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The Buzz

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 6, 2007


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Keough keen on FSU

Land O'Lakes forward Kayli Keough was intrigued by Clemson and interested in Vanderbilt, but in the end familiarity bred content with Florida State.

Keough confirmed last week she has committed to FSU to play basketball for coach Sue Semrau.

The Seminoles made her an offer she couldn't refuse, one Keough said came about in part after an impressive showing at an AAU elite camp last summer that attracted FSU's attention.

Keough's father, Michael, is an FSU season-ticket holder for football and took his daughter on a few trips to Tallahassee this past season to see former Gators quarterback Drew Weatherford, whom he helped coach in high school. Keough said she used one of those occasions to make an unofficial visit.

"It was supposed to be a surprise when FSU called to make me an offer," Keough said, "but my dad ruined it by telling me that if FSU called, he was letting me know it was okay if I made a verbal commitment."

Keough, a 6-2 wing player as well as an all-county volleyball player, was second in the county this season with 21 points per game and also averaged nine rebounds and five steals a contest.

The Gators were expected to contend for the district title, but those hopes were dashed when Keough had to miss the last eight games, seven of them losses, with mono. She said she was recently cleared to begin playing again and is expected to get in her first workouts this week in preparation for the AAU season.

QB or not QB?

If there is another quarterback controversy at Pasco this season, it won't involve last year's participants.

While rising junior Josh Johnson is enrolled at Pasco, last year's starter, Justin Smothers, is not. Pasco athletic director Jim Ward confirmed Smothers has returned to South Sumter, which he attended before transferring to Dade City last year.

Smothers was one of the county's top passers last season, but he was unable to save the Pirates from a tumultuous season that included a 3-7 record and the firing of coach Dale Caparaso.

Opening Day, Part II

Both the baseball and softball teams from Wiregrass have played one game each on their new fields, but tonight at 6 will be the official unveiling - the Bulls squads play games simultaneously.

"Since this is the first time they will both be there at the same time, we thought it would be a good time," athletic director Doug Elias said of the "opening" night event.

Bill Hepler, the field's builder, will throw out the first pitch at the baseball game, while Charlie Bartles, who was the buyer agent for the district, gets the honors for softball.

Did you know?

Hepler's name might be familiar to a rabid New York Mets fan from back in the day. A 6-foot, 160-pound right-hander, Hepler was 3-3 for the Mets in 1966, starting three games and appearing in another 31 in relief. Originally drafted by the Washington Senators, Hepler never made it back to the big leagues after that one season.

Tonight's best bets

Baseball

Land O'Lakes at Jesuit: This is one of those nondistrict, nonconference games you don't want to miss. In the grand scheme of standings, it's meaningless. But teams that can beat Jesuit (Matt Fuglesang gets the start) can usually beat just about anybody. Oh, and Land O'Lakes is 4-0.

Gulf at Pasco: The Pirates are unbeaten and the Bucs are still finding themselves, so Pasco should win. But did we mention that the Bucs surprised Pasco last year, and according to coach Ricky Giles, always seem to be a thorn in his side?

Alonso at Mitchell: Ravens stud Tommy Toledo is in town against the Mustangs, and he already has two home runs against them in an earlier contest.

Bishop McLaughlin at Cedar Key: We don't even know where Cedar Key is, but as one of the county's three baseball unbeatens, we'll throw the Hurricanes in here.

Softball

Gulf at Hernando: The Bucs have been hard to figure out this season. They can't beat a district contender. They struggle in close games. Hernando needed a seventh-inning rally to beat Gulf the first time around.

Girls tennis

River Ridge at Central: Central has already dispatched Wesley Chapel, but so has River Ridge. After this match we can officially declare a district favorite. Junior Kristin Greenup tries to avenge one of her two losses last season against Central's Jeanette McDonald.

John C. Cotey can be reached at johncotey@gmail.com or (727) 869-6261.

[Last modified March 5, 2007, 23:38:27]


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