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The Sickles boys basketball team's state tournament debut this week represents a silver anniversary of sorts for Coach Renaldo Garcia.
Twenty-five years ago, in the same Lakeland Center building his team will enter for Wednesday's Class 5A semifinals, Garcia and his Tampa Catholic teammates fell to Riviera Beach Suncoast 59-54 in the 2A semis. Suncoast went on to win its second consecutive state title.
"I can just remember how quick those guys were and how that game felt like it lasted for about 10 minutes," said Garcia, then a Crusaders starting sophomore guard. "You're a sophomore, you're excited, and it just went by so fast."
The Gryphons, who face Niceville in Wednesday's 4 p.m. game, will try to become the first Hillsborough County public school to win a state title since Plant City in 1982.