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Preps

Seeding no issue: Ridgewood, Wesley Chapel look evenly matched

By GREG AUMAN
Published February 13, 2004

After three months of games and two head-to-head battles, Ridgewood and Wesley Chapel settled the top seed in next week's Class 4A District 10 tournament ... with a coin toss.

With the Rams and Wildcats deadlocked atop the conference standings, sharing 9-1 district records and 17-3 overall marks last week, the schools went through all six district tiebreaker criteria with no verdict. Ridgewood flipped and Wesley Chapel called it right, so the Wildcats will be the top seed.

Given that both schools swept the rest of the district, the only difference the seeds provide might be the teams' path to the Feb. 21 championship, or the novelty of Ridgewood officially playing as the road team on its home court.

"Some years it would make a difference, but I think the two spots are relatively even," Rams coach Gary Anders said. "Ask me after the games, and then I can tell you if it matters."

Wesley Chapel woke from a midseason stumble to win seven straight games and match Ridgewood's record, forcing the coin toss. Of course, the Wildcats followed that with a loss Tuesday against Berkeley Prep, but coach Doug Greseth said he likes the way his players are ending the regular season with some momentum.

"We're in a situation where we're starting to get this together again," said Greseth, whose Wildcats play Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday's first-round game between Tarpon Springs and Zephyrhills.

SAC TITLE GAME: Ridgewood clinched at least a share of the Sunshine Athletic Conference crown with a win against River Ridge on Tuesday. Ridgewood plays host to Pasco tonight, and the Pirates can split the conference championship if they pull off the upset.

"This is a big game for us," said Pancho Broner, whose team is 10-1 in conference play but 13-10 overall. "One of our goals coming into the season was trying to win the conference, and now we want to at least have a share of it."

Pasco will have the fourth seed in the five-team Class 3A District 6 tournament at Hernando, so the Pirates face first-year Nature Coast Tech in the play-in game Tuesday. With a win there, they'll get another shot at top-seeded Hernando, which handed the Pirates two close losses this season.

THIS AND THAT: Gulf got a surprisingly fast recovery from guard Corey Crossway, who was supposed to miss at least three weeks with an ankle injury suffered last month but was cleared and scored 15 points Tuesday in a win against Tampa Prep. It was the Bucs' first victory this season against a team with a winning record. ... Zephyrhills and River Ridge, which had combined for five wins entering last week, both defeated Hudson in the past week. The Cobras (1-22) have struggled, but first-year coach Jason Vetter has something important on their schedule next week. His players will volunteer at the Salvation Army soup kitchen in Port Richey on Monday afternoon. ... Wesley Chapel's Chase Bussey is pulling away from Ridgewood's Andrew Reed for the county scoring title. The Rams center still has plenty of statistical categories to dominate, as he leads the county in rebounds (11.1 per game) and shooting percentage (.601) and is second in blocks (2.0).

[Last modified February 13, 2004, 01:45:34]


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