Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
Sports

2013-14 Hernando Today All-County Boys Basketball Team

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Player of the Year

Carlos Clemente

Guard
Nature Coast - Senior

COMMENTS: Third in the county and first on the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game . County's top 3-point shooter, knocking down 82 attempts from beyond the arc, for a 42 percent clip . Made 93-of-109 free throws for a sparkling 85 percent . Also averaged a respectable 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 steals . Scored season highs of 30 and 32 points on back-to-back nights against Lutz-Steinbrenner and Orlando-Jones in Nature Coast Christmas Tournament . Hit season-best seven 3-pointers against Jones . FACA All-Star selection . Averaged 12.1 points and hit on 66 3-pointers as a junior, his first year with the Sharks after moving from Puerto Rico.

QUOTES: "Carlos was really key to our district championship and success last year. I knew coming in he was flying under the radar a little bit. . This year he just took that role of being a scorer, being a team leader. He's the type of guy who wants the ball, wants to make that big shot. I think that's what made him so valuable to our team. . He's a great all-around athlete. There are no really weak parts in his game. If there was, he's one of those type players who would make a weakness a strength. . Carlos is definitely there with the best players in Nature Coast history."

- Nature Coast head coach Dave Pisarcik

Cody Bergantino

Power Forward

Nature Coast - Senior

COMMENTS: Paced the county in total rebounds by a wide margin with 285, averaging 8.9 per contest . Second in county in blocked shots at 1.1 . Added 8.7 points, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals . Picked up the slack when fellow big man Rohan Blackwood missed majority of the regular season . Posted 12 double-doubles in points and rebounds . Grabbed season-high 16 boards to go with 14 points and three blocks in Nature Coast Christmas Tournament win over Steinbrenner.

QUOTES: "Cody's role definitely got bigger for us as we started figuring out what our game plan was and what we wanted to attack. . He was a leader who kept the team together at times when we went through a slump. He's the type of player that rallies the troops and got us back on track. . His ability to be an all-around player who could catch and shoot, and pass and score around the rim gave us a lot of options. . When Rohan missed those games, Cody stepped up with rebound production. . I think Rohan's break helped Cody become a more aggressive and assertive basketball player."

- Nature Coast head coach Dave Pisarcik

Sinjin Blahla

Guard/Forward

Central - Senior

COMMENTS: Paced the county in scoring averaging 19.7 points per game . Also led the county in steals at 3.6 . Second in county in assists with a 3.4 average . Tied for fifth in blocks (0.5) . Chipped in 4.5 rebounds . Knocked down 21 3-pointers . Scored as many as 29 points in a game twice, Nov. 29 against Fivay and Jan 16 versus South Sumter . Failed to score in double figures only once, a 42-24 blowout win over Crystal River on Jan. 14 . Hit buzzer-beating shot from other side of the court in overtime for 65-63 victory over Dunnellon on Jan. 28.

QUOTES: "He knows how to play. I think he overachieved. I can't say enough about him. . This year he truly embraced everything the coaching staff told him. . I think he's one of the most underrated players in the area. He's a lockdown defender. He can play point guard. . He never left the floor. We asked him to guard the other team's best player. . He's 5'9", 5'10" and he had five or six dunks this year. . He's a leader on and off the court. . If he had an off game, honestly there was no chance for us winning, and 90 percent of the season he had on games."

- Central head coach Matt Zandecki

Jordan Burkes

Guard
Nature Coast - Senior

COMMENTS: Combo guard who transferred back to Nature Coast after two years at Tampa Catholic . Second on the team in scoring averaging 10.8 points . Third in county in steals at 2.3 . Additionally averaged 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals . Stifling perimeter defender . Tied season high of 22 points in Class 5A, District 7 championship game against Hernando . Made 11-of-14 free throws, all in the fourth quarter, in 5A-Region II semifinal win over Tarpon Springs, and scored 13 of his 16 points in the period.

