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BOYS BASKETBALL REGION SEMIFINALS

All games Tuesday at 7 p.m

CLASS 5A

WHARTON (23-6) AT LAKE HOWELL (24-4): Wharton, a young, hustling team with no starting seniors, has hung tough in every game, losing its six games by a total of 14 points. The Wildcats survived double overtime to turn back Wesley Chapel 68-60 in the region quarterfinal and will have to be at top form to stop Winter Park Lake Howell, currently ranked No. 2 in Class 5A by FloridaHoops.com. Point guard Anthony Gomez (12.2 ppg, 5.8 assists) has been sharp along with wingman Shawn Vanzant (14.2 ppg), who is the engine of this club. Vanzant, extremely quick off the dribble, scored 25 in the victory over Wesley Chapel. Adam Noble has chipped in with some timely 3-pointers and Leonard Simmons (7.5 rebounds per game) has continued to battle hard on the boards. But the Wildcats must play their best to stop Lake Howell, led by guards Nick Calathes and Joey Rodriguez.

BOCA CIEGA (20-6) AT CHAMBERLAIN (25-3): Chamberlain enters with as well-balanced an attack as any team from the area, but is that balance enough to keep the Chiefs rolling? Maybe. Region quarterfinal 72-54 victors over 2005 state runnerup Clearwater, Chamberlain will ride the overall play and streak shooting of senior James Devlin (17.9 ppg) along with the rebounding and post scoring of Kylan Robinson, who before moving to Chamberlain this season was an all-state basketball player in Alaska. Robinson turned out to be even better at football, signing a scholarship with Miami. It was Robinson, though, along with Chief football players Johnny Mack and Mo Lightburn, who gave the Chiefs' basketball team the muscle to go with Devlin's outside shooting, allowing for an undefeated season in district play. Against Clearwater, Devlin hit four 3-pointers in the first half to lead the Chiefs. Boca Ciega, meantime, had to battle in its first-round regional with a 57-56 overtime victory over Port Charlotte.

BRANDON (22-6) AT LAKE REGION (19-8): Brandon saw its 61-game win streak against Hillsborough County teams end early in the season but the Eagles regrouped and took the Class 5A, District 8 crown. Korri Ennis, a deadly shooter (17.9 ppg) and heady floor leader (5.7 assists), leads Brandon, but gets plenty of help from guards Mike Brown and Dontavius Bunts, who are athletic, if not tall (5-8 and 5-9, respectively). Devin Smith (6-4) is the team's leading rebounder. Opponents who attempt to run with Brandon tend to struggle against the Eagles' overall speed. Last season in this very game, the Eagles ran away from Lake Region, winning 72-60 before falling to Clermont East Ridge 74-71 in the region final. Neither Brandon nor Lake Region is ranked in Class 5A.

CLASS A

BAYSHORE CHRISTIAN (12-12) AT OLDSMAR CHRISTIAN (18-7): Bayshore Christian evened its season record with a 46-31 win over Kissimmee Southland Christian in region quarterfinal play. The Faith Warriors are led by E. J. Evans (13.4 ppg), Bryan Pluguez (11.9,) and Justin Linabury (11.3). Oldsmar Christian has been ranked in the Class A state poll and will prove a tough foe. Don't be fooled by Bayshore Christian's record though, because the Faith Warriors have played a tough schedule against several schools in higher classifications, both private and public.

BRADENTON CHRISTIAN (24-1) AT TAMPA BAPTIST (23-4): The Rams will have their hands full against Bradenton Christian. The Panthers, ranked No. 5 in Class A, advanced by beating Calvary Christian 64-55 in the opening round of regional play. Tampa Baptist will count on the shooting and defense of Jeremy Jackson and Blake Allen, but the Panthers may have too much with 6-8 junior center David Magley and outstanding guard Jeff Wehling.

Compiled by staff writer Scott Purks and correspondent Jim Reese.

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