Boys Basketball

Sports notebook: Gray tabbed as new headman for Hornets

Photo provided

Jacob Gray

For the first time in its history, the Weeki Wachee football program will have a new man at the helm and this week the school officially announced the hiring of Jacob Gray as head coach.
The 25-year-old Gray was plucked off the coaching staff of Jacksonville-Bolles, where he served as special teams coordinator for the Class 4A state runner-up Bulldogs.

Central stuns Sharks for district crown

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central celebrates with the district championship trophy on Friday night at Citrus High. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

INVERNESS – When Central won its boys basketball district semifinal over Citrus on Wednesday night, head coach Matt Zandecki guaranteed one thing for Friday night’s final: his Bears would not be intimidated.
At that moment, it may have sounded like blind optimism. But by the end of the Class 6A, District 7 championship game at Citrus High, those words proved prophetic.

Sports notebook: Lady Sharks repeat as state runners-up

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's girls weightlifting team celebrates with its district championship trophy and medals last month. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

On Friday, the Nature Coast girls weightlifting team traveled to Belleview for the Class 1A FHSAA Finals, and they didn’t return home empty-handed.
For the second year in a row, the Lady Sharks were the state runners-up, scoring 17 points to edge Lake Weir, the team that had defeated Nature Coast at regionals two weeks earlier, by one point. River Ridge was again state champion, scoring 29.

Sports notebook: Nature Coast hires new football coach

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Cory Johns

A football team that has gone a combined 22-2 the past two seasons figured to draw plenty of interest for its head coaching vacancy.
No surprise then that Nature Coast received over 80 resumes for its opening this past month, which the school filled this week with the hiring of Kissimmee-Liberty headman Cory Johns.
“It was one of those opportunities I couldn’t pass up,” Johns said. “I’m not into bouncing around. I’m looking for a place to be for a very long time, or at least as long as they’ll keep me. This place looked like it.

Sports notebook: Lady Sharks take second in region

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Nature Coast's Samantha Traudt, front, along with (standing from left) Kaitlyn Pierce, Coach Nikki Pierce and Jouie Miller celebrate the trio of lifters' first-place showings and the team's second-place finish at Saturday's regional meet. Photo provided

Nature Coast’s girl weightlifting team continued its march toward the state meet on Saturday, at the Class 1A, Region 5 Meet hosted by Belleview.
The Lady Sharks, hoping to compete for a state crown after finishing as the runners-up a year ago, took second in this meet to Ocala-Lake Weir, 38-42.

Johnson takes control as Central seeks playoff success

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Caleb Johnson fights for control of the ball against Nature Coast's Robert McAfee, left, and Jordan Baxter. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Central’s boys basketball team has gone 12 seasons without advancing to the regional playoffs. Caleb Johnson spent the previous two attempting to carve out his niche in the Bears’ starting lineup.
For Johnson, there has been no questioning his role this season, as the junior guard leads the Bears in scoring by a wide margin, averaging 21.1 points per game coming into this week.
Whether Central can move past the district tournament for the first time since 2004 will be answered soon enough, but the Bears (12-8) have locked up the second seed in Class 6A, District 7.

Sharks stomp Pirates to stay perfect

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Anthony Valante scored 22 points and knocked down four 3-pointers in Nature Coast's Friday night win at Crystal River. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

CRYSTAL RIVER – On Tuesday night, Nature Coast’s boys basketball team received its stiffest challenge from a Class 6A, District 7 foe this season, and apparently, it didn’t sit well.
Crystal River was the perhaps in the wrong place at the wrong time, then, when hosting the Sharks on Friday night. Coming into the season the Pirates, district runners-up to Nature Coast a year ago, were viewed as a serious threat in district play.

Sports notebook: Springstead basketball going strong

Boys basketball photo submitted, Girls basketball photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's boys basketball celebrates after winning the Springstead New Year's Shootout on Tuesday. Photo submitted

It has been a solid season for the Springstead boys and girls basketball teams, and they both got off to a strong start in 2017.
In the middle of the week, the boys held the second annual Springstead New Year’s Shootout, and the Eagles came away with a championship trophy.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, especially because we’re such a young team. We have five juniors and two sophomores playing bigtime minutes,” Springstead head coach Matthew McGarry said. “Any time you go into a tournament and win it, it’s good for the future.”

Sharks stay perfect, win second tourney

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast senior Kaine McColley shoots over the outstretched arm of Alonso's senior Robert Gadson lll. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Nature Coast’s boys basketball team received some shiny new toys this Christmas, a couple of holiday tournament championship trophies.
After winning last week’s Hernando Holiday Classic, the Sharks kept their undefeated season alive and won their own tournament for the first time in the process on Thursday night, defeating Tampa-Alonso, 52-34.