Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Boys basketball: Hillsborough region final capsules

Class 3A

Who/when: Orlando First Academy (21-8) at Tampa Prep (25-3); 7 tonight

Winner gets: Shorecrest or Naples First Baptist

Skinny: Tampa Prep and the Royals met in the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. The Terrapins' 46-45 win in the 2012 region final was their closest contest in their road to the state title. Tampa Prep has dominated since an overtime loss to Berkeley Prep by winning its past four games, all by at least 20 points.

Keep an eye on: Two Division I-bound youngsters. Two-sport star Fletcher Magee scored 32 points for First Academy in the region semifinals and already holds offers from UCF and others. Tampa Prep forward Juwan Durham is one of the country's top sophomores and is averaging 20.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per game.

Class 4A

Who/when: Community School of Naples (28-1) at Berkeley Prep (26-3), 7 tonight

Winner gets: Alachua Santa Fe or Orlando Lake Highland Prep

Skinny: The teams aren't total strangers — the Seahawks played in Berkeley's invitational — although they haven't met this season. Both teams have strong guards. Berkeley's Justin Gray has signed with Texas Tech, and Rollins recruit Jeff Merton leads the Seahawks in scoring at 18.4 points per game. The teams have a common opponent in Tampa Prep. Berkeley split its two meetings with the Terrapins while Community School won by 10.

Keep an eye on: Berkeley guard Marshall Holmes. An injury sidelined him for all of December, when the Buccaneers had two of their three losses. He returned in late January, and Berkeley was a little slow to regain its chemistry. "It took us a little while to … get in synch again," coach Bobby Reinhart said. "I think we're starting to get there." Holmes made four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 22 points in the region semifinal.

Class 6A

Who/when: Lehigh (22-6) at Lennard (24-4); 7 p.m. Saturday

Winner gets: Lake Wales or Lake Minneola

Skinny: Expect good guard play and lots of points. The teams are averaging a combined 142 points per game with guards leading the way. Lennard's Gary Hector, Trey Jones and Caelen Watts scored 40 of their team's 54 points in last week's playoff opener against Mitchell. Lehigh's Bernard Edwards Jr. — a Bowling Green recruit and the son of former Tampa Bay Storm receiver Bernard Edwards — averages a team-high 22 points per game.

Keep an eye on: Lennard senior Robert Gant. He has scored in double figures in four of his past five games. The lone exception came against Mitchell, when he made up for it by making the winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Class 7A

Who/when: Bartow (19-10) at Freedom (18-6); 7 p.m. Saturday

Winner gets: Palmetto or Melbourne

Skinny: Bartow boasts talent inside and outside. Point guard Derrick Brooks has committed to Wofford, and 6-foot-9 center Tony Bradley holds offers from Tennessee and Cincinnati as a sophomore. Freedom's strength is its defense, which has held five of its past six opponents to 40 points or fewer. Sheldon Odunna and Riley Blake are averaging more than one steal per game.

Keep an eye on: Freedom guard Miguel Rojas. He made the winning layup in a 42-40 victory over Strawberry Crest in the region semifinals and is averaging 13 points and six rebounds since the district championship. "I'm lucky to have him," Patriots coach Cedric Smith said. "And he's worked hard to get where he is."

Matt Baker, Times staff writer

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