State semifinals berths are on the line for six girls high school basketball teams on Friday night.
It’s a particularly interesting night in St. Johns County, with Bartram Trail (Class 8A), Nease (Class 7A) and Menendez (Class 6A) all in action.
The Panthers (27-1) have been the area’s top team all season long, although the third round of the state playoffs has been particularly unkind to Nease since winning their lone state championship in 1999.
The Panthers last went beyond the third round that season when they beat Leesburg. Since then, they are 0-4 in third-round games, including losses there the last three seasons. Ironically, the team that Nease beat for its lone state championship in 1999, Pensacola Washington, visits Nease on Friday night. Camille Hobby (18.1 ppg, 10.5 rebounds per game) Kiya Turner (12.1 ppg) and Tia Robinson (10.1 ppg) lead the Panthers.
Bartram Trail (23-6) hosts Tallahassee Lincoln in Region 1-8A, a rematch of last year’s regional final, won by the Trojans. Bella Weary is the area’s top scorer remaining in the state playoffs (20.4 ppg), followed by Dana Art (11.1 ppg).
Menendez’s program-best season continues when Weeki Wachee (25-4) visits in Region 1-6A. The Falcons (17-10) had never won a state playoff game prior to this season. Aniyah Foster (11.6 ppg) and Anteria Evans (10.0 ppg) lead the Falcons.
Among Duval County teams, Bishop Kenny (27-2) is aiming for its first victory in the third round in 26 years when it hosts Tallahassee Rickards. Jasmyne Roberts (18 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Maddie Millar (15.5 pp) lead the Crusaders, who reached the third round last season.
In Region 1-9A, Sandalwood (19-6) has been beyond this round just once, winning a third-round game in 1995. The Saints stunned defending state champion Spruce Creek 54-51 in overtime on Tuesday. Caitlin McGee (19.5 ppg, 13.6 rebounds per game) had 30 points in that win.
In Region 1-5A, Raines (26-4), which is led by Teyana Carswell (13.6 ppg) and Ahliah Brown (12.9 ppg), hosts Florida State University School. The Vikings have never been past the third round.
All games at 7 p.m.
Sandalwood at Wekiva
Tallahassee Lincoln at Bartram Trail
Pensacola Washington at Nease
Tallahassee Rickards at Bishop Kenny
Weeki Wachee at Menendez
Florida State University School at Raines