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Girls basketball region finals preview

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Games start at 7.

Class 7A

Oak Ridge (15-8) at Plant (23-3)

The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in 7A and 14th overall in the state by MaxPreps, are trying for their second straight state semifinal appearance. They are certainly on track with their performance the past month. Plant has won six straight, all by 13 or more points. Kendal Cheesman, a Vanderbilt signee, has been dominant inside, averaging a team-high 17.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Teammate Nyla Jean, a Georgia State, has been just as efficient with her decision-making and quickness, averaging a team-best 3.5 steals and 3.0 assists per game. 

Class 6A

Winter Haven (17-1) at Armwood (10-4)

The Hawks are in the region final for the second time in the past three seasons. They are led by senior Tavi’yanna Habib, a McDonald’s All-American nominee who is averaging 20.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game. Armwood has played well down the stretch and gave Plant its toughest test (a 13-point loss) in the past month. This is going to be an even bigger challenge. The Blue Devils are ranked second in 6A, sixth overall in the state and eighth nationally by MaxPreps. 

Class 5A

Clearwater (23-4) at Naples Barron Collier (22-7)

Last season, the Tornadoes did not make the playoffs, which were based on a ranking system. That served as a powerful motivator for Cleearwater, which is one step from making the state semifinals for the first time since 2007. After starting 3-3, the Tornadoes have won 20 of their last 21 games. During its current 16-game win streak, Clearwater has been dominant, winning by double digits in all but one. The Tornadoes are balanced with a different playing leading in the team in just about every statsitistic. Beckham Hockley, a freshman, has a team-high 14.7 points per game while Liv Fuller, a sophomore, leads in rebounding with nine per game.   

Class 4A

Lakewood (20-4) at Lincoln Park Academy (18-1)

The Spartans, who are always a factor in the playoffs, are trying to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2018. This is perhaps the most competitive region final among the six area teams still in the playoffs. The two powerhouses are ranked among the top five in 4A and the top 35 overall in the state by MaxPreps. If the Spartans fall behind early, there will not be any panic. Lakewood overcame a 20-3 first quarter deficit to knock off Cocoa in the region semifinals.  

Class 3A

West Palm Beach Benjamin (10-6) at Brooks DeBartolo (16-5)

The Phoenix have already cleared one of their biggest obstacles by knocking off defending 3A state champion Carrollwood Day in the district final and the region semifinals. Now, Brooks DeBartolo is one step away from making its second state semifinal appearance. The Phoenix are led by a trio of seniors — Amarie Godwin, Brionna McClinton and Triniti Youngblood — all of whom were selected this week as McDonald’s All-American nominees. 

Class 2A

Naples First Baptist (9-9) at Hernando Christian (15-0)

This is the Lions’ third straight region final appearance. Hernando Christian will have to rely on the scoring of senior Esther Jackson, who is averaging 24.9 points per game, in order to reach the state semifinals for the first time. 

Baseball

Baseball: Region final recap

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Class 7A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Durant 2, Kissimmee Osceola 1

Prime time performers

P/1B Alex Canney, Sr., Durant: Threw 2 ⅔ scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out five in a win over Kissimmee Osceola. 

P Sean Hermann, Sr., Durant: Pitched 4 ⅓ innings in relief, allowing four hits and one unearned run while striking out six in a win over Kissimmee Osceola. 

C/UTIL Dylan LaPointe, So., Durant: Hit a solo homer in the fourth inning that proved to be the difference in a win over Kissimmee Osceola.

Friday’s state semifinal schedule

Durant vs. Spruce Creek, 10

Class 6A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Bloomingdale 4, Naples Gulf Coast 3

Prime time performers

INF/P Gabe Garrett, Sr., Bloomingdale: Ended up 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored ain a win over Naples Gulf Coast.

OF Drake Harman, Jr., Bloomingdale: Went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a win over Naples Gulf Coast.

INF Colby Shelton, Jr., Bloomingdale: Finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in a win over Naples Gulf Coast.

Friday’s state semifinal schedule

Bloomingdale vs. Palm Beach Dwyer, 7

Class 2A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Sarasota Out-of-Door 4, Bishop McLaughlin 1

Mount Dora Christian 5, Seffner Christian 4 (eight innings)

Prime time performers

1B/P Dylan Cheeley, Sr., Seffner Christian: Went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored in a loss to Mount Dora Christian.

OF Clay Odiorne, Sr., Seffner Christian: Hit a three-run homer in a loss to Mount Dora Christian.

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Baseball

Baseball: Region final breakdown (7-6A, 2A)

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The baseball playoffs continue Saturday with region final games in Classes 7A-6A and 2A. Admission is $7. Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 7A

Kissimmee Osceola (20-7) at Durant (21-5), 7

Cougars ace Sean Hermann threw 53 pitches in Wednesday’s region semifinal win over Sarasota Riverview. That means he needed just two days rest under the Florida High School Athletic Association’s pitch count policy and is available for the final. Durant, which has won eight of its last nine games, does have some momentum. The Kowboys are on a similar  late-season streak, winning 10 of their last 11. 

