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By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Dillard was in an all to familiar position to extend a game into a second overtime. Unfortunately, no miracle would be bestowed to the Panthers as it was in their semifinal victory that advanced them to the Class 6A state championship against Bartow. Down by three and with…

March 9, 2020

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Fort 35 years John O’Connell has coached the boys’ basketball team at St. Andrew’s. In the time since his arrival he had led the Scots to three state finals over the previous three decades. Finally, he and 2019-20 St. Andrew’ team can call themselves State Champions. Senior forward…

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Certainly this wasn’t what the Forest Hill boys’ basketball team envisioned. A season of hope and promise to win the school’s first state championship came to a crashing end following an 80-59 loss to Seminole in a Class 7A state semifinal at the RP Funding Center on Friday….

March 6, 2020

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – The Miramar High boys basketball program fits into one of the categories of close, closer and finally. The Patriots had made two previous trips to the state semifinals only to fall short. The third attempt was the finally as they advanced to the Class 7A state championship with…

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Of all the big games the Dillard boys’ basketball has played over the years, Thursday’s Class 6A state semifinal against Columbia should ranked right near the top. Ivan Reynolds made a 14-foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer sending the game into a second overtime. Kirt Bromley dropped five…

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – The Stranahan boys basketball team didn’t need 62 years to play for another state championship. Just 365 days. The Dragons in their bid to win back-to-back titles, defeated Paxon 59-54 in a Class 4A state semifinal at RP Funding Center on Thursday. Stranahan (23-9) will play Tampa Catholic,…

March 5, 2020

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Schoolhouse Prep let its chance at playing for a boys Class 2A state basketball championship slip away. Up by 12 points early in the fourth quarter the Wolfpack saw their lead evaporate only to lose 56-54 in overtime to Impact Christian in a semifinal game at the RP…

March 4, 2020

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – Miami Country Day came into the girls Class 3A state semifinal young and lacking championship experience. In the end, it perhaps was the reason why they had a 13-point lead slip away to lose 76-70 in overtime to Master’s Academy in a Class 3A state semifinal at the…

February 27, 2020

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – This Blanche Ely victory was one was for the ages. With 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied, Malachi Hazelton stood at the free throw line. Calm and confident, the junior forward sank both attempts. That great comeback in the Tigers state Final Four history was…

March 9, 2019

By Dave Brousseau Staff Writer LAKELAND – The Stranahan boys basketball team hadn’t been this close to a state title since Dwight Eisenhower was president, Buddy Holly was still alive, and the idea of a moon landing was fiction. But as the seconds ticked away, 62 years of frustration came to a celebratory conclusion. Stranahan…

March 8, 2019