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CLASS 5A FINAL FOUR

WHEN: Today - Chamberlain vs. Port St. Lucie, 4 p.m.; Winter Park Lake Howell vs. Gainesville Eastside , 7 p.m.

WHERE: The Lakeland Center, Lakeland.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 4 East to exit 31 (Kathleen Road). Turn right on Kathleen Road and continue to Sikes Boulevard. Bear right at the yield sign and turn right at the second traffic light (Lime Street). The Lakeland Center is on the right.

ADMISSION: $9 per session; $5 parking.

RADIO: Chamberlain's semifinal will air on 1470 AM.

FINAL: Friday 7 p.m.

CHAMBERLAIN (27-3): The Chiefs came off an unbeaten district season, then stormed through regionals, running away from Clearwater and Boca Ciega before slipping by No. 1-ranked Largo 56-55. Chamberlain is an unselfish squad that plays sound defense and is led on offense by sharp-shooter James Devlin (18.6 ppg). When Devlin has been covered, the Chiefs' other seven contributors have stepped up. Players off the bench such as Mo Lightburn and Jonny Mack often have scored in double figures to balance the attack. Then there's burly forward Kylan Robinson, who took up that chore against Largo with 19 late points as Devlin was shut down in the second half. Lightburn and Robinson do the dirty work inside and teamed for 15 rebounds a game during the regular season. After early-season losses to Wharton and Tampa Catholic, Chamberlain ran the table until a loss to Sickles in its regular-season finale. The Chiefs haven't lost since. Chamberlain last reached the final four in 1990, losing to loaded Miami Senior in the final.

PORT ST. LUCIE (21-9): Port St. Lucie looks formidable after beating Stuart South Fork, Fort Myers and two-time defending state champion Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer 66-59. The Jaguars trailed Dwyer by 12 at halftime, then traded baskets until they scored 11 straight in the final two minutes. Junior center Larry Sanders (6-foot-8), a strong force under the boards, had 11 rebounds, 16 points and four blocked shots. Travis Hearing, Luther Thomas and John Wilson handle the perimeter shooting. It was Wilson's 3-pointer that put Port St. Lucie on top for good against Dwyer. The meeting with Chamberlain will mark the first final four for the Jaguars since 1999, when they (like Chamberlain this year) beat Largo in a region final.

LAKE HOWELL: The Silver Hawks are returning to the final four for the fourth straight year, and this might be their best team to date. Lake Howell has proven it can win in all kinds of ways. In the regionals, it defeated Auburndale in overtime 84-73, turned back Wharton 72-43 and then outlasted Lake Region in a down-tempo game, 36-28. Lake Howell is loaded with top-quality players. Junior guards Nick Calathes, who is 6-5, and 5-11 Joey Rodriguez, have committed to Florida and Massachusetts, respectively. Rodriguez is the penetrating point guard while Calathes is the engine of the team, shooting 3-pointers, rebounding and/or leading the fast break. A smart player, he seems to make others around him better. Lake Howell has 6-8 center Chandler Parsons, also a junior, and 6-4 senior forward Alex Castillo for both scoring and rebounding strength.

EASTSIDE: The Rams' defense has made the difference in this squad's march through the region tournament. Eastside limited region opponents to an average of 45 points, the most notable performance being a 47-42 win over Jacksonville Wolfson, which had averaged 69 points a game in the playoffs. Eastside held Wolfson scoreless for six minutes in the final quarter. Seniors Alton Jones, Jeremy Jenkins, and Tim Shankle lead Eastside - Jones and Shankle offensively, and Jenkins on the boards. To win, the Rams likely will have to improve their free-throw shooting, often a key part of final four victories. In a 55-45 region quarterfinal win over Niceville, the Rams were 14-of-35 from the stripe. Based on Lake Region's success in slowing down the Lake Howell offensive machine, look for Eastside to employ a similar plan.

Compiled by Times staff writers Scott Purks and Keith Niebuhr, and correspondent Jim Reese.

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