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Girls basketball region quarterfinal preview

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All games tonight start at 7 unless noted (featured photo above courtesy of Full Press Photography).

Class 7A

Steinbrenner (20-8) at Sarasota Riverview (19-1)

The Warriors, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, have a tough task in the opening round against the Rams, the No. 3 team in the state in Class 7A by MaxPreps. 

Class 6A

Seminole (12-9) at Wiregrass Ranch (13-9)

After enduring a 1-5 stretch in January, the Bulls got hot at the right time to make the playoffs as the Class 6A, District 9 champions. The Warhawks, meanwhile, had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Palmetto in the 6A, District 10 final. 

East Lake (22-5) at Palmetto (15-6) 

After losing in the 6A-9 final, the Eagles have to go on the road to face the Tigers, who have won each of their last five games by at least nine points. 

Class 5A

Bradenton Southeast (10-9) at Jefferson (15-2)

First-year Dragons coach Pilar Walker led the program to its third straight district title. Now, Jefferson faces perhaps its toughest opponent of the season. The Seminoles have lost seven of their last eight games but have played one of the toughest schedules in the state.  

Robinson (13-9) at Clearwater (21-4)

The Tornadoes, ranked eighth in the state in 5A by MaxPreps, have won 14 straight — 13 coming by double digits. After starting the season 8-8, the Knights won five of their last six to make the postseason.  

Zephyrhills (18-8) at Orlando Jones (14-5)

The Bulldogs might have a tough challengel, a road matchup against the state’s No. 3-ranked team in 5A according to MaxPreps.  

Lecanto (17-5) at Fivay (18-4)

The Falcons enter the playoffs on an eight-game win streak, including five by double digits. If the game is close, the Panthers might have the edge. Five of their wins were decided by six points or less. 

Class 4A

Atlantic (10-6) at Lakewood (18-4)

These teams met twice last season. The Spartans won both games, including a 20-point rout in the region quarterfinals. 

Anclote (8-15) at Lake Highland Prep (14-0)

No area team has a more difficult matchup than the Sharks, who have to travel to face the undefeated Highlanders, who are ranked first in the state in 4A and second nationally by MaxPreps. 

Eustis (13-6) at Wesley Chapel (19-4)

The Wildcats have some momentum, especially after winning 10 of their last 11 games. The Panthers, meanwhile, had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Lake Highland Prep in the 4A-7 final.  

Class 3A

Seffner Christian (14-5) at Brooks DeBartolo (11-14)

This is a rematch of a 57-56 thriller the Crusaders won last month, Kailyn Gilbert, an Arizona commit, had 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Seffner Christian in that first matchup. The Phoenix rebounded, winning three straight, the highlight coming in a 42-39 victory over defending state champion Carrollwood Day in last week’s 3A-9 final. 

Carrollwood Day (13-4) at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic (12-10)

This is a rematch of a 45-44 win the Patriots pulled out two weeks ago. In that game, the defending state champions rallied from a three-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to win. 

Bradenton Saint Stephen’s (12-7) at St. Petersburg Catholic (19-5)

By winning the 3A-5 district title, the Barons get to play at home, where they are 12-1 this season, the lone loss coming by two points to Boca Ciega last month. 

Calvary Christian (16-4) at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney (16-8)

The Warriors want a rematch with St. Petersburg Catholic in the region semifinals. To make that happen, Calvary Christian has to get the Cougars, who are ranked fifth in the state in 3A by MaxPreps. 

Class 2A

Cambridge Christian (2-16) at Hernando Christian (13-0)

The undefeated Lions were the lone team in the 2A-5 district and automatically advanced as the champion. Hernando Christian beat the Lancers 69-22 in the season opener. 

Naples First Baptist (7-9) at Keswick Christian (12-11)

The host Crusaders battled through inexperience and injuries throughout the season to repeat as 2A-7 champions. Five of Keswick Christian’s losses this season were by five points or less. 

General

The PTP girls lacrosse players of the week

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The fans’ pick

Avery Smith, So., Cypress Creek

As a freshman last year, Avery Smith had quite a debut, scoring 50 goals in an abbreviated 10-game season. 

The scoring continued this year, so much that Smith compiled 150 points in her high school career before her sophomore season ended. 

Entering last week, Smith ranked second in the area in goals (71) and points (90) to help the Coyotes earn the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A, District 5 tournament. She added to her total by scoring 11 more goals in three games to lead Cypress Creek to a district title. 

Fans took notice. Smith received more than 60 percent of the votes (3,141) to beat out Steinbrenner’s Taylor Lapointe (1,311 votes). 

The PTP pick

Chloe Norman, Jr., Land O’ Lakes: Led the area in goals with 88 entering the week and finished the season with 100. 

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General

The PTP boys lacrosse players of the week

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The fans’ pick

Nicholas Vreeland, Jr., Cypress Creek

Whenever Cypress Creek needs offensive production, it can turn to Nicholas Vreeland. 

The Coyotes’ go-to player has been consistent at putting the ball through the net. He has scored at least two goals in every game and has racked up five or more eight times this season. 

That helped Vreeland put up some impressive numbers. He finished the season with 67 goals, which currently leads the area and ranks third in the state and fourth in the nation.

Fans were impressed. Vreeland received more than 52 percent of the votes (6,531) to beat out Newsome’s Luke Haley, who had 37 percent (4,660 votes).

The PTP pick

Luke Haley, Jr., Newsome: Led the area in points with 106 and assists with 50 entering last week. 

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Baseball

Saturday sports schedule

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What to watch

Berkeley Prep (18-3) at Jesuit (20-1), 1

Both teams are ranked among the top seven in the state in their respective classifications by MaxPreps (the Buccaneers are No. 7 in 3A and the Tigers are No. 1 in 5A). 

The schedules

Baseball

Shorecrest at Canterbury, 10

Jefferson at Newsome, 10

Steinbrenner at Durant, 10

Strawberry Crest at Hillsborough, 11

Clearwater at IMG Royal, 12

Freedom at King, 1

Lennard at Leto, 1

Mitchell at IMG Gray, 1

Berkeley Prep at Jesuit, 1

Softball

Naples Longshore Tournament

Calvary Christian vs. Immokalee, 10:30

Calvary Christian vs. Naples Barron Collier, 12:30

Doral Academy vs. Sickles, 12:30

Other games

Middleton at Durant, 10

Spoto at Tampa Bay Tech, 10

Wesley Chapel at Academy of the Holy Names, 12

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