HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL

Area boys regional finals begin Saturday


Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:53 p.m.

Saturday's regional finals

All games 7 p.m. tipoff

Class 6A, Region 2

Who: Gainesville (20-9) at Orlando Edgewater (25-4)

Rankings: Gainesville is No. 14 by MaxPreps, unranked by FABC-SourceHoops; Edgewater is No. 2 (MP) and No. 1 (SH)

How they got here: Gainesville def. Leesburg 74-66 in Tuesday's regional semifinals, def. Inverness Citrus 82-72 in the regional quarterfinals; Edgewater def. Palm Bay Heritage 69-66 in regional semifinals, def. Palm Bay Bayside 76-49 in the quarterfinals.

What's next: Winner will play the Region 4 champion (either Miami Norland or Fort Myers) in Thursday's Class 6A state semifinals at either noon or 1:30 p.m.

Free throw: This is the deepest playoff run for the visiting Hurricanes since winning it all in 2009 (5A). Gainesville has won 10 of its last 12 games, losing a pair to state power Leesburg (including by 32 points in the district final). But the ‘Canes pulled a stunner at the Yellow Jackets' gym on Tuesday and are one win from the state tournament. Junior Isaiah Jackson — who averages 14.6 ppg., 7.5 rpg., 5.6 apg. — had 38 points and 10 rebounds against Leesburg, hitting on 27 of 30 free-throw attempts. Junior Kevin Bolen (12.0 pp., 6.3 rpg.), and sophomores Eric Turner (12.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) and Ike Smith (10.1 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) are also key ‘Cane contributors. The host Eagles, whose three of four losses were by two points or less, lost by one point (54-53) to Leesburg in last year's regional final. Eddie Keith had a team-high 25 points as Edgewater rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth to pull out Tuesday's three-point win.

Class 4A, Region 2

Who: Williston (23-7) at Orlando Lake Highland Prep (21-5)

Rankings: Williston is ranked No. 17 by MaxPreps, unranked by FABC-SourceHoops; Lake Highland Prep is No. 1 (MP) and No. 1 (SH)

How they got here: Williston def. Fort White 72-68 in Tuesday's regional semifinals, def. Bushnell South Sumter 72-54 in the regional quarterfinals; Lake Highland Prep def. Satellite 68-33 in the regional semifinals, def. Cocoa 77-57 in the regional quarterfinals.

What's next: The winner will play the Region 4 champion (either Miami Ransom Everglades or Fort Lauderdale University School) in Tuesday's Class 4A state semifinals at either 7 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.

Free throws: The visiting Red Devils are in their fifth straight regional final, and this is a rematch of last year's matchup, which the Highlanders won in Levy County, 75-62. Williston has won 10 straight while Lake Highland is riding a 13-game winning streak. The Highlanders, led by North Carolina commit Joel Berry (junior, 26.1 ppg.), made their deepest playoff run ever last year, falling in the state final to Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest (63-57). Berry is the only Highlander player in double figures. Williston, meanwhile, has three in double figures, led by senior forward Tre Wilson (15.7 ppg., 8.1 rpg., 6.5 apg.). Junior Earl Brown (14.7 ppg.) has led the Red Devils in scoring the last three games and had a game-high 24 against Fort White on Tuesday. Senior guard Damien Strange averages 13.6 ppg. The last time Williston reached the state tournament (2010) it lost in the state final to Brandon Knight-led Pine Crest.

Class 1A, Region 3

Who: Jasper Hamilton County (15-10) at Hawthorne (27-1)

Rankings: Hawthorne is ranked No. 3 by MaxPreps, No. 1 by FABC-SourceHoops; Hamilton County is No. 8 (MP) and not ranked (SH).

How they got here: Hawthorne def. Melody Christian 73-55 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Hamilton County def. Hilliard 74-69

What's next: Winner will play the Region 1 champion (either Bonifay Holmes County or Malone) in Tuesday's Class 1A state semifinals at 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

Free throw: The host Hornets are looking for their second straight trip to Lakeland and first state title since 1987. Hawthorne has won 13 straight since its only loss of the season, to 7A East Ridge in the championship game of the Hitchcock Challenge. Hawthorne, state runners-up a year ago, have one of the top sophomore players in the state in 6-foot-6 Ed Porter, who had 29 points and 15 rebounds in Tuesday's regional semifinal win. Since the district tournament, the Hornets are winning by an average of 23 points per game. Seniors Leamon Wilson (9.9 ppg., 7.3 rpg.) and Nick Chisholm (8.7 ppg.) are also outstanding defensive players. The visiting Trojans, who haven't reached the state tournament since 2002, have three players in double figures — juniors Antefernee Smith (12.4 ppg.) and Jeremiah Lee (12.3 ppg.), and sophomore Kevin McCain (11.1).

Class 1A, Region 4

Who: Union County (16-12) at Baldwin (17-9)

Rankings: Union County is ranked No. 15 by MaxPreps, unranked by FABC-SourceHoops; Baldwin is No. 6 (MP) and unranked (SH).

How they got here: Union County def. The Villages 86-68 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Baldwin def. Wildwood 71-54.

What's next: Winner will play the Region 3 champion (either Quincy West Gadsden or Cottondale) in Tuesday's Class 1A state semifinals at 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.

Free throw: The visiting Tigers lost at Baldwin (66-62) in the District 7 final two weeks ago, but the stakes are much higher this time, a spot in the state tournament. For Union County, a win would send the Tigers to Lakeland for the second straight season. They are once again led by standout guard Shaimea Maeweather, who had a team-high 24 points, hitting on five of the team's 10 3-pointers, in Tuesday's regional road win. Keldric Bradley added 17 points and team-high seven rebounds. The host Indians, who haven't reached the state tournament since 1963, are led by senior Marcus Gamble (16.4 ppg.)

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