By STEVE JACKSON
The South Shore girls high school basketball season opened with a bang in mid-November. Three of the five teams enjoyed a three-game opening winning streak. Lennard, East Bay and Riverview are all sporting 3-0 records as they prepare for games following the Thanksgiving week holidays. Sumner dropped its first two games, and Spoto has not reported the final score of its opener at Tampa Bay Tech.
If the opening games are any indication, the Lady Longhorns, the Lady Indians and the Lady Sharks showed flashes of brilliance and domination in rolling to a combined 9-0 record.
NEW LENNARD COACH TWO TOP RETURNEES
Lennard has a new head coach for 21-22. The Horns went 12-5 last season. Now at the helm for the Lady Longhorns is Cornelius Richardson, with Jessica Cramer as his assistant. With Coach Richardson taking charge of the team, a pair of hotshot experienced seniors and a bevy of capable players, Lennard is expected to be a powerhouse the rest of the season. The Lady Longhorns, although it is early, anticipate a deep run in the post-season 6A-D8 action as well.
The two returnees are exceptional seniors and co-captains, 5’7” Halei Murrell and 5’9” Sariyah Waller. Sparking the three-win sweep of Tampa schools last week, Murrell is scoring at a rate of 21.3 points per game, 8.3 steals per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.7 steals per game. Strong, steady support was supplied by Waller. She has posted 12.8 ppg and 5 steals pg and grabbed 4 rebounds pg. Leto, Robinson and Freedom were all massacred at Ruskin by this duo and other ‘Horns.’ Especially noteworthy was Lennard routing Freedom last Friday, 79-11.
The Lady Horns return to action after Thanksgiving. The Riverview Sharks, also an early powerhouse, host Lennard Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. Lennard then hosts Spoto Wednesday, Dec. 1, and Middleton visits Ruskin for a match Friday, Dec. 3; both start at 8 p.m.
SAPP & DOUGLAS LEAD EAST BAY
Another South Shore girls squad sporting an unbeaten 3-0 record is East Bay High. Coached by Tamika Hepburn and assistant Taylor Denny, the Lady Indians also demolished a trio of Tampa schools at East Bay. The latest victim, Chamberlain, was vanquished 47-15 last Friday. Hapless Freedom High was routed 72-8 by East Bay to open the season. On Nov.17, Jefferson came to town and was thoroughly defeated, 57-19. The top Lady Indians are junior Briyanna Sapp and senior Janaya Douglas. Leading the way for the Indians in scoring is Douglas with 15.7 points per game. Sapp is throwing in 14 ppg. East Bay, playing in 6A D11, travels to North Port on Nov. 26 to play at 11:30 am. The next day, Saturday at 11:30 am, the Lady Indians host Gibb High. East Bay hits the road again Nov. 30 for an 8 p.m. game at Spoto, coached by Malikah Armbrister. Then Bloomingdale comes calling to Big Bend Road on Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.
SHARK LADYS ALSO 3-0
The 7A-D7 Riverview Sharks girls basketball team is the third of the South Shore schools to open 3-0. Coached by Angela McAleavy and assistant Jay Ellis, Riverview also provided too much for three Tampa area schools. The Shark Ladys started with a 61-9 pounding of the King Lions at Riverview. The next two homes games were also a breeze for the Sharks. They topped Alonso 62-33 and then hung a 67-34 defeat on Wharton last Friday. The Lennard girls come calling Nov. 30 for an 8 p.m. game between a pair of 3-0 squads. On Dec. 1, Riverview goes to Lithia to take on Newsome High. Then, on Dec. 3, Sickles visits Riverview.
Sumner girls basketball struggled coming out of the gate. The Lady Stingrays, under Head Coach Marika Starks, lost their first game, 63-40, at Riverview Sarasota. They improved somewhat but lost Nov. 17 to Hillsborough High 54-43. The score for the Middleton game has not been reported. Now, Sumner must take on two tough opponents the first week of December. First up, on Dec. 7 at home, is Lennard. Then a trip to Newsome High in Lithia makes for a challenging post-Thanksgiving start for the 6A-D11 Sumner squad.