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Boys basketball region final recap

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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

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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