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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

Boys basketball: State semifinal capsules

St. Petersburg players celebrate after winning the Class 7A region title.

David W. Doonan | Special to the Times

St. Petersburg players celebrate after winning the Class 7A region title.

21

February

All games at the Lakeland Center. Admission and parking (separate) are both $10. 

Class 7A: St. Petersburg (24-6) vs. Tallahassee Lincoln (20-5); 10 a.m. Friday

How they got here: St. Petersburg d. Tampa Bay Tech 78-66, d. Bloomingdale 78-55, d. Lakewood Ranch 83-77; Tallahassee Lincoln d. Navarre 66-43, d. Tallahassee Leon 57-52, d. Jacksonville Creekside 57-54.

Top players: St. Petersburg: G Darius Banks, Jr. (22.9 points, 8.0 rebounds); G Travis Bianco, Sr., (15.2 points, 6.0 rebounds); G Serrel Smith, So. (16.3 points, 7.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds); Lincoln: G Kyle Kincey, Sr. (17 points, 6.0 assists), F Dwight Wilson, Jr., (16 points, 11 rebounds).

Outlook: The Green Devils, who have won 17 of their past 18 games, are in the state semifinals for the second straight season. In the region final, St. Petersburg had to rally from a halftime deficit. Lincoln is in the state semifinals for the first time in school history. Kincey came back from a season-ending injury and has been the catalyst for the Trojans' playoff run. In the region final against Creekside, he scored a game-high 20. Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is a North Florida commit who was the Tallahassee Democrat’s Co-Player of the Year last season. 

Class 6A: Largo (21-6) vs. Pensacola (25-5); 8 p.m. Friday

How they got there: Largo d. Punta Gorda Charlotte 82-71, d. Port Charlotte 77-74, d. Naples Palmetto Ridge 67-60; Pensacola d. Fort Walton Beach 77-41, d. Choctawatchee 75-48, d. Gainesville 45-39.

Top players: Largo:  G Dakarai Allen, Sr., (17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists); F Brandon Drayton, Sr., (9.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists); G Amant Deliu (11.3 points, 3.7 assists; Pensacola: PG Shawndarius Crawford, So. (13.8 points, 4.0 assists); C Davonchae Bryant (10.7 points, 7.9 rebounds); PF Devin Gadson, Jr. (7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds).

Outlook: Largo is making its first state semifinal appearance since 1998. The Packers’ roster is made up almost entirely of football players. Two starters – Allen and Drayton – signed with South Dakota and Indiana, respectively. After struggling with free throws throughout the regular season, Largo has turned things around at the line in the playoffs. Pensacola is making its first state semifinal appearance since 2009. The Tigers have a young starting lineup with three juniors and two sophomores. Only three players are 6 feet 4 or taller. Bryant is the tallest at 6-7.  

Class 5A: Jesuit (25-5) vs. Jacksonville Bishop Kenny (27-3; 1 p.m. Thursday

How they got here: Jesuit d. Lake Wales 51-41, d. Robinson 45-41, Cape Coral Mariner 41-38; Bishop Kenny d. Baker County 62-35, d. Jacksonville Wolfson 69-55, d. Tallahassee Godby 54-51.

Top players: Jesuit: G Stevie Darst, Jr., (15.8 points, 2.6 assists, 2.9 steals); F Ryan Fleming, Sr., (8.0 points, 5.6 rebounds), F Lee Green, Sr., (8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds); G DJ Snyder, Sr., (8.3 points, 3.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds). Bishop Kenny: G Christian Carlyle, Sr., (23.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists); G/F Chris Joyce, Sr.,  (19 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists); F Gabe Merete, Jr., (7.3 points, 3.9 rebounds).

Outlook: Jesuit is making its first state semifinal appearance since 2013 when it won the Class 5A state title. After losing three of four to close out the regular season, the Tigers have won five straight, four by seven points or fewer. The defense has been key with Jesuit holding four of its past five opponents to 47 points or fewer. Bishop Kenny is making its first state semifinal since 2013 when it lost to the eventual champion Tigers. The Crusaders currently are 13th in the state regardless of classification by MaxPreps. They are 9-0 this season at neutral sites. Carlyle is a Florida Gulf Coast signee who has more than 2,000 career points. Joyce, an Air Force signee, has more than 1,200 point and 600 rebounds in his career.  

Class 5A: Zephyrhills (27-4) vs. Kissimmee Poinciana (25-5); 3 p.m. Thursday

How they got here: Zephyrhills d. Crystal River 62-48, d. Nature Coast Tech61-51, d. Ponte Vedra 76-68 (OT); Poinciana d. Titusville 57-55, d. Leesburg 61-51, d. Coconut Creek 62-55.

Top players: Zephyrhills: G Jeremy Oppenheimer, Sr. (22.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists); G Aliza Quiles, Jr., (10.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists), G Elijah McGhie, Sr., (9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds). Poinciana: PG Taylor Gill, Sr., (11.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists); SG Nate Louis, Sr., (16.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals), W Brandon Marat, Sr., (13.4 points, 4.6 points, 2.8 assists).

Outlook: Zephyrhills is in the state semifinals for the first time since 1966. The Bulldogs have won 16 straight and finished the season undefeated at home. But now they have to play at a neutral site, where they are 4-3. Oppenheimer has been on a tear, scoring at least 30 points in five of his past eight games. Poinciana, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2012, is in its first state semifinal appearance. The Eagles have a veteran team with three seniors – Gill, Louis and Marat – who have played together on travel teams since they were 9 years old. Gill is a sharpshooter who has made more than 90 3-pointers this season. 

Class 4A: Tampa Catholic (26-4) vs. Jacksonville Bolles (27-3); 3 p.m. Wednesday

How they got here: Tampa Catholic d. Fort Myers Bishop Verot 87-30, d. LaBelle 90-61, d. West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy 59-58; Bolles d. Interlachen 58-24, d. Jacksonville Jackson 38-36, d. Havana East Gadsden 65-40.

Top players: Tampa Catholic: F Kevin Knox, Jr., (29.8 points, 11.1 rebounds); G Thomas Dziagwa, Sr., (22.8 points, 4.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds); F Jessy St. Marc (5.9 points, 7.2 rebounds); G Tai Strickland, So., (7.9 points, 2.3 assists). Bolles: C Collin Smith, Sr., (20.2 points, 10.4 rebounds); F Austin Williams, Sr., (10 points, 7.3 rebounds); F Jonathan DeWane (10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds).

Outlook:  Tampa Catholic is in the state semifinals for the first time since 2011 and is trying to win its first title since 1995. After winning their previous six games by 14 or more, the Crusaders were tested in the region final and had to rally in the final minute to beat Oxbridge. Knox, a five-star recruit, came through in the clutch with the winning basket and finished with 18 points. Bolles is in the state semifinals for the first time since 1993. The Bulldogs have an imposing frontcourt with Smith (6-foot-10),  DeWane (6-8) and Williams (6-7). All three are seniors and have committed to Division 1-A programs. Smith, who is going to George Washington, and Williams, who is headed to Yale, have both scored more than 1,000 points in their careers.

[Last modified: Sunday, February 21, 2016 8:04pm]

    

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