Sports Round-Up: Tarpon eyes first playoff win since 1947

TARPON SPRINGS — The Tarpon Springs boys basketball team did something last week that no other Spongers squad has accomplished since Jimmy Carter was in the Oval Office.

Last Friday’s 66-65 overtime win against Gulf High brought a district championship trophy to the gymnasium’s display case for the first time since 1978.

But a win this Thursday night would mean accomplishing a feat not seen in Tarpon Springs since the days of Harry Truman. The Spongers haven’t enjoyed any sort of playoff success since 1947, back when City Hall served as the high school.

Tarpon Springs’ last rare attempt to end that postseason drought came in 2011 but ended with a loss at Gibbs High.

As talented as that team was three seasons ago, though, this year’s version may be better-suited for playoff success.

Thursday night’s Class 5A region quarterfinal at 7 p.m. will be against Hernando High (14-5). While playing the Leopards in the first round is nowhere near like running into Gibbs, a state final four team, Tarpon Springs can’t take anything lightly at this point of the season.

A letdown last week nearly cost them the league title and the road only gets rockier each round.

Class 8A: PHU making 3rd trip

PALM HARBOR — Speaking of rare postseason advancements, Palm Harbor University also finds itself in the Class 8A playoffs Thursday.

The Hurricanes (14-9) made it out of the four-team District 8A-8 as runners-up to clear-cut champion St. Petersburg.

PHU will have its hands full with a trip to Wharton High (19-6).

PALM HARBOR — Staying at PHU, the girls team is North Pinellas’ last postseason representative as of Monday.

Last Thursday’s dominant 46-35 win over Plant was the program’s first-ever playoff win and set up this Tuesday’s Class 8A region semifinal against rival St. Petersburg. A win over the Green Devils would put the ’Canes in the region finals either at Vero Beach or at home against Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast.

Class 7A: Tough draw for East Lake

EAST LAKE — The Eagles weren’t able to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to Seminole during last Friday night’s District 7A-9 championship game.

A tough 63-43 loss means East Lake is traveling to Palmetto High on Thursday night to try and pick up its second playoff win in program history. The first came at Wharton two years ago.

For the Eagles to advance into the second round, they’ll need to be on from long-range. That live-and-die-by-the-3 game plan can make East Lake a dangerous opponent, but the shots need to be falling.

Wrestling: More records for PHU

PALM HARBOR — PHU added to its program’s burgeoning resume last weekend during its Class 3A regional meet at Kissimmee Osceola.

The ’Canes finished a program-best second place, picking up 161.5 points and trailing only host Osceola’s 208.

Three individuals — Jared and Connor Prince and Aaron Hartman — took home titles in their respective weight classifications.

PHU will have a school-record 10 representatives going to Lakeland for this Friday and Saturday’s state championship meet.

Other North Pinellas wrestlers going to states will be Countryside’s Cain Martin, Dunedin’s Stephan Nichols, Brandon Ditro, Marc Allison, Anthony Dampier and Michael Dunlap, and East Lake’s Julian Santos and Dylan Renaker.

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