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Posted On: 03/1/18 2:17 PM
The FHSAA state tournament begins on Monday at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
Six games will be played on March 5 including the semifinals in Class 1A and 2A.
The finals are held on Tuesday with 1A going first at 2 p.m. ET and 2A following at 4:30 p.m.
Here is a look at the semifinal matchups on Monday and the predictions for both 1A and 2A.
Semifinal – Impact Christian vs. North Florida Educational (2 p.m.)
—In its first year of FHSAA eligibility, Impact Christian has cruised to the Final Four. The Lions (15-13) beat Aucilla Christian 71-28 in the semifinal and Crossroad 61-38 in the final. Senior forward Mike Cole and sophomore guard Calvin Johnson have been steady for Impact Christian.
—North Florida Educational is back in the state tournament for the second straight year and for the third time in the last six seasons. Seniors Pavle Mihajloski and Vamir Baker have helped the Eagles (19-7) get to this point. North Florida Educational beat St. John Lutheran 78-35 in the semifinal before sneaking past Keystone Prep 57-52 in the final.
Game prediction: Impact Christian wins
Semifinal – Miami Christian vs. Central Florida Christian (4 p.m.)
—Miami Christian is looking for its second straight title and third in the last four seasons. The reigning 2A champions needed a buzzer beating 3 from senior guard Neftali Alvarez to beat Florida Prep last year. The Victors (23-8) played a grueling schedule and are fresh off two convincing regional wins over Atlantic Christian, 90-35 and Schoolhouse Prep, 76-41. Miami Christian pushes the tempo and shoots as well as any team in the state.
—Central Florida Christian (28-3) will be looking to upend the Victors. The Eagles already flew past Florida Prep, 65-53 in the region final just a week after beating Vero Beach Master’s Academy 85-32. Led by junior forward Jordan Preaster and senior guard Dante Tracey, Central Florida Christian is in the state tournament for the first time in 21 years. It will be a fun matchup that should be close to the end.
Game prediction: Miami Christian wins
State champion prediction: Miami Christian wins
Semifinal – Blountstown vs. Chipley (10 a.m.)
—Blountstown beat Laurel Hill 47-36 in the semifinals and Bethlehem 61-57 in the final to move forward. The Tigers (22-3) will now battle the Chipley Tigers in the opening game of the state tournament. Senior Gulf Coast State commit KK Godwin and other 2018 starters Jamal Howard and Denzel Washington have been vital leaders for Blountstown.
—Chipley (19-10) have used a trio of seniors to get the job done this season with PJ Spencer, Dominic Bouton and Brian Williams. Junior guard Kelvin Dean is the leading scorer with his playmaking ability. The Tigers beat Port St. Joe as a district runner-up 58-47 in the semifinal before taking down Franklin County 57-50 to punch their ticket to states.
Note: Chipley and Blountstown split the season series with each team winning at home.
Game prediction: Blountstown wins
Semifinal – Madison vs. Wildwood
—Madison (25-4) got revenge from regional losses over the past two seasons to Hawthorne with a 70-40 regional final win. Juniors Travis Jay and Vincenta Mitchell and senior Ken Hawkins have meant everything and more to the Cowboys success.
—Wildwood beat Bell 59-45 on Thursday night to advance to the state semifinal on Monday against Madison. Wildwood (20-7) beat Dixie County 64-45 in the regional semifinal round. It won’t be easy for the Wildcats to beat Madison that is for sure. Wildwood was the state runner-up last season.
Game prediction: Madison wins
State champion prediction: Madison wins