Manatee specialist Nickolas Null and Palmetto running back Octavious James both made verbal commitments Tuesday, eight days ahead of National Signing Day. Null, who was the Herald's first-team All-Area kicker and punter this season, pledged to Cornell and James, a second-team All-Area choice, chose Savannah State. Null was also a second-team All-State kicker.
Null made all 44 of his extra-point attempts this year and sunk 8-of-11 field goals, including a 4-for-4 performance against Orlando Oak Ridge in the Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinals. Against Oak Ridge, Null drilled a career-long 52-yarder. As a punter, he averaged 37.7 yards on 35 attempts with a long of 76. He also recorded 43 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs. He is committing to the Big Red as a punter and will also compete for a kicking job with the Football Championship Subdivision program.
James finished his senior season with 730 yards and 15 touchdowns in nine games. He was also one of only two players in Manatee County to pass for, run for and catch a touchdown this year. He and Null both participated in the FACA North-South All-Star Game in December.
James is the second player in the county to commit to SSU in the past three days. Canes safety Travon Rumph committed during an official visit to the Savannah, Ga., school on Saturday. James played with Rumph for three years before transferring to PHS for his senior season.
BRADEN RIVER 79, BAYSHORE 51 -- Junior wing Deoni Cason scored a game-high 20 points, guard Jordan Curtis added 10 points, and forward Daniel Tart recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the host.
Bayshore was led by Jaylen Pauley's 18 points, while Vernard Brown II finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and Dhysen Walls scored 12 points.
The Bruins (11-12) visit Lakewood Ranch on Thursday. BRHS (13-9) travels to Sarasota on Thursday to meet Riverview.
Saint Stephen's 54, Keswick Christian 36 -- Junior Jordon Murrell's 25 points led the host Falcons (7-16), who honored Bobby Harrison (6 points), Nick Runde (5 points) and Jake Westberry on senior night. Westberry was playing his first game since breaking a bone in his foot early in the season. Saint Stephen's finishes the regular season Thursday at Imagine School of North Port at 6:15 p.m.
VICTORY CHRISTIAN 79, Out-of-Door Academy 69 -- The Thunder fell in their regular-season road finale. They conclude the regular season at home on Friday against Braden River.
SARASOTA CHRISTIAN 57, BRADENTON CHRISTIAN 54 -- The Panthers' season ended with an upset loss to the Blazers in Sarasota.
BCS, the No. 2 seed, faced No. 3-seed Sarasota Christian on the Blazers' home court and despite 20 points from Carley Carbary and 16 rebounds by Bailey Sikkema fell short of the region tournament. Amy Van Ryn also added 15 points for Bradenton Christian (14-6) and McKenzie Lantz led Sarasota Christian (6-18) with 17.
MANATEE 42, SARASOTA 33 -- Eight wrestlers won for the visiting Hurricanes in a win over the Sailors.
Marshall Craig (115 pounds), Nika Ukhurgunashvili (134), Taylor Librandi (140), Charlie Small (145), Daniel Cunningham (154), Matt McAleer (162), Brandon Dossey (197) and Ne'Kari Cheaves (222) won their matches.
Manatee (22-12) next wrestles Feb. 3 at home against Palm Harbor University in an outdoor meet.