Boys basketball: Class 5A state semifinal preview

Boys basketball state semifinals

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

Class 5A

Jesuit (25-4) vs. Pembroke Pines Charter (11-3), 4

How they got here: Jesuit d. Clearwater 63-49, d. Blake 45-40, d. Naples 59-56. Pembroke Pines Charter d. Jensen Beach 69-42, d. Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson 63-35, d. Miami Norland 79-53. 

Top players: Jesuit: G Ryan Weir, Sr. (16.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.5 assists per game); F Joe Pesansky, Sr. (14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game); G Kai Ravenna, Sr. (8.7 points, 4.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 3.2 steals per game). Pembroke Pines Charter: G Geoffrey Sprouse, Jr. (15.6 points per game); G Kolby King, Jr. (15.5 points per game); G/F Caelum Ethridge, Jr. (13.5 points per game). 

Outlook: The Tigers, who are in the state semifinals for the first time since 2016, had a remarkable journey to get to this point. The varsity squad and coaching staff were quarantined through the first two games of the district tournament. That meant the junior varsity squad had to win in the quarterfinals and semifinals to seal a postseason berth. They did just that, even rallying from a fourth quarter deficit to beat Sumner in the semifinals. The varsity players returned for the playoffs and won three straight on the road, including victories against Clearwater and Naples, both ranked among the top 10 in 5A by MaxPreps entering the postseason. Jesuit has not been fazed by playing so many games away from home. In fact, the Tigers are undefeated (10-0) on the road this year. The top two players are Ryan Weir and Joe Pesansky, who each nailed crucial 3-pointers in the final minute of the region final against Naples. The semifinal matchup is a tough one. Pembroke Pines Charter is a defending 5A state finalist that is ranked No. 1 in the classification by MaxPreps. The Jaguars are led by a trio of juniors — Geoffrey Sprouse, Kolby King and Caelum Ethridge.