LAND O’ LAKES — Mitchell High has had one of its best seasons in boys basketball to date, entering the Admiral Farragut Holiday tournament at 10-0. That unblemished mark changed after the Mustangs faced state-power Florida Air Academy, which defeated Mitchell handily 83-40 last week.
Florida Air Academy (13-0) went on to win the tournament championship game, defeating Hillsborough-power Brooks-DeBartolo 72-50. Mitchell (12-1) was able to win its other two tournament games against Pasco County-rival Ridgewood (81-45) and Alonso (75-44).
The Mustangs will be challenged in their next two games: Brooksville’s Nature Coast (10-1) next and Land O’ Lakes.
Academy at the Lakes girls boast underclassmen: Though the Wildcats lost their first game of the season — a 48-42 loss to Jefferson in the championship game of the AATL Holiday tournament — Academy at the Lakes (10-1) still can look toward a possible trip to the Class 2A region finals again and beyond.
Academy at the Lakes boasts a roster with mainly sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders, including Taylor Polasky, Audra Liepold, Luz Santiago and center Imani Thomas.
Liepold, an eighth grader, is averaging 19.5 points, according to coach Karim Nohra, and will be a key cog the next four years. Thomas, a sophomore, scored 20 points and had seven rebounds against Jefferson and looks to be the Wildcats’ post presence moving forward. Polasky and Santiago also provide AATL with consistent 3-point shooting and ballhandling in the backcourt.
Pasco teams in action over holiday break: Three Pasco County teams will be in action at the Academy of Holy Names’ tournament, as Academy at the Lakes, Gulf and Wiregrass Ranch will play in the annual tourney.
Gulf (12-1) takes on Wiregrass Ranch (14-1) in the first round and the matchup between the Buccaneers and Bulls is a rematch from earlier in the season when Wiregrass Ranch defeated Gulf 62-43 on Nov. 14. AATL takes on Plant in the first round.
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.