Boys basketball region final recap

Class 6A

Punta Gorda Charlotte 59, East Lake 56

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in 6A throughout the season, were on the verge of returning to the state semifinals for the second straight season. 

Charlotte, a team East Lake beat by 32 in the region semifinals a year ago, was the only opponent that stood in the way. 

Ahead by three at the half, the Eagles watched their lead evaporate. In the end, they could not get a 3-pointer to fall when they needed it in the waning seconds of regulation.

Dean Gabrelcik and Anthony Bittar each finished with 15 points to lead East Lake.

Class 5A

Jesuit 59, Naples 56

The Tigers, who were without nearly the entire varsity squad during the district tournament, continued their epic run through the playoffs by reaching the state semifinals for the first time since 2016. 

Playing on the road for the third postseason game, Jesuit built a 25-19 lead at the half, then held on as the Golden Eagles made a furious rally. 

In the closing minute, the Tigers’ veterans, senior guard Ryan Weir and senior forward Joe Pesansky, each hit critical 3-pointers. Pesansky’s long-range shot ended up being the game-winner. 

But they were not the only ones hitting from the perimeter. Jack Delp finished with a team-high 18 points, including six 3-pointers. Pesansky had 16 points and nine rebounds.  

Class 3A

Bishop McLaughlin 47, Fort Myers Canterbury 42

The Hurricanes had never made the playoffs before this season. 

Not only did Bishop McLaughlin qualify for the postseason, its star-studded roster won three straight playoff games on the road to reach the state semifinals. 

In the region final, the Hurricanes had to battle through some adversity. 

They rallied from a halftime deficit to make it to the final four. 

Emanuel Sharp scored a team-high 18 and Joshua Watkins had 14 to lead Bishop McLaughlin. 

Class 2A

Southwest Florida Christian 63, Cambridge Christian 53

The Lancers’ first region final appearance since 2000 nearly ended with a trip to the state semifinals. 

Cambridge Christian was in control and held a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. 

But they could not hold on. 

Southwest Florida Christian, which had already knocked off defending 2A state finalist Bayshore Christian in a region quarterfinal thriller, rallied by outscoring the Lancers 22-11 in the fourth quarter. 

Cambridge Christian had three players — Mac Creek (14 points), Gavin Martinez (12) and Peyton McBrien (10) — who reached double figures in scoring. 

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 5A

Jesuit vs. Pembroke Pines Charter, 4 Thursday

Class 3A

Andrew Jackson vs. Bishop McLaughlin, 2 Wednesday