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Boys basketball region semifinals preview

Clearwater’s Regan O’Rourke (20) is stepping it up for his team, with points, assists and steals.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Clearwater’s Regan O’Rourke (20) is stepping it up for his team, with points, assists and steals.

To survive in the state playoffs, teams need selfless heroes who can hold them together so they can stick it to opponents. These are the guys who can make plays, whether it is a well-timed block, an apt pass or a crucial basket. They are the glue guys, the players who sense what their team needs most and supply it. Each of the four remaining teams in the county have them. Here is the breakdown.

Class 5A, Clearwater (25-3) at Hillsborough (21-8)

Skinny: The Tornadoes, who rolled in the quarterfinals over Blake, face a similar opponent in Hillsborough, which likes to play an up-tempo game. This is the Terriers' first postseason berth since 2002.

Glue guy: Regan O'Rourke has become the X factor for the Tornadoes. Against Blake, he scored a game-high 17. He also is among the team's leaders in steals and assists.

Class 5A, Boca Ciega (22-5) at Venice (26-3)

Skinny: The Pirates are in the region semifinals for the 10th time in 14 seasons after beating North Port last week. To get to the next round, Boca Ciega will have to get past a Venice team that pulled off a shockingly easy victory over Lakewood.

Glue guy: Since returning from a shoulder injury this month, Julius Forte has given the Pirates a much-needed presence underneath the basket with key rebounds and layups.

Class 2A, Indian Rocks Christian (18-10) at Tampa Prep (24-4)

Skinny: The Golden Eagles won their first playoff game by beating Fort Meade last week. Now IRC faces district rival Tampa Prep, which beat the Golden Eagles in two of three meetings this season.

Glue guy: Isaac McMillen leads IRC with 17 points per game and can be counted on to provide the crucial shot, whether it's a 3-pointer or free throw.

Class 2A, Admiral Farragut (16-9) at Community School of Naples (22-4)

Skinny: This is a rematch of last season's region semifinal, which Community School won 55-42 en route to a berth in the state semifinals. The difference this time is the Blue Jackets have to go on the road.

Glue guy: During AFA's run, Mo Brown has been a scoring machine, averaging a team-high 15.7 points.

Boys basketball region semifinals preview 02/23/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 23, 2009 10:45pm]
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