The district tournaments had plenty of upsets. The region quarterfinals had its share of buzzer beaters. What will happen in tonight’s region semifinals? Here is a preview.
Palmetto (18-6) at Wharton (26-2), 7
The Wildcats, ranked ninth in the class by MaxPreps, have won four straight, all by double digits. Their two losses this season have been by a combined seven points. Part of the reason for Wharton’s success is a balanced lineup. Chandler Davis averaged 30 points per game during the district tournament two weeks ago and Trevor Dyson had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in last week’s region quarterfinal win over Leto.
Wiregrass Ranch (17-8) at Sumner (16-8), 7
The Bulls are in the region semifinals for the second straight season. They have won five of their past six games, the lone loss in that span coming against Hillsborough in the district final. Josh Martin is averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game for Wiregrass Ranch. The Stingrays have won seven of their last eight games.
Bradenton Southeast (16-7) at St. Petersburg (22-5), 7
This is a rematch from the 5A-10 district final that the Green Devils won 64-61 two weeks ago. Tristan Gross and Marquris Curry Jr. each had 16 points to lead St. Petersburg to a district title. The Green Devils continued to roll in last week’s region quarterfinal, beating Seminole 71-47. Gross had a team-high 19 points and Jayden Hosein added 18 in the win.
Jesuit (22-6) at Orlando Jones (18-7), 7
Though the Tigers are 2-2 in their last four games, they showed the same kind of resolve in last week’s region quarterfinal win over Zephyrhills that they did a year ago in reaching the state semifinals. Playing one of its most complete games of the season, Jesuit jumped ahead quickly and led throughout in a 60-38 rout of the Bulldogs. Patrick Ruffner was dominant inside, finishing with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead the Tigers.
King (18-10) at Leesburg (19-7), 7
Down by a point with 6.1 seconds left in last week’s region quarterfinals, the Lions got a steal, called a timeout, then fed the ball inside to Tony Livingston the buzzer-beating layup to beat Auburndale 63-62. Livingston, a Florida football signee, had a monster performance, finishing with 42 points and 13 rebounds.
Port Charlotte (14-12) at Central (24-4), 7
The Bears, winners of five straight, showed they can knock off traditional state contenders by beating Lakewood 69-56 in last week’s region quarterfinals. Tre Joyner finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for Central.
Parrish Community (20-7) at Gibbs (19-8), 7
This is a rematch from the 4A-11 district final that the Gladiators won 46-41. Gibbs’ young roster is starting to come of age. Trailing by a point in last week’s region quarterfinals, Gladiators freshman Jacob Daniels hit a layup as time expired to lift his team to a 56-55 overtime victory over South Sumter.
Calvary Christian (22-4) at Tampa Catholic (20-7), 7
This is a rematch from a regular season game that the Warriors won 77-67. In that game, Calvary Christian erased a 42-27 halftime deficit by outscoring the Crusaders 48-25 in the second half.Trevor Parks had 33 points, including eight 3-pointers, to lead the Warriors past Tampa Catholic in the regular season. Since that loss, the Crusaders have won 10 straight
Northside Christian (18-9) at Berkeley Prep (19-8), 7
The Buccaneers won the previous meetings, including the 3A-6 district semifinals. But the games were decided by a combined 13 points. The Mustangs bounced by winning a 78-76 overtime thriller over Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in last week’s region quarterfinals. Tobias Gunter had 37 points and 15 rebounds and scored the winning basket as time expired in overtime. Berkeley Prep avenged a district final loss by beating Admiral Farragut in the region quarterfinals. Evan Hellman amd George Kimble each had 16 points in the win.
Canterbury (17-11) at Bradenton Christian (23-5), 7
The Panthers won the previous two meetings, including the 2A-11 championship game two weeks ago. Canterbury rebounded to beat Cambridge Christian 58-55 in last week’s region quarterfinals. Jordan Naylor hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute.