State tourney berths on line for area girls teams

David Gordon and the Gainesville High girls basketball team take on Edgewater in Orlando tonight with berth to the state tournament on the line.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 12:36 a.m.

Three area high school girls basketball teams will be playing in regional finals Saturday night, with a berth to the state tournament on the line. Here's a look at the three match-ups. All the games begin at 7 p.m.


Who: Buchholz (25-4) at Viera (25-5)

Rankings: Buchholz is No. 2 by MaxPreps, No. 7 by FABC-SourceHoops; Viera is No. 7 (MP) and No. 5 (SH)

How they got here: Buchholz def. Fleming Island 63-59 in Tuesday's regional semifinals, def. Jacksonville Ed White 79-35 in the regional quarterfinals; Viera def. Orlando Evans 69-59 in the regional semifinals, def. Winter Park Lake Howell 64-32 in the regional quarterfinals.

What's next: Winner will face the Region 3 champion (Sebastian River-Tampa Freedom winner) in the 7A state semifinals at The Lakeland Center on Feb. 22 at either 2:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.

Free throw: This is a rematch of the Dec. 15 game in Viera, which Buchholz won by one (62-61), and last year's regional final in Gainesville, also won by the Bobcats (67-59). The host Hawks have won five straight since falling to Melbourne Central Catholic (46-38), including a 55-53 win at No. 1 Sebastian River. Viera is led by juniors Dee Anderson (19.6 ppg.) and Ro Hayes (17.2 ppg.). The Hawks, in their fourth straight playoff, have never advanced to the state tournament. Buchholz, on the other hand, is looking to earn its third straight trip to Lakeland. Considering the Bobcats lost four starters from last year's team, many didn't expect them to get this far. But the emergence of junior guards Jazlynd Rollins (16.0 ppg., 5.0 rpg.) and Davina Mounds (10.0 ppg.), and 5-foot-11 freshman center Keana Thompson, along with senior standout and Miami-signee Jessica Thomas (lone returning starter, 30.0 ppg., 5.0 apg.) has put the Bobcats back at the doorstep of the state tourney. Buchholz, which has lost back-to-back state semifinals games, is looking to reach the school's first state final.


Who: Gainesville (26-1) at Orlando Edgewater (23-6)

Rankings: Gainesville is No. 2 by MaxPreps, No. 4 by FABC-SourceHoops; Edgewater is No. 6 (MP) and No. 5 (SH)

How they got here: Gainesville def. Leesburg 71-56 in Tuesday's regional semifinals, def. Inverness Citrus 53-39 in the regional quarterfinals; Edgewater def. Palm Bay Heritage 77-43 in the regional semifinals, def. Melbourne 64-16 in the regional quarterfinals.

What's next: Winner will face the Region 4 champion (Miami Norland-Naples Barron Collier winner) in the 6A state semifinals at The Lakeland Center on Feb. 21 at noon or 1:30 p.m.

Free throw: This is a rematch of last year's regional final, also at Edgewater. The Eagles, behind 6-foot-2 player of the year and Baylor-bound Alexis Prince, scored 31 points and had eight blocks as they routed the Hurricanes, 94-61, en route to their second state title since 2007. Edgewater, led this season by juniors Nyala Shuler (15.2 ppg., 8.7 rpg.), Haley Clark (13.5 ppg.) and senior Trimaine McCullough (14.6 ppg.), has won six straight by an average of 40 points per game. GHS, looking for its first state berth since 1987, has won 12 straight and looks more potent with the return of forward De'ja McPhee (Jacksonville) back in the lineup. The senior had missed four games with an ankle injury. Sophomore Janiah McKay had a game-high 24 points and senior point guard Kayla Lovett (Alabama A&M) had 22 in a 15-point win over the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, the ‘Canes' fourth win over Leesburg this season.


Who: Newberry (21-6) at The Villages (17-5)

Rankings: Newberry is No. 8 by MaxPreps, No. 2 by FABC-SourceHoops; The Villages is No. 13 (MP) and unranked (SH)

What's next: The winner will face the Region 2 champion (Ponce de Leon-South Walton winner) in the 1A state semifinals at The Lakeland Center next Tuesday at 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

How they got here: Newberry def. Crescent City 51-23 in last Tuesday's regional semifinals; The Villages def. Union County 48-36.

Free throw: The visiting Panthers, state finalists a year ago for the first time in school history, can make their second straight trip to Lakeland with a road victory. They have won six straight and the last two (district final and regional semifinal) by an average of 32.5 points. Newberry is led by sophomore Dymeria Clayton (13.2 ppg.) and senior Tayla McGee (12.0 ppg.). The host Buffalo, who won their first playoff game ever earlier this week, are led by senior Asia Marion (20.4 ppg., 7.1 rpg.).

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