ST. PETERSBURG — For years, the 5A-11 tournament has been categorized by a bitter, ornery rivalry between two storied programs: Boca Ciega and Lakewood.
And after all the refurbishing by other teams in the district during the offseason, the championship game still looks pretty much the same.
A finals matchup between the Pirates and Spartans, anticipated since the season began, became a reality after both won their semifinal games Friday.
The two meet at 7 tonight.
In the first semifinal, Boca Ciega cruised to a 66-44 victory over Seminole.
The outcome was far different from the last time both played. In that game, the Pirates squeaked out a win in overtime.
This time there were no close calls.
Boca Ciega took control from the start, despite missing Kevin McKellar and Chris Phillips for undisclosed reasons, according to Pirates coach Randy Shuman.
Bryce Mosley picked up the scoring slack for Boca Ciega with a team-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
"We haven't really had the same lineup all season," Shuman said. "We need to play 10 times better against Lakewood to have a chance to win."
Lakewood rolled to a 72-58 win over Gibbs in the other semifinal.
The Spartans (22-4) got off to a quick start, outscoring the Gladiators 26-8 in the first quarter. In all, Lakewood had 10 players score. Justin Minnis was the leader with 17 points.
"We had an awful lot of mistakes with some turnovers and letting people get into the lane," Lakewood coach Dan Wright said. "But we always seem to find a way to have someone step up when we need it."