Scouting the St. Petersburg vs. Pompano Beach Blanche Ely final
State championship game capsule
Class 7A: St. Petersburg (25-6) vs. Pompano Beach Blanche Ely (19-13); 4:05 p.m. Saturday
How they got here: St. Petersburg d. Tampa Bay Tech 78-66, d. Bloomingdale 78-55, d. Lakewood Ranch 83-77, d. Tallahassee Lincoln 71-65; Blanche Ely d. Palm Beach Dwyer 57-52, d. Royal Palm Beach 67-64, d. Hollywood McArthur 73-49
Top players: St. Petersburg: G Darius Banks, Jr. (21 points, 8 rebounds); G Travis Bianco, Sr., (15 points, 6 rebounds); F AJ Ford, Jr., (8 points, 11 rebounds); F Glenn Miller, Sr., (8 points, 12 rebounds); G. Antowine Reid, Sr., (6 points, 4 assists); G Serrel Smith, So. (16 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds); Blanche Ely: F Trevor Goodrum, Sr., (16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds); G Mark Houston, Sr. (14.6 points, 3.3 rebounds); G Geremy Taylor, Jr., (12.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game)
Outlook: The Green Devils, who have won 18 of their past 19 games, are in the state championship game for the first time since 1935 and are trying to win their first title since 1933. In the region final against Lakewood Ranch and the state semifinal against Tallahassee Lincoln, St. Petersburg had to rally from double-digit deficits in the first half. Banks came through in the clutch against Lincoln, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer and a dunk that clinched the win. The game against Blanche Ely is a rematch of a 2013 state semifinal the Tigers won en route to the state title. In all, Blanche Ely has won four state titles under coach Melvin Randall, including three of the past four. The Tigers are used to playing in close games with three of their four playoff games decided by a combined 12 points.