Attention on the basketball courts shifts to girls teams Friday with the onset of the Queen of Palms Tournament action.
The 64-team event in Lee County is broken down into eight eight-team brackets playing at four different sites. Cape Coral High is hosting the Diamond and Sapphire divisions with the host Seahawks participating in the Diamond division. Their first game is at 7 p.m. Friday against Florida Christian, which is replacing Jacksonville Wolfson. Estero and Port Charlotte are assigned to the Sapphire division.
Other division hosts are Dunbar, Lehigh and Cypress Lake. There is at least one area team playing in each bracket with a total of 59 teams representing Florida. There are five out-of-state squads entered from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Host Dunbar is playing in the Ruby division with Community School of Naples landing in the Emerald division at Dunbar. Host Cypress Lake mixes it up in the Amber division along with Oasis, Palmetto Ridge and Charlotte.
Bishop Verot and Gulf Coast play in the Topaz division at Cypress Lake.
East Lee County participates in the Pearl division at Lehigh while the host Lightning and Golden Gate play in the Opal division.
Oasis (8-4) heads into its first game at 8:30 p.m. Friday against Palmetto Ridge at Cypress Lake without Jordan Westendorf, the team's leading scorer.
"She's not only our leading scorer, but is our big girl underneath," said Sharks coach Sam Wood. "We'll have to rely on sophomore Kelsie Arentsen to step up in the middle. We'll have a less physical presence in there, but Jordan will be back for our game on Monday. I think we will do well if we play together with confidence."
Taking on more of the scoring burden for the Sharks are second-leading scorer Samantha Wood and Sarah Pickle.
The Sharks lost to Palmetto Ridge in the Queen of Palms last year, but Wood believes they match up better with them this year.
"We're a year stronger and a year wiser than we were," said Wood. "We play with more determination this year. I love this team, they all work really hard."
The Seahawks (14-1) are facing a big challenge in a competitive bracket.
"There are some very good teams in our bracket," said Seahawks coach Kirk Myers. "Playing on our home court will help us because we will have our regular crowd behind us and we are comfortable in our own gym."
Second round action picks up on Saturday with the final round slated for Monday in all brackets.
Each of the four sites host eight games each of the three days, with the first game at 9 a.m. and the last game tipping off at 8:30 p.m.