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Boys basketball region preview

(All games at 7)

Class 4A, Poinciana (16-9) at Springstead (27-0)

Winner faces: Hudson/Groveland South Lake winner in Tuesday's region semifinals

Common opponents: None

X factor: The Eagles' size (and accompanying athleticism) against a perimeter-oriented team. Poinciana 6-foot-4 point guard Korvan McElroy (15.5 ppg) engineers an offense that could feature five guards on the floor at once. Springstead counters with 6-5 Isaiah Mason (19.6 ppg, six rpg) and no fewer than three others who go 6-2 or better. "We do have some size on our bench that could help us in this game," Eagles coach Pat Kelly said.

Did you know? Poinciana's guard-oriented look is reflected in its rebounding totals. McElroy, with 2.7 boards a game, leads the team in that category.

Class 4A, Hudson (19-8) at Groveland South Lake (18-10)

Winner faces: Poinciana/Springstead winner in Tuesday's region semifinals

Common opponents: None

X factor: Cobras guard Chris Russo. A 5-foot-10 junior, Russo (15.1 ppg) has scored at least 25 points in four of his past seven games. Though he struggled in the district tournament, Russo takes enormous pressure off backcourt mate and top scorer Jarrod Branco (19.4 ppg) when hot. "We get him and Jarrod going at the same time, we're pretty tough," Hudson coach Jason Vetter said.

Did you know? South Lake's biggest player, 6-foot-8 senior Nijah Cunningham, averages only 6.2 points. Vetter is more concerned with 6-3 slasher Roy Noel (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

Class 5A, Newsome (20-5) at Ridgewood (25-2)

Winner faces: Land O'Lakes/King winner in Tuesday's region semifinals

Common opponent: Each other. The Rams trounced the Wolves 69-33 in the final of the Hulton Ram Classic at Ridgewood on New Year's Eve.

X factor: Ridgewood's mission. The fifth-ranked Rams have fallen in the region semifinals the past two years. Their senior nucleus — point guard Alvin Satram, power forward Bryan Jones and center Lukas Poderis — has one more crack at the state tournament.

Did you know? Newsome won eight in a row before its loss to King in the District 8 final. Its top player from 2008, 6-foot-5 swingman Joe Raga, transferred to Bloomingdale in the offseason. The Wolves beat Bloomingdale twice this year.

Class 5A, Land O'Lakes (17-10) at King (20-6)

Winner faces: Newsome/Ridgewood winner in Tuesday's region semifinals

Common opponent: Newsome. The Gators fell to Newsome by 12 in a holiday tournament at Ridgewood. King defeated the Wolves three times, including a 58-51 triumph in the District 8 final.

X factor: Lions 6-foot-7 senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick. Quite simply, Land O'Lakes has no chance if it can't contain the Georgia Southern signee who averages a double double (14.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg). In the district final against Newsome, Fitzpatrick totaled 27 points, 14 boards and seven blocks.

Did you know? On the court, King is 24-2. It had to forfeit its first four victories for an ineligible player.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Boys basketball region preview 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:06pm]
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