Boys basketball: Five Tampa Bay area teams reach state semifinals — Feb. 25

The Tampa Bay area had an impressive showing in the boys basketball region finals with five teams, all in different classifications, advancing to next week’s state semifinals at Lakeland’s RP Funding Center. 

Class 6A


The Wildcats, under first-year coach Shawn Vanzant, continued their postseason success by reaching the state semifinals for the second straight season with a 52-35 win over Punta Gorda Charlotte in the Region 3 final. 

Playing at home, where Wharton was undefeated this season, played a big role in getting off to a solid start. The Wildcats were by ahead by 10 points at the half and kept adding to their lead the rest of the way. 

Chandler Davis had 13 points and seven rebounds and Karmello Branch added 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Wharton. 

Class 5A

St. Petersburg

For the second straight season, the Green Devils got past Naples Barron Collier in a close contest to reach the state semifinals. 

This time, St. Petersburg had to travel to play the Cougars, who were 15-0 at home this season. 

Clinging to a one-point lead, the Green Devils had a chance to seal it but missed four straight free throws down the stretch. That gave Barron Collier enough time to set up a potential game-winning shot that bounced off the rim, allowing St. Petersburg to escape with a 48-47 win in the Region 3 final. 

Both of the Green Devils’ region final wins the past two seasons were by a combined four points. 

Quez Curry and Dylan Kramer each scored 12 points to lead St. Petersburg. 

Class 4A


The Gladiators showed why they were the top seed in Region 3 with a dominating performance against Fort Myers Gateway. 

After the first quarter, Gibbs had already built a double-digit lead and went into halftime ahead 42-25. It only got worse as the Gladiators cruised to an 81-63 win in the Region 3 final to make a return trip to the state semifinals. 

Gibbs has now won 11 straight games. Better still, the Gladiators keep improving. All three postseason victories were decided by double digits. 

Four players – Jacob Daniels (21), Marcus Calvin (21), Mathis Roberts (15) and Bobby Crawford (13) – reached double figures in scoring for Gibbs in the region final. 

Class 3A

Tampa Catholic

For the seventh time in the past eight seasons, the Crusaders reached the state semifinals. 

To keep that impressive run going, Tampa Catholic had to get past Brooks DeBartolo in the Region 3 final. 

The Phoenix advanced with noteworthy performances, beating Berkeley Prep in the quarterfinals and Calvary Christian in overtime in the semifinals. 

On Friday, the Crusaders took control early and were ahead by 22 points at the half. That was more than enough as Tampa Catholic rolled to an 84-48 win. 

The Crusaders are 22-1 in regional play the past eight seasons. 

Karter Knox (29 points, 11 rebounds) and Isaiah Campbell-Finch (14 points, 10 assists) both recorded double-doubles and Eddrin Bronson came close, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds, to lead Tampa Catholic.  

Class 2A

Tampa SLAM

The Spartans, who entered district play for the first time this season, continued their memorable run by advancing to the state semifinals. 

They did it with a dominating performance against Canterbury in the Region 3 final. 

Tampa SLAM led in every quarter of the 65-36 blowout. 

After getting off to a 3-8 start, the Spartans have won 17 of their last 19 games, including 12 straight victories. 

Ramone Seals led Tampa SLAM with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Teammate Willie Piggott added 15 points and Xavier Finney had nine points and four assists and Michael Jones grabbed 11 rebounds and had six points. 

Area state semifinal schedule

All games are at Lakeland’s RP Funding Center. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 the day of the game via the RP Funding Center Box Office. Parking is $10.


Class 3A

Tampa Catholic (19-10) vs. Riviera Prep (25-6), noon

Class 2A

Tampa SLAM (20-10) vs. Orlando Christian Prep (24-3), 2


Class 4A

Gibbs (23-5) vs. Mater Lakes Academy (26-3), 10 a.m.

Class 5A

St. Petersburg (23-6) vs. Daytona Beach Mainland (24-5), 4

Class 6A

Wharton (24-6) vs. Palm Beach Dwyer (27-1), 6