Boys Basketball State Semifinals
All games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. Admission is $13 on the day of the event. Parking is $10.
Tampa SLAM (20-10) vs. Orlando Christian Prep (24-3), 2 today
How they got here: Tampa SLAM d. Foundation Christian 80-44, d. Lakeside Christian 75-24, d. Canterbury 65-36. Orlando Christian Prep d. Zephyrhills Christian 93-22, d. Mount Dora Christian 63-33, d. Lakeland Victory Christian 62-41.
|Category||Tampa SLAM||Orlando Christian Prep|
|Points per game||Ramone Seals, 19.1||Isaiah Brown, 18.6|
|Rebounds per game||Michael Jones, 9.0||Marc Angueki, 7.7|
|Assists per game||Ramone Seals, 4.6||Ameer Ramadan, 4.4|
|Steals per game||Jonathan Olodude, 1.9||Sean Combs, 1.4|
|Blocks per game||Michael Jones, 1.9||Marc Angueki, 0.6|
Tampa SLAM went through an arduous task of competing in the playoffs. Six years ago, the school applied to become a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association.
There were hurdles, including an audit of the school, that delayed the process. When Tampa SLAM finally was able to submit its application, it had to wait three years before joining the FHSAA.
During that time, the Spartans built their program. They won consecutive Sunshine State Athletic Conference state titles the past two seasons.
Now, in its first year as an FHSAA member, Tampa SLAM has completed its successful debut with a trip to the state semifinals.
Getting to Lakeland’s RP Funding Center seemed remote, at least early in the season.
The Spartans started the season 3-8. The struggles came against quality competition. Tampa SLAM played five teams in the area and state that went on to win district titles this season. There also were three games at a Christmas tournament against Georgia teams that are currently ranked in the state’s Elite 8.
Those tough matchups paid off. The Spartans have won 17 of their past 19 games, including 12 straight entering the state semifinals.
Tampa SLAM is led by Ramone Seals, who is ranked as the state’s No. 8 prospect in the 2024 class by ESPN> Seals, whose father Ray played eight seasons in NFL, has already set school records for most points and assists in a season. Ramone also has performed well against quality competition, scoring 33 points against Miami Norland and 28 against Tampa Catholic.
For the Spartans to keep their streak, they will have to get past a formidable opponent.
Orlando Christian Prep, the defending three-time state champion, is ranked No. 1 in the class and No. 7 overall in the state by MaxPreps.
“We started playing better as a team after the new year, and we have continued to get better every day,” Tampa SLAM coach Brian Reeves said. “You never know the way the ball will bounce, and we are thankful to be in the final four.”