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Jackson reaches final, makes it a perfect day for area hoops teams

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Jackson is heading back to the boys basketball state championship game, giving the area a day that was as simple as 1, 2, 3.

One team in the Class 1A championship game.

One team in the Class 2A championship game.

And Jackson became the third, taking care of Community School of Naples in the Class 3A state semifinals on Wednesday night, thundering into the state championship game with a 65-53 win at the RP Funding Center.

That made it a semifinal sweep for area teams on Wednesday, with Hilliard (1A) and Impact Christian (2A) both advancing to championship games. Paxon (4A) and Columbia (6A) play their semifinal games on Thursday.

Jackson (25-3) ended the Seahawks’ 29-game winning streak and punched its ticket to back-to-back championship games. On tap is a Saturday at 10 a.m. showdown against Boca Raton Saint Andrew’s (25-5).

Jackson, which is tied for the area high with now-defunct Arlington Country Day with five state championships, last won a title in 1993 under longtime coach Jackie Simmons. The Tigers lost to Fort Lauderdale University School in last year’s title game (72-46).

This one, on paper, should favor the Tigers, the No. 1 seed in the final four.

Kevin Odom and Davin Daniels had 10 points apiece for the Tigers, followed by Jackie Simmons III with Frankie Dennard with nine points. Jackson’s depth was dominant, with the Tigers’ bench outscoring Community School’s bench 28-0.

Jackson grabbed the lead in the second quarter and stayed in front the rest of the way. The Seahawks got within 57-51 with 1:36 to play, but three buckets in a row by Odom helped closed them out.

State championship schedule

1A: Hilliard vs. Hawthorne, 7 p.m. Friday

2A: Impact Christian vs. Orlando Christian Prep, 4:30 p.m., Friday

3A: Jackson vs. Saint Andrew’s, 10 a.m., Saturday


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