By STEVE JACKSON
South Shore boys basketball teams continue to depend on outstanding play from sophomores as the regular season heads to a conclusion the first week of February, despite pauses from the pandemic.
Sumner faces a pair of tough challenges after a mid-week hook-up with Chamberlain at home.The Stingrays beat the 4-8 Chiefs in a defensive squeaker in mid-December and will play them again on Jan. 19. On the following night, Jan. 20, awesome 11-3 Plant City has a rematch with Sumner. The Raiders scorched the Rays 79-52 earlier this season. Coach Jamie Turner’s Sumner squad will be leaning on a trio of underclassmen:super soph Israel Vargas, DJ Jones and Christian Henley to return the favor. After Sumner’s Jan. 22 road game at Blake, rival Spoto comes to Balm Road Jan. 26.
Spoto lost twice last week. Now, Coach Danny Gaddis’ Spartans have two games at home this week, then an exciting rematch with Sumner at the Stingrays new digs on Jan. 26.
The 2-11 Spartans dropped a hard-fought match to Plant City 73-61 at mid-week and then lost again 68-51 to Chamberlain Jan. 15. In the home loss to Plant City, Spoto jumped out to a 14-12 first quarter lead. But the Raiders chipped awayand finally hit the Spartans with a 27-point last quarter to win going away.
Spoto’s splendid sophomore Benjamin Walker continues to be a force for Coach Gaddis with scoring help from senior Elias De Jesus. The duo hopes to be ready for Robinson Jan. 19. For the Jan. 22, Friday game, Jesuit comes to the Spoto homecourt to wrap up this week.
After a 74-49 loss at home to Leto Jan. 13, Coach Will Gilford’s Lennard Longhorns were canceled home and away due to a covid problem with the Riverview Sharks. The Horns remain winless at 0-7 with games this week at Durant and at Robinson. A trip to Newsome precedes a Jan. 27 home game with Brandon, perhaps Lennard’s best shot at a victory this season.
Coach Milton Clifton’s Riverview Sharks have been hit by the covid 19 virus and have not been in court action since beating King 59-36 on Jan.6. Coach Clifton is depending on high-flying soph Braylon Jackson, who leads the Sharks in scoring and rebounds, to get Riverview back on track at home against Durant Jan. 26, followed by road games at Armwood and at Alonso later next week.
The Indians of East Bay split last week. In a nail biter, Coach Dell Chambers’ crew nipped King 63-60 Jan. 12. East Bay fell to 5-5 later last week. The Indians lost to Tampa Bay Tech 64-56. After hosting the 5-6 Hillsborough Terriers, the Indians travel to Valrico to confront 5-5 Bloomingdale Bulls this Friday, Jan. 22.