Team leaders

CategoryKissimmee OsceolaDurant
Batting averageBryan Avila .393Dylan LaPointe .397
RBIsJosean Sanchez 21Dylan Lapointe 22
Home runsJosean Sanchez 2Luke Scolaro 2
ERAManuel Lopez 1.14Sean Hermann 0.42
StrikeoutsManuel Lopez 72Sean Hermann 120

Class 6A

Bloomingdale (21-6) at Naples Gulf Coast (16-11), 7

The Bulls are in the region final for the first time since 2014. Bloomingdale got to this point by winning close games. Two of the Bulls’ last three wins were decided by a run. The Sharks are making their first region final appearance since 2017. They have won five straight thanks to stellar pitching and defense that has posted two straight shutouts and has allowed just four runs during that stretch. 

Team leaders

CategoryBloomingdaleNaples Gulf Coast
Batting averageDrake Harman .400Jean Cuello .328
RBIsMarlon Bowen 22Lorenzo Soto 13
Home runsColby Shelton 5Three players tied with one.
ERAJack Owens 0.92Matthew Geller 0.52
StrikeoutsDavid Eckaus 82Matthew Geller 68

Class 2A

Seffner Christian (19-4) at Mount Dora Christian (21-6), 7

The Crusaders are making their first region final appearance. They have won five straight, including the past four by seven or more runs. The Bulldogs are in the region final for just the second time. They have won 13 straight and keep getting better. In the last four games, Mount Dora Christian has outscored opponents by a combined 49-3. 

Team leaders

CategorySeffner ChristianMount Dora Christian
Batting averageDylan Cheeley .405Ty Quan Wiggins .486
RBIsAndrew Ura 22Collin Priest, Ty Quan Wiggins 31
Home runsSpencer Boynton, Andrew Ura 2Collin Priest 9
ERABen Cheek 0.25Cooper Chapman 1.54
StrikeoutsJoey Jensen 80Mekai Griffin 54

Bishop McLaughlin (20-7) at Sarasota Out-of-Door (21-3), 7

The Hurricanes are in the region final for the first time since 2017 and are one game away from reaching the state semifinals for just the third time in school history. Bishop McLaughlin’s success is due in large part to finding ways to pull through in close games. Of the Hurricanes’ nine straight wins, six were decided by two runs or less, including two that went into extra innings. 

Team leaders

CategoryBishop McLaughlinSarasota Out-of-Door
Batting averageAugie Mojica .409Logan Tribble .487
RBIsAndrew Duncan 18Carter Dierdorf 30
Home runsThree players tied with one.Tanner Fairchild 5
ERAEthan Burkhardt 1.20Carter Dierdorf
StrikeoutsTanner Boccabello 55Josh Cone 60

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Softball: Region final recap

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Class 6A

For the full playoff bracket click here

Scoreboard

Mitchell 8, Venice 0

Viera 5, Durant 0

Prime time performers

INF Sydney Fowler, Jr., Mitchell: Threw a complete-game shutout and hit a two-run homer in a win over Venice.

Friday’s state semifinal schedule

Mitchell vs. Doral Academy, 11:15 a.m.

Class 5A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Land O’ Lakes 6, Palmetto 3

Prime time performers

P/3B/CF Mia Fields, Fr., Land O’ Lakes: Allowed four hits and three earned runs to go along with five strikeouts in a win over Palmetto.

SS Nehanda Lewis, Jr., Land O’ Lakes: Stole two bases and scored two runs against Palmetto.

P/UTIL Aliana Mercado, So., Land O’ Lakes: Went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in a win over Palmetto.

Thursday’s state semifinal schedule

Land O’ Lakes vs. Pace-Middleburg winner, 2

Class 4A 

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Hernando 4, Lake Region 3

Prime time performers

P/1B Ava Braswell, Fr., Hernando: Allowed eight hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out five in a win over Lake Region.

SS Solaris Genberg, Jr., Hernando: Went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in a win over Lake Region.

P/1B Olivia Townsend, Sr., Hernando: Powered the Leopards’ offense by going 2-for-4, including a two-run homer, in a win over Lake Region.

Thursday’s state semifinal schedule

Hernando vs. Plantation American Heritage, noon

Class 3A 

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Academy of the Holy Names 5, Lakeland McKeel Academy 0

Prime time performers

SS Rachael Petrarca, Sr., Academy of the Holy Names: Hit a homer in a win over Lakeland McKeel Academy

P/3B/2B Bella Sardja, Sr., Academy of the Holy Names: Threw a five-hit shutout with six strikeouts.

3B/RF Maisi Sigler, Fr., Academy of the Holy Names: Hit a double and a homer to go along with an RBI and two runs scored in a win over Lakeland McKeel Academy.

Wednesday’s state semifinal schedule

Academy of the Holy Names vs. Westminster Christian, 2 p.m.

Class 2A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Canterbury 9, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian 3

Mount Dora Christian Academy 10, Seffner Christian 0

Prime time performers

P/2B Mackenzie Bergstrom, Jr., Canterbury: Ended up 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored in a win over Fort Myers Evangelical Christian.

RF/2B Mya Bickford, So., Canterbury: Finished 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored in a win over Fort Myers Evangelical Christian.

1B Alayah Pedersen, So., Canterbury: Went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in a win over Fort Myers Evangelical.

P/2B/3B Morgen Talley, 8th, Canterbury: Hit a two-run homer in a win over Fort Myers Evangelical Christian.

Wednesday’s state semifinal schedule

Canterbury vs. Westminster Academy, TBA

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