2017-2018 8A District 9 Preview
Teams: Bloomingdale, East Bay, Tampa Bay Tech, Plant City, Durant, Strawberry Crest, Lennard
This is the most competitive district in the county, with a game or two that would decide the champion. Last year’s champion Tampa Bay Tech loses 3 crucial players due to transfers, graduation and decisions not to play. Four teams have capabilities to win on any giving night. You should pay attention to this district, it has tons of story lines, coaching changes and player movement.
Pre Season Predictions:
- Plant City Raiders
- Tampa Bay Tech Titans
- Strawberry Crest Chargers
- Bloomingdale Bulls
- East Bay Indians
- Durant Cougars
- Lennard Longhorns
- Bloomingdale Bulls – With Head Coach Joe Willis making the jump to Plant HS and Coach Jeff Shopwell taking the helm, it will leave questions on how the Bulls can gel. The Bulls have been tough through the years especially beyond the arc via Ex- Bull Drew Bethoney and tough guard Nick Lewis. However, Bloomingdale has added top area player 2019 6’5″ SG Brendan Maclachlan who’s a straight shooter. Look for 2019 G Connor Moran and 2018 G Savion Fredenburgh to play some good ball.
- East Bay Indians – Last season the Indians finished 14-12 overall and 6-6 in district play. Coach Dale Chambers’s team is still pretty much in tacked with an addition PG Jose Romero. Romero originally was an Indian until he transferred to Oldsmar Christian but he made his way back to East Bay and this will help there back court tremendously. This will be a year the Indians can put some things together and make a push for the title being a upperclassmen team. Look for 2018 PG Antonio Hunt to be significant.
- Tampa Bay Tech Titans – In 2015-2016, TBT went 23-1 overall and 13-0 in District play. They punished this district on there way to a District title. Coach Adrian Johnson’s team is still quick and athletic, they run and press at all times. 2018 Pg Tyrick Brascom is the driver of this machine plus its heart and soul. Wiil they have enough to win? Knowing the transfer of 2018 SF Tyrese Williams to Oldsmar Christian and Mi Penix not playing for football reason’s, they lose impact players. Plus the interior will need help with Gabriel Johnson graduating. Look for guys like Jamarcus Robertson, Jovan Dilworth and David Cexil to be major factors.
- Plant City Raiders – Coach Billy Teeden’s runs a really effiecnt program. Coming off a 18-10 overall and going 10-5 in District play, look for the Raiders to make a strong push for the District Championship. With a high flyer in Tyrick McKelphin graduated, will they be exciting to watch? The Raiders have reloaded with the transfer additions of 2019 SF Jaydn Strawder and 2021 PG Jordyn Manning. However, the main focus will be on the steady play off 2018 PG Matt Simpson and 2019 SF Justyn King. This team will go as far has they do. Plant City is my favorite to win this district.
- Durant Cougars – The Cougars will miss stud Tyler White (Polk CC) but Nate Francis has to turn water to wine and fast. This team still has unknowns and will be unpredictable. Look for 2019 PG Jeffery White and 2018 G Akmee Burton.
- Strawberry Crest Chargers – Having improved through the years under Coach Andre Lewis. This year will be a test especially with the transfer of multiple players. The growth and maturity has shown in 2019 PG Jalen Brown and 2019 6’3″ G Ro Burke. Crest also picks up a standout freshman in SG CJ Crews who has shown in preseason that he belongs on varsity level. The key factor will be 6’6″ forward Brandon Hill, he will be the backbone for this team and also the aggressive play maker. This team controls its own destiny.
- Lennard Longhorns This team has to find was to win more games under Coach Zarko Stojakovic. They will have their work cut out for them after losing star SG Ricardo Clouden to Oldsmar Christian. The longhorns must establish themselves early in the season and 2018 6’5″ G Isaiah Hodges will have to produce ever night.