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Austin Rivers, the Duke-bound guard that many rate as the No. 1 college prospect in the country, paced the Winter Park Wildcats (28-5) with 25 points and 11 rebounds en route to their second straight Florida Class 6A state championship Saturday night in Lakeland.
Winter Park, nationally ranked in several polls, defeat Dr. Phillips (25-6) 52-44.
Rivers was held to 8-25 shooting by Dr. Phillips, which forced the 6-foot-5 combo guard into difficult shots in the hope of avenging a 76-57 championship game loss last season.
Dr. Phillips played excellent defense in the first quarter, holding Winter Park to only seven points. In the second, Rivers chipped in nine to lead Winter Park into the half with a 25-24 lead.
The game broke down in the third as both teams combined for just 11 total points ending in a 32-28 Winter Park advantage. In the final quarter. Winter Park made their free throws late outscoring Dr. Phillips 20-16 to seal the win in a rather anticlimactic ending.
Austin Keel, a 6-2 senior guard, was the only player to score in double figures for Winter Park adding 11. However, he struggled, shooting just 3-11 from the field including 1-6 from 3-point land.
Darius Andrews, a 6-7 senior forward, led Dr. Phillips with 12 points. DePaul recruit Shane Larkin ended his high school career with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
Nationally ranked Dwyer of West Palm Beach raced to a 29-13 first quarter lead over the Lake Wales and coasted to a 72-57 victory Saturday to clinch the Class 5A title in Lakeland.
Led by Florida quarterback commit Jacoby Brissett, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, Dwyer dominated the battle of the boards 51-36.
Brissett led Dwyer with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while senior Gregory Lewis posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior and MaxPreps top-100 player Victor Adams chipped in four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points.
With only one loss on the season to Class 6A favorite Winter Park, Dwyer finishes with a 31-1 record and the top overall ranking in the state of Florida.
Senior guard Kevin Capers led Lake Wales with 17 points. Oshey Washington, a 6-6 senior forward, managed 12 points and eight boards in the loss.
For Dwyer's seniors, the championship marked a happy ending after two consecutive final four losses. It was the school's first state championship since back-to-back titles in 2004-2005.
The Leesburg Yellow Jackets (28-4) held off the Cinderella story Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs of Fort Lauderdale (19-8) in the Florida Class 4A championship game on Saturday behind sharp-shooting Joe Toolie, a 6-foot-3 junior guard.
Toolie was 5-7 from behind the 3-point line and finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists for Leesburg, which won 66-58 in the final played at Lakeland.
Freshman D'Mauri Jones also built on his impressive semifinal performance with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He finished with a team-high 35 points in the final four for Leesburg, a town about an hour northwest of Orlando.
Teron Wallace, a 6-2 senior guard, scored 14 points and finished his high school career with 31 points in the final four for Leesburg.
Trailing throughout, Gibbons made a run in the last frame to cut a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to 50-44, but never seriously threatened from there.
Leesburg dominated Gibbons at the free throw line 17-7 - a major departure from the semifinal where Cardinal Gibbons hit 12 fourth quarter free throws to ice a 55-53 win over Palatka.
Brandon Bradley, a 6-2 junior forward, led Cardinal Gibbons with 23 points and five boards. Ben Mayell, a 5-8 senior guard, returned from suspension to add 18 points and three assists in defeat.
This is Leesburg's first boys basketball state championship since 1977 under a first-year coach, Marcel Thomas.
6A Final: Winter Park vs. Dr. Phillips (Orlando) - 7:05 p.m. ET @ Lakeland
To end the 2009-2010 boys basketball season, Winter Park defeated Dr. Phillips (Orlando) 76-57 in the Class 6A championship game. Saturday night, the Panthers will have an opportunity to avenge that loss against their fellow Orlando-area rival.
Led by Shane Larkin, a DePaul recruit and top-10 player in Florida, Dr. Phillips has a different look than last year’s team. Transfer Darius Andrews, who posted the stat line of the day on Friday with 21 points on 10-11 shooting, 16 rebounds and five blocks, provides an inside presence missing from their 2009-2010 runner up squad.
