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Posted On: 03/2/18 4:31 PM
19 regional finals will be played on Friday night with the 20th game between Doral and Northeast going down on Saturday.
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Below, I break down the top regional final matchups for Friday evening in 5A-9A.
Osceola at Oak Ridge
There were discussions that this regional final would be moved to Thursday or Saturday, but it stays here on Friday night. In the same round last season, Osceola snuck past Oak Ridge 63-60 on the way to winning states. The rematch features senior LSU commit Emmitt Williams alongside his cast which includes senior Texas A&M commit Antwann Jones, athletic junior Niven Glover and others. Osceola has a trio of juniors that are super talented in Omar Payne, Josh Marte and Isaiah Palermo. This game will be the best in all of the 9A playoffs.
Creekside at Lincoln
This is a matchup between two successful programs. Creekside has seniors J’Michael Plummer, Noah Lippy and Deniro Dumas doing plenty. Lincoln has seniors Trinton Bryant, Tionne Rollins and Winston Bogan to put up points in bunches. Lincoln at home will be awfully hard to upend, but Creekside plays ferocious defense.
Mainland at Hillsborough
It has been a while for both Mainland and Hillsborough. Hillsborough hasn’t reached the state tournament since 1996 while Mainland hasn’t appeared in a regional final since 1999. Juniors Warren Mclymont and Christian DeLeon and senior Myles Cowart have been really good this season for the Terriers. Mainland has relied on junior Da’Von Robinson and senior Marcus Garcia.
Ribault at Rickards
Ribault has only nine wins to its name this season, but the Jacksonville squad keeps winning playoff games. The Trojans beat Orange Park and Bishop Kenny by a combined six points to get to this point. Rickards has been in cruise control taking down Bay 61-25 in the quarterfinal and Godby 67-56 in the semifinal. The Raiders are led by senior Vincent McCray and junior Alic Troutman. Ribault is a tough-minded group with seniors Dagoberto Norales and Devon Matthews, so this should be fun.
Oxbridge at Tampa Catholic
We head into the third consecutive regional final meeting between Oxbridge and Tampa Catholic. The past two seasons, the Crusaders won with Kevin Knox on their side. This time around, Tampa Catholic must deal with the same Oxbridge cast. Senior Tim Carter, sophomores Kobe Knox and Alijah Harrison are consistent for Tampa Catholic. Oxbridge has junior Dante Wilcox, senior Ronique Spencer and junior AJ Cajuste leading the charge.