Girls basketball: Class 5A state semifinals breakdown — Feb. 23

Girls Basketball State semifinals

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

Class 5A

Clearwater (18-10) vs. Plantation American Heritage (22-7), 2 Today

How they got here: Clearwater d. Naples 81-25, d. St. Petersburg 80-26, d. Port Charlotte 70-59; Plantation American Heritage d. North Miami 78-20, d. Melbourne Eau Gallie 67-26, d. Miami Norland 58-40.

Stat Leaders

CategoryClearwaterAmerican Heritage
Points per gameAce Sturdivant 16.5Jasleen Green 21.2
Rebounds per gameN/ATeriyah McFadden 10.0
Assists per gameN/AGabriela Dumas 5.4
Steals per gameN/AMariah McKenzie 2.5
Blocks per gameN/ADezuray McGill 2.0


Despite some setbacks, including Liv Fuller’s season-ending ACL tear in December, Clearwater came together to accomplish some impressive things down the stretch. The Tornadoes won their fourth straight Pinellas County Athletic Conference title and are playing in the state semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons.

They enter today’s semifinal game on a six-game winning streak, all of which were decided by double digits. Four of those victories were by 54 or more points with a running clock in the second half.

Though Clearwater has not been thoroughly tested in about a month, it did put together a tough regular season schedule that included games against Sarasota Booker, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney and Winter Park, all of which made the state semifinals in different classifications.

Those challenging matchups will help today.

The Patriots, ranked No. 1 in the class by MaxPreps, are the defending five-time champions. This is a veteran team led by three senior starters (Gaby Dumas, Mariah McKenzie and Sydni Studesville) who have never known what it is like to lose in the state final four.