However, Winter Park, once again led by Duke recruit and all-everything guard Austin Rivers, heads into the title game with a second Austin (Austin Keel), who played at another school with the name Winter (Springs) last season. And while it may be a bit confusing, Keel’s importance to the team was made clear in the semifinals. With 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting and nine rebounds, Keel was Winter Park's key to victory.
Dr. Phillips may be best known for being directly across the street from Universal Orlando. Expect a roller coaster matchup Saturday as this year’s outcome should be much closer than last season’s result.
But look for Winter Park to repeat behind one of the best backcourt tandems in the country, blocking Dr. Phillips from unifying the 6A championship. Its girls team took the title just last week.
5A Final: Dwyer (West Palm Beach) vs. Lake Wales - 3:35 p.m. ET @ Lakeland
In the 5A final, national powerhouse Dwyer of West Palm Beach will take on Lake Wales. Being only 30 miles outside of Lakeland, home of the state championship tournament, Lake Wales will have somewhat of a home court advantage. And even though the Highlanders' 17-point victory in the semifinals was their closest margin of victory in a month, Dwyer’s dominance has been even more impressive.
With a top 15 ranking in the country, Dwyer has lost only once - to defending 6A champion and finals participant Winter Park. Led by University of Florida quarterback recruit Jacoby Brissett, the Panthers have spent the season posting gaudy points totals en route to a third consecutive final four appearance. Their strong senior class is determined not to return home empty handed.
Going up against a nationally ranked foe in the state final would be intimidating for many a team. However, Lake Wales matched up with Dwyer quite well in a summer league game, and it would be a mistake to underestimate the underdog. Even so, Dwyer boasts an extremely talented senior class with a wealth of state playoff experience. Expect a close game for three quarters with Dwyer pulling away late.
4A Final: Leesburg vs. Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale) - Noon ET @ Lakeland
The 4A championship lacks teams with big names or national credibility but should be an excellent matchup. Cardinal Gibbons is making its first championship game appearance. In the semifinal, the Cobras took the saying “games are won at the foul line” to heart as they went 12-15 from the foul stripe in the fourth quarter to secure the a two-point victory.
Brandon Bradley chipped in 20 points including eight on fourth quarter free throws. In the title game, Cardinal Gibbons senior guard and leading scorer Ben Mayell returns from a two-game suspension and will add another dimension to the Cobras' offense.
First-year coach Marcel Thomas leads Leesburg into the title game hoping for the school’s first boys basketball state championship since 1977.
In the semifinal, freshman D’Mauri Jones put himself on the Florida basketball map with an 18-point, none-rebound performance. Overall, Leesburg, a town about an hour northwest of Orlando, has won 18 of 20 games overall and looks to put an exclamation point on its season with a state championship.
While Cardinal Gibbons has the least impressive record of any finalist in the state tournament, winning a final eight and final four game without your leading scorer is a confidence boost. Additionally, Cardinal Gibbons has reeled off eight consecutive victories en route to the title game after dropping five straight in January.
Leesburg has the ability to put up points totals in a way that Cardinal Gibbons has not seen in recent weeks. Cardinal Gibbons may be the Cinderella story of the tournament, but expect Leesburg to shatter the glass slipper and take home the title in a close game.
Apparently, it's never easy for the No. 1-ranked Rickards Raiders (23-7) of Tallahassee.
After surviving an overtime game against Pine Crest by six points in the Florida Class 3A semifinals, Rickards ground out another six-point OT win in the championship game Thursday night against Jones of Orlando (25-6), winning 60-54 and clinching the school's second state title in as many years.
Rickards trailed by eight in the fourth quarter, but D'Marnier Cunningham scored eight points in a 10-2 run in the final four minutes to tie the game at 48-all.
Rickards then scored the first six points in overtime - making it a 16-2 run over the two periods - for a 54-48 lead it never relinquished. Rickards' first four points of the overtime were scored by reserve Desmond Gibson, his only points of the game.
Angelo Warner, a 6-2 senior guard for Jones, sliced the lead in half on the next possession with his third 3-pointer. But Warner's trey -- Jones was only 3-of-18 on 3-pointers for the game -- was the last field goal his team would manage, as the Tigers added only three free throws in the second half of overtime.
Rickards was paced by Cunningham, a 5-9 senior guard who scored 19 points (including 10-11 from the stripe), and Chris Bryant, a 6-7 senior center, who scored 16 points. Jakari Bush added 10 points.
