Nature Coast Tech's ,1, Kaine Mccolley attempts a free throw late in the Class 6A, Region II boys basketball semifinal vs Central. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Sharks’ fan chant, ‘This is our house!’ as NCT ousts Central, 70-48

BOYS BASKETBALL NCT heads to Putnam Co. on Friday after Palatka eliminates Santa Fe, 58-56 BY TONY CASTRO BROOKSVILLE – For the last 10 days, Nature Coast Technical’s vaunted program – at least until Central usurped the Sharks from its repeat 6A-7 crown at Citrus, 67-59 – took a rare backseat as Hernando County’s top hoops program. But on the 11th day, while the capacity home crowd chanted, ‘District…

Central High's head coach Matt Zandecki strategizes during a time-out late in the Class 6A, Region II play off versus Ridgewood. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

NCT at Central: Chapter IV with gusto

BOYS BASKETBALL Bears/Sharks survivor meets Santa Fe/Palatka winner at 7 p.m. Friday BY TONY CASTRO Entering Tuesday night’s fourth installment this winter between bitter rivals – Nature Coast Technical and Central – the stakes prior to the 7 p.m. tip-off of the Class 6A, Region II boys basketball semifinal at the Bears’ Den couldn’t be higher. For the first time since CHS has held graduation in the gymnasium, a…

Central High's ,00, Brian Eck  in the Class 6A, Region II play off versus Ridgewood. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO


SPORTS CALENDAR (NOTE: Times and dates are subject to change.) 02-20: BOYS TENNIS HCA at Nature Coast Technical, 3 p.m. 02-21: BOYS BASKETBALL Class 6A, Region II Semifinals Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical at Brooksville-Central, 7 p.m. BASEBALL Shady Hills-Bishop McLaughlin Catholic at Springstead, 7 p.m. New Port Ridgewood at Central, 7 p.m. Weeki Wachee at Hernando, 7:30 p.m. Hudson-Fivay at Nature Coast Technical, 7 p.m. HCA at Leesburg-First Academy, 4 p.m….


Eagles dominate behind eight champs in nine finals extending Hernando County record to 30 district titles, 243.5-149.5

WRESTLING Springstead advances county record 14 grapplers for the 10th time to 2A-II BY TONY CASTRO INVERNESS – As far as suspense, there was more drama in which team was going grab the second-place trophy in Saturday’s seven-team Class 2A, District 5 Wrestling Tournament at Inverness, than in first place. The North Suncoast’s premier mat program, F.W. Springstead, made sure of that. Behind Hall of Fame skipper Robert “Bob”…

2017 HER 1A-6 District Champs

Five-year plan bares fruit, Leopards end 12-year title drought, topping WWHS, 218.5-152.5

1A-6 WRESTLING HHS ties county record with 14 placers, behind 5 champs, 4 runners-ups BY TONY CASTRO In 2016 in Holiday, the fledgling Weeki Wachee High School mat program hoisted the coveted district championship trophy – coincidentally the school’s first-ever team crown – completing a five-year plan. A year later at Hernando High, the host Leopards, under fifth-year skipper David Pritz, garnered its initial district title since back-to-back-to-back crowns…

Harry Williams

Historic day envisioned Saturday with Springstead at Citrus in 2A-5 while Bears, Sharks, Hornets visiting Leopards in 1A-6

WRESTLING 60 Hernando County mat men begin state series at two tourneys BY TONY CASTRO Saturday looks to be a historic day for the county’s top sport: wrestling. The opening salvos in the 52nd annual state series begins at the district level in two separate venues beginning Saturday morning. The Class 1A, District 6 Tournament will take place at the Michael A. Imhoff Gymnasium at Hernando High in Brooksville,…

Caleb Johnson Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

On the brink of elimination, Bears reel off 11th-hour 15-4 run to oust Rams, 78-74

BOYS BASKETBALL With NCT eliminating ZHS, 53-48, that sets up gnormous semifinal at CHS BY TONY CASTRO BROOKSVILLE – When Ridgewood High’s mammoth 6-foot-5, 370-pound senior center Darrin Bright converted the last of his nine field goals – a layup – with 3:30 remaining in Thursday’s Class 6A, Region II quarterfinals the visiting Rams appeared to have beaten the odds. Despite playing without their leading scorer, junior guard Ty…

Zephyrhills ,11, Drewan Clark puts punctuation on the Bulldogs victory over Nature Coast with this dunk shot in the final minute of the Class 2A, Region II Semifinals. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Heat gets turned up: Rams at Bears, Sharks visit Bulldogs

