher continues to lead the Chamberlain's boys team with excellent play. In capturing a 6-0, 6-0 win March 20, Fisher helped Chamberlain sweep Leto 7-0. The Chiefs improved to 8-1 on the year while Leto is struggling at 0-7. In other matches, Wharton's boys defeated Armwood 7-0 to improve to 9-0. Also, the Chamberlain girls beat Leto 6-1 and Sickles shutout Alonso 7-0.
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