Providence, NFEI fall in boys basketball state semifinals

Providence and NFEI dropped their state semifinal boys basketball games on Wednesday. (News4JAX)

Providence’s first trip to Lakeland since 2017 ended with an upset loss to Windermere Prep in the Class 3A boys basketball state semifinals on Wednesday. And North Florida Educational didn’t fare well in its rematch with Weston Sagemont.

It was an 0-for-2 day in Lakeland for area teams.

The Lakers, led by former Stallions assistant Brian Hoff, stunned Providence 55-43 at the RP Funding Center to send the top-seeded Stallions back to Jacksonville. Providence was a wire-to-wire No. 1 in the News4JAX Super 6 this season. The Stallions finished their season 28-3.

Hours later, NFEI’s season ended for the second straight year to Sagemont in a 71-65 loss in the Class 2A state semifinals. That leaves the quest for the first area boys basketball championship since 2017 in the hands of Ponte Vedra and Ribault. Those teams play in the Class 6A and 4A state semifinals, respectively, on Thursday.

Providence cut the deficit to 43-40 on a Jaylen Robinson bucket midway through the final quarter. But Sinan Huan, Mason Williams and Brandon Bass countered and bumped the lead to nine and the Stallions had no luck in catching back up. Providence went cold over that final span, missing nine shots and managing just three free throws to end it.

For NFEI, it tied things at 31-all early in the third quarter on a Kemauny Welch basket, but Sagemont knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and was never tied or trailed again in the game. The Eagles would get that deficit down to a manageable 67-63 on with under a minute to play on a Jeremiah Kwarteng bucket, but the Lions stayed a step ahead. NFEI finished 22-9.

The game was a rematch of a classic 2022 state semifinal, a 76-72 Sagemont win in overtime.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.