BOYS BASKETBALL 6A-II Quarterfinal survivors clash Tuesday, Feb. 21 BY TONY CASTRO Of Hernando County’s six prep male hoops programs this winter four were sent packing during district action last week, so they’re retooling for next year. The two remaining squads open first-round regional play at 7 p.m. Thursday. The surprise Class 6A, District 7 champions Central Bears (19-9 overall), who upset top-seeded Nature Coast Technical last Friday at…


Taylor Miller: Lowman Law Firm Student/Athlete of the Week (thru 02-11)

Taylor Miller – Girls Basketball Weeki Wachee – Senior The 5-foot-9 Miller has enjoyed a terrific overall season for the 6A-7 runner-up Lady Hornets, who toppled host Holiday-Anclote, 65-50, for the school’s first-ever regional victory. Taylor, who averages 12.6 points and over nine rebounds per game, ranks among the top four in Hernando County in rebounding, three-point shooting and blocked shots. Miller, who carries a weighted 3.65 grade point average,…

Weeki Wachee ,4, Seytia Hill  is fouled on her way to the basket by Crystal River, 5, Cameryn Jenkins. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Pirates complete sweep, rally from 5-point deficit with 4 minutes left to oust Hornets, 51-48

  GIRLS BASKETBALL WWHS sophomores Hill & Vasquez combine for 35 points BY TONY CASTRO CRYSTAL RIVER – Often times in football when a placekicker misfires on last-second field goal, there’s no reason to pile on the kick after the fact. The same adage holds true in basketball. Crystal River’s Shawnee Murphy converted a layup with 39 seconds left Tuesday to give the host Pirates a 49-47 lead, erasing…

Weeki Wachee High's ,4, Seytia Hill tries to score on the Crystal River defense in the Class 6A, District 7 Tournament final at Weeki Wachee High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Fourth time a charm? Lady Hornets, Eagles about to find out in regional semis

GIRLS BASKETBALL WWHS visits CRHS while Springstead faces Sunlake at Wiregrass Ranch BY TONY CASTRO The stakes couldn’t be higher in the FHSAA regional girls basketball playoffs at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. In a rarity, F.W. Springstead and Weeki Wachee will square off against teams for the fourth time facing elimination. Springstead (12-9) will journey to East Pasco County’s Wiregrass Ranch to tangle with Sunlake (16-8) in the Class…

Springstead Tommy McCane vs Pasco Chase Ayers 106 pound conso finals in the 2017 Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament at Brandon High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO


SPORTS CALENDAR (NOTE: Times and dates are subject to change.) 02-14: GIRLS BASKETBALL: Class 6A, Region II Semifinals Weeki Wachee at Crystal River, 7 p.m. Class 7A, Region II Semifinals Spring Hill-Springstead vs. Land O’ Lakes-Sunlake at Wesley Chapel-Wiregrass Ranch, 7 p.m. 02-16: BOYS BASKETBALL Class 6A, Region II Quarterfinals New Port Ridgewood at Brooksville-Central, 7 p.m. Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical at Zephyrhills, 7 p.m. 02-17: GIRLS BASKETBALL Class 6A, Region…

Foster Hawthorne

Central Bears Wrestling Results (thru 02-17)

02-08: Central @ Weeki Wachee Weeki Wachee (WW) 52, Central (CEN) 7 106 – Devin Horton (WW) won by forfeit. 113 – Double forfeit. 120 – Double forfeit. 126 – Nick Marsh (WW) pin Connor Chilson, n/a. 132 – David Kesicki (WW) pin Justus Rager, n/a. 138 – Hunter Gibson (WW) won by forfeit. 145 – Double forfeit. 152 – Kevin Ramagli (CEN) dec. Preston Turner, 7-4. 160 – Josh…


Tanner Kublick: Lowman Law Firm Student/Athlete of the Week (thru 02-04)

Tanner Kublick – Wrestling Springstead High – Junior Second-year grappler Tanner Kublick earned his first-ever IBT (individually bracketed tournament) medal Saturday by placing sixth at 126 pounds in the rugged 33rd Tony Ippolito Memorial Wrestling Tournament at historic Brandon High. Kublick, who in his first-ever tournament last winter, landed awkwardly and injured his elbow and missed the remainder of the season, enters the state series with a fine 26-16 overall…


Bears awaken from 19-year district title hibernation, shock previously unbeaten NCT, 67-59

BOYS BASKETBALL Before boisterous crowd at Citrus, CHS snaps Sharks’ 17-game series hex BY TONY CASTRO INVERNESS – The deck was supposed to be stacked against the second-seeded Bears Friday in the 6A-7 finale at Citrus High against top-seeded Nature Coast Technical. Weren’t the Sharks 25-0 for a reason? Wasn’t NCT that had mowed down 13 straight district opponents this winter prior to Friday in Citrus County. Hadn’t the…