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Girls basketball region final recap

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Class 7A

Plant 63, Oak Ridge 29

The Panthers, the top-ranked team in 7A, were an overwhelming favorite to reach the state semifinals for the second straight season.

Entering Friday’s region final, Plant had won six straight, all by 13 or more points. The winning streak continued in convincing fashion as the Panthers completed their quest by routing Oak Ridge. 

By getting off to a quick start, Plant was able to take control early. The Panthers went ahead 21-5 at the end of the first quarter and led 37-17 at the half. 

Nyla Jean, a Georgia State signee, was impressive, finishing with 24 points, six steals and four rebounds. Teammate Kendal Cheesman, a Vanderbilt signee, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Though Plant has made it back to Lakeland, there is not a just-happy-to-be-here sentiment with this group, especially after coming up short in the state final last season. 

This time, the main goal is to bring home the first state title in school history. 

Class 6A

Winter Haven 86, Armwood 66

The Hawks, who were in the region final for the second time in the past three seasons, had a difficult task. To extend its playoff run, Armwood had to knock off the Blue Devils, who were ranked second in 6A, sixth overall in the state and eighth nationally by MaxPreps. 

The opponent was too quick, too powerful. It ended up being too much to overcome. 

By halftime, the Hawks were down 45-25 and trailed 68-39 at the end of the third. Armwood still battled, outscoring Winter Haven 27-18 but it was not enough. 

Class 5A

Clearwater 49, Naples Barron Collier 45 (OT)

The pressure in this moment could have been overwhelming for the Tornadoes, who have just one senior on the roster. 

Clearwater watched its fourth quarter lead slip away. A Barron Collier three-pointer in the final minute tied the game. 

Still, there was a chance for the Tornadoes to win it in regulation. Liv Fuller raced down the court and was fouled, giving her two shots at the line. She missed both, sending the game into overtime. 

Though the momentum had shifted, at least temporarily, Clearwater’s young lineup never let it become a deterrent. The Tornadoes showed their resolve — and their maturity — by taking control early in overtime, then holding on for a victory.

Clearwater extended its win streak to 14 by advancing to the state semifinals for the first time since 2007. Fuller, a sophomore, was a force, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and three assists. Teammate Beckham Hockley, a freshman, had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. 

Class 4A

Lincoln Park Academy 38, Lakewood 30

Down by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Spartans were confident they could still rally to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2018. 

After all, Lakewood overcame a 20-3 first quarter deficit against Cocoa to win in the region semifinals.

Sure enough, the Spartans started coming back. With 3:15 remaining, Lakewood had cut it to 34-30. They would not get closer. Lincoln Park Academy scored the final four points to win. 

Nilah Coleman led the Spartans in scoring with 12 points, followed by Sincere Robinson with 12. 

Class 3A

Brooks DeBartolo 76, Benjamin 39

The Phoenix had already accomplished its biggest task by knocking off defending 3A state champion Carrollwood Day in the district final and the region semifinals. 

With the playoff path cleared, Brooks DeBartolo’s second state semifinal trip appeared to be a foregone conclusion, even if there was another game to be played.

The region final was mere formality. The Phoenix used it as a tuneup, cruising to a 38-point win. All five starters reached double figures in scoring, led by Triniti Youngblood with 18 points.

Class 2A

Naples First Baptist 54, Hernando Christian 44

The Lions’ third straight region final appearance ended with another loss. But Hernando Christian is improving. Friday’s outcome was the closest of those three losses.  

State semifinal schedule

All games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.  Admission is $10 in advance, $13 on day of the event. Parking is $10.

Class 7A

Plant vs. Oakleaf, 12:30 Friday

Class 5A

Clearwater vs. Plantation American Heritage, 4 Thursday

Class 3A

Brooks DeBartolo vs. Miami Country Day, 4 Wednesday

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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