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.
Wharton (28-2) vs. Stuart Martin County (25-4), 6 p.m., tonight
How they got here: Wharton d. Leto 62-39, d. Palmetto 58-36, d. Sumner 50-11. Stuart Martin County d. Fort Lauderdale Dillard 49-38, d. Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer 68-65, d. Pembroke Pines Charter 52-47.
|Points per game||Chandler Davis, 15||Elijah Duval, 18|
|Rebounds per game||N/A||Ryan Davis, 7|
|Assists per game||N/A||Ryan Davis, 2.9|
|Steals per game||N/A||Elijah Duval, 1.8|
|Blocks per game||N/A||Ryan Davis, 0.4|
Everything has unfolded for Wharton this season. Two months ago, longtime Wildcats coach Tommy Tonelli hit major milestone with his 500th career win. The winning never stopped. Wharton has an impressive 28-2 record and has won six straight heading into its semifinal matchup in Lakeland. The Wildcats only two losses were by a combined seven points. Defense is a big reason for Wharton’s success. The Wildcats have held each of their last four opponents to 39 points or less, including a head-turning 11 against Sumner in last week’s region final. Chandler Davis, Trevor Dyson and Carlos Nesbitt have provided the leadership — and production. Nesbitt had a monster game in the region final, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. More importantly, he held Sumner’s 7-footer, Christian Henley, scoreless. Stuart Martin County is ranked second in the class and 15th overall in the state by MaxPreps. The Tigers enter on an eight-game win streak. They know how to pull out close contests, winning their last two games by a combined seven points.