JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four area high school boys basketball teams are still going strong in the state playoffs. A glance at the four games on Friday night for local schools. All games are 7 p.m.
Choctawhatchee (24-2) at Lee (19-9): The Generals’ season warrants special mention. Star wing Alex Fudge graduated early and played just nine games this season for Lee. The Generals were 6-3 with Fudge, now at LSU, in the lineup. Without him, they had to adjust but were able to pilot through that very well. G Tarence Guinyard has been the natural player to step up, but the contributions have been more widespread than just him. F Jarrion Smith has emerged as a more significant scorer. G Antonio Harrison has scored in double figures in three of the past four games. The winner will face Leesburg or Rockledge in the state semifinals in Lakeland.
Marianna (23-3) at West Nassau (19-11): The Warriors get to close out G Deebo Coleman’s storied career in Callahan with one more regional playoff game. West Nassau has never been this deep in the state playoffs. Coleman has scored 2,472 career points, a total that ranks third in area history. Former Nease star Chet Stachitas’ 2,505 ranks No. 2, which leaves Coleman 33 points away from that mark. He hasn’t done things alone in the playoffs. F/C Keenan Johnson had 11 points in the nail-biting, 53-51 win over Paxon. And F Jye Thompson had has third straight game of double figures in scoring against the Golden Eagles. Whose streak ends? Marianna enters having won 15 consecutive games, and the Warriors are on a 13-game unbeaten streak. The winner will face Santa Fe or Lake Highland Prep in the state semifinals.
Jackson (18-6) at Trinity Prep (9-8): The Tigers have played for state championships the past two seasons and haven’t been fazed at all about going on the road all three playoff games this year. The area’s deepest team under coach James Collins has no player in double figures in scoring and can alternate stars on a nightly basis. C Stephon Payne did most of the damage in the second round against Bishop Snyder. F Davin Daniels and G Jackie Simmons III led the team in the opener at Florida High. And G/F Bryce Turner is probably Jackson’s best all-around player. Those ever-shifting dynamics make the Tigers so challenging to defend. Opponents haven’t been able to slow Jackson in the regional round thus far. The Tigers have lost to just one team in their classification this season, Snyder in the district final. The winner will face Bishop McLaughlin Catholic or Canterbury in the state semifinals.
St. John Paul II (10-11) at Impact Christian (18-8): The Lions got a test from University Christian in the second round but tightened up and nailed down a 52-46 win. Regional victories have been a common sight at Impact. Since the Lions’ first playoff trip in program history in 2018 (the school’s first year as a varsity team was 2017) it has been almost perfect. Impact is 10-1 in regional games, the lone defeat a one-point loss in the regional finals in 2019. The Lions have played for championships twice in their brief history. F Calvin Johnson and C Ivan Lawson are veterans and looking to close out their Impact careers with one more trip to Lakeland. The winner will face Cambridge Christian or Southwest Florida Christian in the state semifinals.