Girls basketball: Tonight’s area region finals breakdown — Feb. 17

Here are the capsules for tonight’s area region finals matchups in girls basketball. The winners move on to next week’s state semifinals at Lakeland’s RP Funding Center.

Class 7A

Region 3

Plant (25-4) at Winter Haven (22-4), 7

After starting the season 2-2, the Panthers have won 23 of their last games. 

And Plant keeps getting better. 

The Panthers, ranked fifth in the class by MaxPreps, have won seven straight games, all by 23 or more points. 

Tonight, though, Plant faces its biggest challenge in the past two months. 

The Blue Devils are ranked third in the class and own the top seed in the region. They have been just as impressive down the stretch, winning eight straight games, seven by 24 or more points.  

Class 6A

Region 1

Land O’ Lakes (20-4) at Orange Park Oakleaf (25-2), 7

The Gators, the No. 7 seed in the region, have pulled off a pair of upsets, beating No. 2 Ponte Vedra Nease in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Gainesville in the semifinals. 

That extended Land O’ Lakes’ win streak to 13 games, tops among area teams. 

To keep that playoff success going, the Gators have to get past a formidable opponent. 

The Knights are ranked No. 4 in the class by MaxPreps and are undefeated at home (13-0). 

Region 3

Bloomingdale (26-2) at Punta Gorda Charlotte (20-6), 7

The Bulls, ranked No. 5 in the class by MaxPreps, are one win away from reaching the state semifinals for the second straight season. 

It will be challenging. 

The Tarpons, the top seed in the region, are ranked No. 3 in the class and have won eight straight games. 

Class 5A

Region 2

River Ridge (21-8) at Kissimmee Gateway (23-6), 7

The Royal Knights kept their undefeated record at home intact (10-0) by beating Spoto in the quarterfinals and Orlando Jones in the semifinals. 

Desi Collins scored a team-high 37 points in the win against Jones. 

Now comes the hard part. 

River Ridge, which is 6-5 on the road this season, travels to Kissimmee to take on Gateway. 

The Panthers are ranked No. 6 in the class by MaxPreps and have won five straight games. 

Still, it is not an impossible task for the Royal Knights to beat the top seed in the region and advance to the state semifinals. 

Region 3

Port Charlotte (18-11) at Clearwater (17-10), 7

After dealing with key injuries while playing a brutally tough regular season schedule, the Tornadoes are tested. 

Those challenging contests helped Clearwater earn the top seed in the region. 

Now the Tornadoes are poised to make their second state semifinal appearance in the past three seasons. 

The Pirates advanced by rallying from an eight point deficit in the fourth quarter to force a tie at the end of regulation, then beat Parrish Community 47-46 in overtime. 

Class 4A

Region 3

Academy of the Holy Names (24-6) at Sarasota Booker (21-7), 7

This is a rematch from a game the Tornadoes won 52-42 in December. 

To change the outcome this time, the Jaguars cannot afford another slow start. 

In the last matchup, Academy of the Holy Names fell behind by 10 points at the end of the first quarter and spent the rest of the game trying to catch up. 

That loss was part of a midseason slump in which the Jaguars lost three straight games. Since then, Academy of the Holy Names has won 16 of 18 games, including 11 straight.  

Class 3A

Region 2

West Palm Beach King’s Academy (22-4) at Seffner Christian (25-4), 7

The Crusaders, winners of 15 straight games, put their streak on the line in their toughest game so far in the postseason. 

The defending state semifinalist Lions also have plenty of momentum. They enter on a 12-game win streak. 

Seffner Christian is having its best season since 2017 when the program made its last final four appearance. A tough schedule has helped prepare the Crusaders for a possible return trip. 

Region 3

Tampa Prep (22-4) at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney (19-5), 7

The Terrapins are having one of their best seasons in school history.

Earlier this week in the semifinals, Tampa Prep got past Brooks DeBartolo for the third time to advance. 

The host Cougars are trying to get back to the final four after losing in last year’s title game. 

This also is a great matchup between two prolific scorers – the Terrapins’ Arianna Mosley (22.1 points per game) and Cardinal Moony’s Olivia Davis (16.6 per game). 

Class 2A

Region 3

Keswick Christian (22-7) at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (23-4), 7

In the semifinals, the Crusaders got past nemesis Naples St. John Neumann, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

That puts Keswick Christian in position to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2020. 

It will not be easy.

The Sentinels have won 11 straight games. All but one of those victories during that stretch were decided by double digits.