The Palmetto High boys basketball team has nearly everything a coach would desire. The Tigers are tall, long, athletic and experienced.
Normally you would expect Palmetto to advance the deepest when postseason play begins this week with the district tournament.
However, the Tigers have to solve North Port before they start thinking of making a deep run in the playoffs. They've lost to the Bobcats twice in two meetings this season and will likely see them in the district final.
Here is a closer look at the district involving local teams:
Class 7A-District 10
Jarrid Rhodes and Jordan Young give the Tigers (19-5) good size and athleticism, and Stepvon Saunders is a nice complement to both. This is a deep, experienced team that has been through a lot of pressure-packed situations that include two Christmas tournaments. The Tigers shouldn't have any trouble disposing of Lakewood Ranch (12-13) in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.
Braden River (13-10) has to win a so-called play-in game at home against Sarasota on Monday night. The winner earns a road trip to face top seed North Port (18-4).
Zach Kendall has been the heart and soul for the Pirates, but for Braden River to advance, big man Michael Braxton (6-foot-7) is going to have to contribute more offensively.
Inconsistency is the best way to describe Southeast (16-9), which has a decent amount of talent but has been up and down all season. Ronald Taylor, the Noles' 6-3 guard, is the offensive catalyst, averaging a team-high 18.7 points per game. Cecil Richardson, a 6-7 senior, is averaging 4.7 rebounds, and the Seminoles hope to get more out of him on the boards. Wesley Jackson is a 1,000-point career scorer, but Bayshore's biggest problem is lack of height. Top-seeded St. Petersburg Gibbs and second-seeded St. Petersburg Lakewood figure to advance.
Top-seeded Cardinal Mooney (16-8) and second-seeded and host Bradenton Christian (12-8) figure to earn a berth in the final. The Cougars have beaten Bradenton Christian handily twice and got their biggest win of the season with a road victory over North Port on Friday. They have a balanced attack led by Ryan McMahon and Matt Hueston is a nice force down low. Coleman Barber is a big part of the Panthers' offense. Omar Sammour leads Saint Stephens in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg).
It has been a rebuilding year for Manatee under new head coach Troy Bellamy, and the Hurricanes don't figure to get past the semis against Palm Harbor University.
CLASS 8A-DISTRICT 8
(4) Riverview at (1) St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.
(3) Manatee at (2) Palm Harbor University, 7 p.m.Final
Friday7 p.m. at highest remaining seedCLASS 7A-DISTRICT 10
Monday(5) Sarasota at (4) Braden River, 7 p.m.Semifinals
WednesdayBraden River/Sarasota at (1) North Port, 7 p.m.
(3) Lakewood Ranch at (2) Palmetto, 7 p.m.Final
Friday7 p.m. at highest remaining seedClass 5A-District 10
Tuesday(5) Gulfport Boca Ciega at (4) Southeast, 7 p.m.Semifinals
WednesdayBoca Ciega/Southeast at (1) St. Petersburg Gibbs, 7 p.m.
(3) Bayshore at (2) St. Petersburg Lakewood, 7 p.m.Final
Friday7 p.m. at highest remaining seedClass 3A-District 10
Semifinals Tuesday(4) Out-of-Door Academy vs. (1) Cardinal Mooney, 5 p.m.
(3) Saint Stephen's vs. (2) Bradenton Christian, 7 p.m.Final