By STEVE JACKSON
All boys basketball teams in the South Shore, public and private, saw the curtain come down on the 20-21 season last week.
Sumner High won two games in district playoffs and Riverview beat Newsome in the opening round. The Sharks then tangled with Riverview-Sarasota. The Rams drubbed the 4-11 Sharks, 95-76, in a wild offensive donnybrook. East Bay, 10-9 on the season, also won in the first round, squeezing past Leto, 62-59. The next night, the Indians offense collapsed in the second half as Bloomingdale took an easy 50-28 victory. Spoto High, finishing at 3-17, also had a case of second half collapse. The Spartans played Robinson even for the first half but only scored 14 points to Robinson’s 40 in the second half, en route to its 72-44 first-round spanking. Spoto’s Jonathan Dinova, a senior, hit for 12 points and soph Benjamin Walker added 11. After a winless season, Lennard decided to forfeit 2-0 to Durant in the 7A-D8 playoffs. The Longhorns season ended at 0-17. Sumner, playing without any seniors, showed lots of spunk. The Stingrays toppled Middleton in the playoff opener 45-40. Against 22-4 Jesuit of Tampa, Sumner then also ran out of gas after taking a 42-33 lead. Jesuit outscored Coach Jamie Turner’s squad 20-5 in the final quarter to advance. All Stingrays return, including top scorer Israel Vargas, who had 18 points per game, and Christian Henley, who averaged eight rebounds per game in a 11-9 season.
The best playoff showing was by Ruskin Christian School. After a first round bye, the Warriors won in the second and third rounds. However, RCS could not muster enough offense in the championship game and lost Feb. 14 to Christian Learning Academy of Apopka.
The Ruskin Christian Warriors ended an otherwise successful season Saturday with the 51-39 loss in the championship game of the Florida Christian Conference at Providence Christian School in Brandon. Only the second loss of their season, Ruskin’s Caleb Statham and Effraim Marvin were kept under wraps by CLA. Both only registered 11 points each in the Warriors lowest offensive output of the season, in which RCS won 23 games and averaged 68 point per game. It was the first championship game appearance for RCS since joining the Florida Christian Conference. Senior and leading scorer Statham departs, but a bevy of freshmen, sophomores and juniors return next season for Coach Paul Northrop.