Warner did most of the heavy lifting for Jones, scoring 29 points, although he was charged with nine turnvoers. Matt Williams, a 6-5 junior forward, and Demarcus Croaker, a 6-3 sophomore guard, chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Those three scored 52 of Jones' 54 points. Rickards' bench outscored Jones' 23-2.
Rickards is the first Big Bend school to win consecutive stae titles in basketball since Port St. Joe in 1998-99. Big Bend is an area of Florida gulf coast around Apalachee Bay. The last Tallahassee school to repeat had been FAMU High in 1994-95.
What a difference a half makes.
After only scoring just 15 points in the first half of Thursday afternoon's Florida Class 2A state title game, the Sagemont Lions (28-2) of Weston lit up the scoreboard for 38 in the second and cruised to a 53-41 win over the First Academy Royals of Orlando (25-6) in Lakeland.
It was Sagemont's first state title and avenged a loss to First Academy in the 2010 semifinals.
After scoring only four points in the second quarter and trailing 23-15 at half, Sagemont, a south Florida school near the Everglades, rode 6-foot-7 big man Jeff Coby, who dominated inside for 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Now it was First Academy's turn to struggle as Sagemont outscored the Royals 25-6 in the quarter.
Sagemont out-rebounded First Academy 42-20 and got 17 offensive boards and held First Academy to 2-for-16 from the 3-point line.
Dillon Graham, a 6-3 junior guard, led First Academy with 18 points and four rebounds. Taylor Akers, a 6-0 junior guard, added 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.
The 7 p.m. ET nightcap will feature Orlando Jones (25-5) vs. Rickards (22-7), which will decide the 3A state champion. Jones smashed Tampa Catholic 83-48 in the semifinals, while reigning state champion Rickards bested Pine Crest 73-67 in overtime.
Live audio of the 2A state championship game between First Academy (Orlando) and Sagemont (Weston) is available through Panhandle Sports Broadcasting. Tip off is at 3:35 p.m. ET from Lakeland.
Summit Christian stifled Class 1A's highest scoring team and won its first state championship in basketball Thursday, beating Grandview Prep 62-50 in a final between Palm Beach County teams.
Farad Cobb led Summit Christian (28-4) with 20 points, the same total he had in the semifinals, when Summit Christian came from six points down in the fourth quarter to beat three-time defending champion Orlando Christian Prep 42-41.
The final, played in Lakeland, wasn't as close. Summit Christian took a 34-23 lead at halftime and maintained a healthy edge the rest of the way.
Grandview's 6-foot-9 center Ismali Dauda scored 26 points and had eight rebounds, but he got little help on the perimeter as Grandview's other players made only 10 of 37 shots, including 1-for-16 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Summit Christian was a force inside as 6-4 Jean Prophete had 15 points and six rebounds while 6-8 Brandon Williams has 11 and six. They made 12 of their 16 field goal attempts.
Grandview entered the game averaging 70.1 points but was held to as few as 50 for the first time this season.
It's been a big year for Palm Beach County basketball. Aside from these county rivals making the state finals, nationally ranked Dwyer is in the semifinals of the Class 5A playoffs Friday and is the team to beat there.
Summit Christian has made the state playoffs four of the past five seasons, but finally won it.
"I'm tired of knocking on the door, I want to kick it down," Prophete told the South Florida Suntinel newspaper before the game. "This is my senior year and I want to leave my legacy as a state champion."
The Class 2A and 3A finals were to be played later Thursday. Florida's 4A, 5A and 6A finals are Saturday.
Rumor has it 5A powerhouse, and nationally ranked Dwyer High School will be arriving in Lakeland a day early in support of a fellow Palm Beach County boys basketball team playing for a 1A state title. The question is, which team? For the first time since 1999, two Palm Beach County teams will meet with a state championship on the line. But for Grandview Prep and Summit Christian, the similarities end there.
Grandview Prep opened up Wednesday's action with a 78-65 win over FAMU (Tallahassee). The top scoring 1A program in the state did not disappoint as four, double-digit scorers, led by center Ismaili Dauda's 19 point, 15 rebound effort pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back. To say the Pride cruised to victory might be a bit strong, but it certainly was a title worthy performance.
