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By JOEY KNIGHT, Times Staff Writer
Published December 26, 2007
Maybe it's the fact football season just ended. Or that it has felt like winter around here for only about 30 minutes. In any case, it hardly seems like we're already halfway through the local prep basketball season. Once holiday tournaments wrap up, most teams will have played a dozen or so games, and some of them have been doozies with dazzling performances - and surprise emergences. Here's a look at what we deem the best of the season's opening half.
Midseason boys MVP: Luke Loucks, Sr., Clearwater
Quite simply, the 6-foot-5 FSU signee has been the best player on the area's best team. In an eight-point win Friday against previously undefeated Ridgewood, Loucks (13.6 ppg) scored 19 and created seemingly as many scoring chances for his teammates. "That's why he's going where he's going," Rams coach Gary Anders said.
Midseason girls MVP: Sasha Chaplin, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic
An Indiana signee, Chaplin (18.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg) recorded consecutive double doubles in mid-December victories against Hillsborough County powers Tampa Catholic (see Best Performances) and Academy of the Holy Names.
Best boys games:
Best girls games:
Who are these guys?
Okay, their district isn't nearly as solid as your aunt's fruitcake, but the Springstead Eagles are performing far beyond our expectations. Despite losing nine seniors and their coach from last season's 23-6 squad, the Eagles (11-1) are flourishing under 55-year-old Pat Kelly, who has more than 560 coaching wins in three states.
Who are these girls?
Apparently, we're not the only ones who have been blindsided by Tampa Bay Tech (15-0), which has defeated 13 teams by double-digit margins. Senior Andrea Bridges (15.1 ppg, 2.5 spg) was the lone returning starter from last season's eight-win team, but Blake sophomore transfers Re Re Jenrette (6.4 assists) and Dd Davis (11.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) have provided other dimensions.
Best boys performances:
Best girls performances:
Boys second-half story lines:
Girls second-half story lines
[Last modified December 26, 2007, 02:40:23]