North Suncoast: News and notes

By DAVID MURPHY and IZZY GOULD, Times staff writers
Published November 25, 2007

On the Web: video report

Check out highschool.tampabay.com for the Times' football video report, Friday Night Rewind, which includes highlights, scores and expert analysis.

Silver lining

Gulf's boys basketball team opened its season earlier this week with a 70-62 loss to Zephyrhills, but the Buccaneers did get a solid performance from an unexpected source.

Sophomore point guard Tommy Polito, a junior varsity player for much of last season, scored 11 of his career-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucs cut a 19-point deficit down to four. He also displayed his endurance: Polito, who stands 5 feet 9 and is one of four underclassmen in Gulf's starting lineup, played all 32 minutes of the loss.

"He was probably the most pleasant surprise of the night," said coach Steve Feldman, whose team fell to 0-2 on Friday night with a loss to Tarpon Springs in a tournament hosted by River Ridge.

Turkey weekend superlatives

The heart of most area teams' schedules doesn't begin until next week, but a smattering of teams were in action over the holiday weekend, highlighted by several dominant individual performances.

Among them:

- Kayli Keough scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Land O'Lakes in a 59-51 win over Gainesville's The Rock School on Friday.

- Nehemiah Mason scored 22 points for Springstead in a 81-66 loss to Armwood on Friday.

- Jarrod Branco dropped 34 points - most on the North Suncoast so far - and hit four 3-pointers for Hudson in a 63-57 win over River Ridge on Wednesday.

End of the year award voting

There's still plenty of time to cast your votes for out football year-end awards. Byronell Arline (Ridgewood RB), Tate Humphrey (Mitchell QB) and Zack Wynn (Hudson QB) have each picked up votes in our player of the year category, while Jamie Joyner (Nature Coast), Chris Taylor (Ridgewood) and Mark Nash (Hudson) have all gotten consideration for coach of the year.

To chime in on these and other categories such as most underrated player, game of the year and defensive player of the year, log on to blogs.tampabay.com/preps.

Wildcats looking strong

Wesley Chapel's boys basketball team earned a pair of wins over the weekend, unveiling a few standouts for the Wildcats. In their 67-50 win Friday against Union County, Michael Koesling scored 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds while guard Greg Jenkins added 17 points. Then there was 6-foot-3, 165-pound forward Jordan Mitchell, who added 11 points and 7 rebounds.

Wesley Chapel also posted a 61-47 win against Wekiva on Saturday. Koesling again led both teams with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jenkins scored 15, and Mitchell added 12.

Gators have some scorers

Land O'Lakes fell 65-58 to Middleton on Friday, but not before the Gators got a few solid scoring performances. Fresh off football season, Jerome Harrison scored 16 points, matching teammate Kevin Burnell.