By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001
CLASS 6A, DISTRICT 7
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Sickles vs. Hillsborough, 7:30; Friday: Sickles-Hillsborough winner vs. Gaither, 6:30; Bloomingdale vs. Durant, 8. Saturday: Championship, 7:30.
THE SKINNY: Gaither is a huge favorite to take the district title, considering the Cowboys are the only team in 6A-7 with a winning record (15-8 overall and 8-0 in district play). No. 2 seed Bloomingdale comes in 11-12 and 6-2 in the district.
at Haines City
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Winter Haven vs. Plant City, 7:30. Friday: Winter Haven-Plant City winner vs. Haines City, 6; George Jenkins vs. Lake Region, 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Championship, 7:30
THE SKINNY: Plant City will be lucky to make the semifinal, and if the Raiders get there, they face a huge obstacle in No. 1 seed Haines City.
SCHEDULE: Wednesday: Wharton vs. King, 6:30; Plant vs. Chamberlain, 8. Saturday: Championship, 7:30
THE SKINNY: This is easily the most competitive district in the area. Plant just won the Western Conference title, but the Panthers aren't invincible either. Chamberlain defeated Plant less than a month ago.
at Sarasota High
SCHEDULE: Wednesday: Riverview vs. Sarasota, 7. Friday: Riverview-Sarasota winner vs. Brandon, 6; Port Charlotte vs. Charlotte, 8; Saturday: Championship, 7:30.
THE SKINNY: Brandon went to the Class 5A final last season before losing to nationally-ranked Gainesville. The Eagles might not reach those heights this year, but they are the front-runner to win a second consecutive district championship.
at Tampa Bay Tech
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Jesuit vs. Robinson, 4; Armwood vs. Leto, 6; Tampa Bay Tech vs. Blake, 8. Thursday: Jesuit-Robinson winner vs. Jefferson, 6; Armwood-Leto winner vs. Tampa Bay Tech-Blake winner, 8. Saturday: Championship, 7:30
THE SKINNY: Armwood, the Western Conference runner-up, is considered a slight favorite for the district title. But Jesuit, Robinson and Tampa Bay Tech could give the Hawks a run for their money.
at Tampa Catholic
SCHEDULE: Wednesday: Berkeley Prep vs. Tampa Catholic, 6; Wesley Chapel vs. Mitchell, 7:30; Friday: Wesley Chapel-Mitchell winner vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, 6; Berkeley Prep-Tampa Catholic winner vs. St. Petersburg Catholic, 7:30. Saturday: Championship, 7:30.
THE SKINNY: St. Petersburg Catholic broke into the clear this year with a squad loaded with athletes. Clearwater Central Catholic poses a strong challenge for the title, while Tampa Catholic, though struggling this season, has been a front-runner in district play through the '90s and shouldn't be counted out.
at Lakeland Christian
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: McKeel Academy vs. Santa Fe Catholic, 7:30; Friday: Lakeland Christian vs. Fort Meade, 6; McKeel-Santa Fe winner vs. Tampa Prep, 7:30. Saturday: Championship, 7:30.
THE SKINNY: Tampa Prep should take this running away, and make yet another run at a berth in the final four.
at Bayshore Christian
SCHEDULE: Tuesday: Riverhills vs. Tampa Baptist, 7. Friday: Temple Heights vs. Seminole, 6; Riverhills-Tampa Baptist winner vs. Bayshore Christian, 7:30. Saturday: Championship, 7:30.
THE SKINNY: Bayshore Christian has rushed back into dominance at the local Class A level. This week should pose little threat to the Faith Warriors. Second place is up for grabs.