QUOTES: "Jordan definitely brings a defensive mindset. He had some huge games for us. . He had great games where he singlehandedly shut down the other team's best player. . He scored a lot off his defense. He added another guy who could flash or get to the basket. Certain games he hit some big shots. His addition propelled us to the next level."

- Nature Coast head coach Dave Pisarcik

Mike Jones

Forward

Hernando - Junior

COMMENTS: First year with the team after transferring from River Ridge . Second on the team in scoring (13.2) and rebounding (5.1) . Also averaged 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals . Led the team in scoring with 15 points in 5A-7 championship game against Nature Coast.

QUOTES: "Mike is a unique player in that his size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) belies his actual capability. He's someone who can get the rebounds and score coast-to-coast on his own. For a kid of his stature, he controls his body very well. . He's an inside presence. He's very difficult to guard. Then he had a different dynamic where when we were in transition, either with the ball in his hands or in a position to score, teams really had to keep an eye on him. . I think he'll be a very dynamic player for us if he can reach his full potential."

- Hernando head coach Jeff Laing

Mark Wilson

Guard
Hernando - Junior

COMMENTS: Second All-County selection, having made it as a freshman . Missed much of sophomore season with a broken collarbone . County's fifth-leading scorer, and tops on the Leopards, averaging 15.7 points . Also averaged 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals . Scored 18 points in regional quarterfinal at Tarpon Springs.

QUOTES: "Mark was really kind of all-everything for us. As he went offensively, so did we. . He's a pleasure to coach. He has instincts for the game, and when you're a leader and you're going under a new system and a new coach, it took him a while to adjust. But I think he and I have built a good foundation for the future. . He's a fundamentally sound ball handler, but he's especially adept at using his right hand. He's a rare high school player who can hit the midrange jumper. . He's the lynchpin, because he's stronger in all three facets of offense for us. He can score out of a motion offense and he can improvise when things break down."

- Hernando head coach Jeff Laing

Devonte Valentin

Guard
Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Finished second in the county scoring race at 16.9 points . Fourth in steals (2.0) . Averaged 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists . Drained team-best 34 3-point shots.

QUOTES: "I thought he had a pretty good year. We played a really hard schedule. Our district was brutal. . We needed him to score this year and he definitely stepped up to the plate on that. . Devonte is deceptively quick. He's underrated as an athlete. He can't jump out of the building. He can't move end to end in one step, but he's deceptively quick. That helps him a lot. . We could stick him in a lot of different spots defensively. . The kid's offseason regime is crazy. He works hard. He's always wanting to get in the gym and put up shots. He always wants to get into the gym and work on ball handling. If you'd let him, he'd live there."

- Springstead head coach Tim Plumadore

Coach of the Year

Dave Pisarcik

Nature Coast - 7th year

COMMENTS: Fifth consecutive Coach of the Year selection . Guided Sharks to a 22-8 mark, a third straight 5A-7 championship and fourth district title in five years, a fifth Sweet 16 appearance and a fourth trip to the Elite Eight in five seasons . Lost three starters from 2012-13 to graduation and another, Rohan Blackwood, appeared in only 14 games . Improved career record to 161-40 , all with the Sharks, and has more regional/state finals victories (10) than all other coaches in the history of the county combined.

QUOTES: "Ever since 2012, once we lost Tyler Bergantino and that group of seniors, people didn't think we'd have the same success. But I think with our program, the players and the coaching staff were committed, to where we've got guys willing to buy into the program and system so that we'll have success no matter what players come through Nature Coast. . It's a credit to the assistant coaches. . The coaching staff and the players do everything they can to put a successful product on the floor each night. But it's definitely an honor to be selected Coach of the Year, and it shows the hard work we're putting in and it's paying off. . We've had 2-3 go to college for the past five years. The season is not over right now. We're trying to get these guys to the next level."

- Pisarcik

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

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