Summit Christian, however, found the the going a bit more challenging versus the three-time defending state champion and nationally ranked Orlando Christian Prep. Farad Cobb led the scoring with 20 points, but it was bruiser Jean Prophete who set the tone down low forcing the guard laden Orlando Christian into a low scoring affair which played to Summit's strength. With a 42-41 upset, Summit's victory set up the All-Palm Beach final.
In the championship game, each team's leading scorer from the semifinals could have difficulty finding a rhythm. Grandview Prep will look to use their size advantage in the backcourt to neutralize the smaller Cobb and the other Summit guards forcing the ball inside where the 6-foot-9 Dauda will be waiting to add to his six block total from the semifinal.
On the other end of the court, Summit will look to keep a big body on Dauda at all times. Whether it be Prophete or the 6-foot-8 Brandon Williams, Grandview Prep's leading scorer will have to earn his points in the paint as he will find little room to maneuver. However, this may wind up playing into the hands of Grandview as their backcourt combined for 51 points in the semifinal.
During the state playoffs, Summit's point totals have been 78, 69, 59 and 42 respectively. As the level of competition has improved, Summit has found more and more difficult to put points on the board.
Meanwhile, Grandview Prep has not been held below 67 points since the third week of January. in the final, look for point totals to meet somewhere in the middle. However, while Summit Christian found success muscling Orlando Christian, Grandview's inside-out game should prove too much for Summit. Look for the Pride to take the title back to Boca Raton.
The FHSAA does a fantastic job of live blogging its state championship tournaments being played in Lakeland. Track completed games and follow the action live from now through the Class 6A championship on Saturday night.
Boston College recruit Eddie Odio has helped his Columbus Explorers HS team advance to the school's first ever Florida State Final Four, after capturing the Region 4-6A title with a 65-50 win over Hialeah-Miami Lakes.
Nationally ranked Winter Park and Dwyer are among the top teams to watch this week in Florida, which will stage its finals Thursday and Saturday at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland.
Winter Park (26-5) is the defending Class 6A champion, and each of its five losses are to out-of-state teams. The team is led by Duke-signee Austin Rivers, a 6-3 senior that Scout.com ranks as the No. 1 shooting guard prospect in the nation. Another guard, Brett Comer, is headed to Florida Atlantic.
Dwyer (30-1) of Palm Beach Gardens also has multiple national rankings and should be the favored team in 4A. Jacoby Brissett - a 6-4 guard who has signed with Florida as a football player -- had a monster game of 17 points, nine rebounds, nine steals and seven assists in the Class A regional final against Palm Bay last week, a 91-55 victory. Dwyer's only loss was to Winter Park.
Orlando Christian Prep and Rickards of Tallahassee also are defending champions.
Games begin Wednesday with semifinal matchups in divisions 1A, 2A and 3A, followed by championships throughout the day Thursday. Friday, the large school divisions take center stage with class 4A, 5A and 6A semifinals scheduled. Games conclude on Saturday with three more state championship games.
Florida at a Glance:
Wednesday, March 2
10 a.m. - FAMU (Tallahassee) vs. Grandview Prep (Boca Raton)
11:30 a.m. - Orlando Christian Prep vs. Summit Christian (West Palm Beach)
2:30 p.m. - Port St. Joe vs. Sagemont (Weston)
4 p.m. - First Academy (Orlando) vs. Tampa Prep
7 p.m. - Rickards (Tallahassee) vs. Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale)
8:30 p.m. - Jones (Orlando) vs. Tampa Catholic
Thursday, March 3
12:05 p.m. - 1A Championship
3:35 p.m. - 2A Championship
7:05 p.m. - 3A Championship
Friday, March 4
10 a.m. - Palatka vs. Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale)
11:30 a.m. - Fort Walton Beach vs. Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens)
2:30 p.m. - Leesburg vs. Blake (Tampa)
4 p.m. - Dr. Phillips (Orlando) vs. Miramar
7 p.m. - Winter Park vs. Columbus (Miami)
8:30 p.m. - Lake Wales vs. Gibbs (St. Petersburg)
Saturday, March 5
12:05 p.m. - Class 4A Championship
3:35 p.m. - Class 5A Championship
7:05 p.m. - Class 6A Championship
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