The date of the Friday boys basketball game between Sumner and Newsome is Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 pm at Newsome High. Game is for the championship for District 7 in Region 3. This is the fourth time this season the two teams have clashed. So far Newsome is 2-1 against Sumner. The loser of this Friday’s game ends their season. The winner of the Feb. 17 game advances to the Regional semifinals Tuesday, Feb. 21. The Regional championship is set for Feb. 24. The State Championship game is scheduled for March 4 at 8 pm. All semi-final and final games are at Lakeland.
By STEVE JACKSON
The Florida boys basketball playoffs continue this week. Only Sumner High Stingrays remain from the South Shore as a contender. The Stingrays have a fourth battle Thursday, Feb 16, against the Newsome Wolves in Lithia at 7 p.m.
All five South Shore boys basketball teams lost in last week’s opening round of the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) playoffs. Despite its loss, Sumner was selected to play at Newsome in the Region 3 opening round with only the winners advancing. Now, the losers end their season. The Stingrays are 1-2 versus the powerful Wolves in previous hardwood tangles this season, including the most recent defeat, a 68-54 thrashing of Sumner by Newsome last week for the championship round of District 11. Season records for the squads are Newsome at 24-3 and Sumner at 20-7. The winner of this week’s big game continues play next week versus the winner of the Feb. 16 match between 22-5 Plant City and 18-8 Alonso High of Tampa. That winner proceeds to the regional semi-finals set Feb. 21, with the final state championship games in early March in Lakeland.
Similar to football, Sumner is the class of South Shore basketball. The other four South Shore high school hoopsters all lost in the first round of the state playoffs last week. Spoto, Riverview and Lennard all finished disappointing seasons below .500, and East Bay lost all 19 games of its 22-23 campaign.
Spoto could not get past 8-13 Middleton, dropping a 58-54 nail-biter at Spoto in District 8 opening play. The Spartans completed a roller-coaster 10-14 season under Coach Waymon Reed, losing its last five games. Middleton was routed by Jesuit High of Tampa, 71-36, before losing in the district championship match to Blake. Both Jesuit and Blake are contending in the 5A Regionals this week.
The Riverview Sharks, coached by Anthonie Corpening, were eliminated from District 11 action by losing to underdog Lakewood Ranch 47-46 last week. The 3-21 Lakewood Ranch Mustangs were, in turn, routed by Newsome 67-30 before the Wolves claimed the District 11 crown by taking care of Sumner in late week action. Riverview ended its season at 7-16.
Lennard, coached by Chris Putnam, was another up-and-down South Shore team. The Longhorns packed in a 7-14 season by losing to Tampa Bay Tech, 53-33, last week in their opening District 10 playoff. East Bay High fell in the same district, losing its opening round last week to Manatee County High 83-57. The Indians concluded a rough, winless year under Coach Marcus Ludwig. Palmetto High won the district to continue playing in the regional quarter finals this week.
Other area boys basketball teams still alive include Leto High, a #1 seed in Region 6A, and Wharton High, the #2 seed in the same region, which opens play this Thursday. In the smaller classifications, Bell Creek Academy in Riverview is a charter school, which has compiled a 23-4 mark. Hot-shooting freshman Jermal Jones is averaging 18.5 points a game as the Panthers go up against Foundation Academy, a 19-8 squad from Winter Garden, in opening Region 3A action. The winner could be challenged to play 25-1 Kings Academy of West Palm Beach in next week’s regional semi-final match-ups. Others looking for further advancement are Berkeley Prep High, Brooks DeBartolo High and Tampa Catholic.