JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Only four boys basketball teams remain standing.
Ponte Vedra, Jackson and North Florida Educational Institute won their third-round games on Friday night and join Bradford in next week’s state semifinals in Lakeland.
The Sharks got 24 points from Luke Pirris and 12 from JT Kelly to beat Fleming Island in the Region 1-6A finals. Ponte Vedra (26-3) will face Winter Haven (24-7) on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the RP Funding Center. The Sharks have never been to a state semifinal before.
Jackson continued its march, winning its 22nd consecutive game with a 63-49 win over Bay in Region 1-4A. The Tigers advanced to Lakeland for the fourth consecutive season under coach James Collins. The Tigers (28-2) will face Gibbs (21-8) on Thursday at 10 a.m. Jackson has a five state titles, tied with now-defunct Arlington Country Day for most in area history. Its last crown came in 1993 when Collins led them to it as a player.
And North Florida Educational ended St. Joseph’s best season with a 51-28 win in Region 1-2A. NFEI (24-7) will face Sagemont (24-6) on Wednesday at noon.
Bradford, which won its region last week, had already punched its ticket to Lakeland. The Tornadoes will face Hawthorne on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Riverside’s season came to an end in the third round for the second consecutive season in a 62-59 loss to Pensacola Pine Forest in Region 1-5A. The Generals finished 24-5.
And Providence’s string of one-point wins ended with a 45-41 loss to Florida High in Region 1-3A. The Stallions (25-5) were undone by a 15-4 Seminoles run in the third quarter.
(1) Ponte Vedra 60, (3) Fleming Island 49
(3) Pensacola Pine Forest 62, (1) Riverside 59
(1) Jackson 63, (3) Bay 49
(2) Florida High 45, (1) Providence 41
(1) North Florida Educational 51, (3) St. Joseph 28
at RP Funding Center, Lakeland
North Florida Educational (24-7) vs. Sagemont (24-6), noon
Bradford (14-10) vs. Hawthorne (11-4), 6 p.m.
Ponte Vedra (26-3) vs. Winter Haven (23-7), 8 p.m.
Jackson (28-2) vs. Gibbs (21-8), 10 a.m.