Girls basketball Regional semifinals preview


Eastside head coach Lance Radford talks to his team in the huddle against Palatka during the District 6-5A championship on Feb. 1. The Rams fell to the Panthers 35-30 but rebounded with a 42-37 win over St. Johns Creekside in the regional quarterfinals.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.

All games begin Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Class 7A, Region 1

Who: Buchholz (24-4) at Orange Park Fleming Island (25-5)

How they got here: Buchholz def. Jacksonville Ed White 79-35 in Thursday's regional quarterfinal; Fleming Island def. Ocala Forest 57-42.

What's next: Buchholz would host Orlando Evans or travel to Viera in Saturday's regional finals; Fleming Island would travel to Evans or Viera.

Free throw: The visiting Bobcats are following a similar path as a year ago, except they are on the road in this round. Buchholz is in its seventh straight regional semifinal and looks to advance to its sixth straight regional final, all under coach Rebecca Williams. Senior point guard Jessica Thomas, a Miami signee, continues her hot shooting and had 34 points in last week's rout of Ed White. The Golden Eagles are making their second straight regional semifinal appearance, losing last year at Buchholz, 73-53. It is their third overall playoff appearance ever.

Class 6A, Region 2

Who: Leesburg (20-7) at Gainesville (25-1)

How they got here: Gainesville def. Inverness Citrus 53-39; Leesburg def. Ocala West Port 53-33.

What's next: Gainesville would travel to Orlando Edgewater or Palm Bay Heritage in Saturday's regional finals; Leesburg would also travel to Edgewater or Heritage.

Free throw: This is the fourth meeting this season between the Hurricanes, ranked No. 2 by MaxPreps, and Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 8 by FABC-SourceHoops.com. The last time they met, in the District 5 tournament final, Gainesville won in overtime, 57-51. De'ja McPhee, the Hurricanes leading scorer who had missed four games with an ankle injury, played briefly against Citrus. GHS is looking for its second straight regional final berth. Leesburg, which reached the final four three times between 2007-2011, opened the season 3-4.

Class 5A, Region 2

Who: Eastside (13-11) at St. Johns Bartram Trail (20-7)

How they got here: Eastside def. St. Johns Creekside 42-37 in the regional quarterfinals; Bartram Trail def. Palatka 61-57.

What's next: Eastside would travel to New Port Richey Gulf or Dade City Pasco in Saturday's regional finals; Bartram Trail would host Pasco or travel to Gulf.

Free throw: It has been seven years since the Rams have advanced to the regional finals and eight since they reached the final four for the first time in school history. Eastside beat the team that upset Bartram Trail in the District 5 final (Creekside). Meanwhile, the Bears, who lost to Fort Lauderdale Dillard in last year's 5A state final, beat the team that topped the Rams in their District 6 final (Palatka). Eastside is led by senior guard Tiara Lundy, who averages 18 points per game. Sophomore Brooke Barlow had 19 as the Bears upset Palatka for the third straight season.

Class 4A, Region 2

Who: Bradford (17-9) at Ocala Trinity Catholic (25-2)

How they got here: Bradford def. Mount Dora 38-30; Trinity Catholic def. Fort White 61-25.

What's next: Bradford would host Port Orange Atlantic or Orlando Lake Highland Prep in Saturday's regional final; Trinity Catholic would host Lake Highland Prep or travel to Atlantic.

Free throw: The visiting Tornadoes haven't advanced to the regional finals since they won it all in 1995, and this is their first regional semifinal since 2007. Bradford's two leading scorers are freshmen in guard Tracey Kemp (15.6 ppg.) and Nyasia Davis (14.6 ppg.). The Celtics, ranked No. 9 by FABC-SourceHoops.com, are led by sophomore Shambria Washington (17.6 ppg.). Trinity Catholic lost to Orlando Jones in the regional finals last year, its deepest playoff run in school history.

Class 3A, Region 1

Who: P.K. Yonge (21-6) at Daytona Beach Father Lopez (25-5)

How they got here: P.K. Yonge def. Oviedo Master's Academy 61-22; Father Lopez def. Oak Hall 65-22

What's next: P.K. Yonge would host Tallahassee Maclay or Jacksonville University Christian in Saturday's regional finals; Father Lopez would host University Christian or travel to Maclay.

Free throw: A matchup of two of the 3A ranked teams. The visiting Blue Wave, who have won two state titles in three years including last year's 3A crown, rallied from 18 points down to beat Father Lopez 57-50 last year. It was the closest game the Blue Wave had in the postseason. P.K. Yonge center Brooskie McGraw, a Alabama-signee, will face a challenge in Shannon Cranshaw (George Washington), one of three Division I signees for the Green Wave. Sophomore guard Kiara Mallory had 13 points to lead nine Blue Wave scorers in last week's win over Master's Academy.

Class 1A, Region 3

Who: Hawthorne (16-9) at Hamilton County (15-5)

What's next: Hawthorne would travel to Hilliard or Branford in Saturday's regional finals; Hamilton County would host Branford or travel to Hilliard.

Free throw: The Hornets are in their first playoff berth since 2011 and are looking for their first postseason win since 2007. Hawthorne is led by senior Mariah Carter, who averages 16.7 points and 12.8 rebounds a game. Hamilton County, ranked No. 4 in FABC-SourceHoops.com, is in its second straight playoff, falling a year ago in the regional finals to Hilliard.

Who: Branford (16-8) at Hilliard (21-4)

What's next: Branford would host Hawthorne or travel to Hamilton County in Saturday's regional finals; Hilliard would host Hamilton County or Hawthorne.

Free throw: The visiting Buccaneers, who lost by one point (38-37) to Hamilton County in the District 5 final, are in their first playoff since 2002 and haven't won a postseason game since 2000. Sophomore Blair Bullock leads Branford with 15.1 points per game. Hilliard, ranked No. 1 by FABC-SourceHoops.com, lost to Newberry in last year's state semifinals (49-45).

Class 1A, Region 4

Who: Crescent City (8-9) at Newberry (20-6)

What's next: Newberry would host Union County or travel to The Villages in Saturday's regional finals; Crescent City would travel to The Villages or Union County.

Free throw: The Panthers, state finalists a year ago for the first time in school history, are three wins from returning to the finals. Newberry is led in scoring by sophomore Dymeria Clayton (14.2 ppg.) and senior Tayla McGee (12.5 ppg.). The Raiders, who are making their second straight playoff appearance, are 0-4 in the postseason.

Who: Union County (7-13) at The Villages (16-5)

What's next: Union County would host Crescent City or travel to Newberry in Saturday's regional finals; The Villages would host Newberry or Crescent City.

Free throw: The visiting Tigers are making their first playoff appearance since 2009 while the host Buffalo are making their first playoff showing ever. The Villages has won six straight.

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