By Dave Brousseau
South Florida, primarily Broward and Palm Beach County boys high school basketball teams, will be significantly represented when the FHSAA State Championships begin play next week at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
Stranahan, the lone state champion returning from last year, survived a close game against Gulliver Prep with a 58-54 victory in their Class 4A regional final in Miami.
Houston Culpepper came off the bench to lead the Dragons with 10 points after the Dragons (22-9) were down by three at the half.
Dave Herard added nine points, before leaving the game with a right knee injury. His status for Thursday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against Paxon School (25-5) is uncertain.
“Senior leadership was big thing for us tonight,” said Stranahan coach Terrence Williams. “It feels good to get back to states, because we are still pinching ourselves from last year.”
DILLARD 71, MATER ACADEMY 58: Dillard, which lost in the 2019 state Class 6A final, returns after a 71-58 victory over Mater Academy.
Jalen Haynes led the Panthers with 28 points, making 13 of 17 attempts from the field.
Dillard (23-7) will play Columbia (28-2) in a semifinal game on Thursday at 6 p.m. Coach Darryl Burrows will be seeking his eighth state title at the school.
Asonaba Bromley added 11 points and Darryl Burrows Jr. 10 points for the Panthers.
Forest Hill and Miramar have advanced to the Class 7A semifinals.
Forest Hills (28-2) defeated Park Vista 71-61 and reached state. semis for the first time since 2003.
Miramar got past the regional finals for the third time. The Patriots (21-6) reach the state semifinals in 2011 and 2018.
Pembroke Pines Charter will make its first state semifinal following a 72-55 victory in a 5A regional final. The Jaguars (25-2) will play Naples (23-6) on Thursday at 6 p.m.
St. Andrew’s and Chaminade-Madonna each won regional final games and will meet in a Class 3A state semifinal on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
REGIONAL FINAL RESULTS
Class 7A: Forest Hill 71, Park Vista 61; Miramar 37, Western 35.
Class 6A: Dillard 71, Mater Academy 58.
Class 5A: Pembroke Pines Charter 72, Okeechobee 55.
Class 4A: Stranahan 58, Gulliver Prep 54.
Class 3A: St. Andrew’s 83, Santa Fe Catholic 62; Chaminade-Madonna 65, Riviera Prep 57.
Class 2A: Schoolhouse Prep 64, Grandview Prep 59.
STATE SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE
(At RP Funding Center, Lakeland)
Class 7A: Friday: Miramar (21-6) vs. Oak Ridge (21-8), 12:30; Forest Hill (28-2) vs. Seminole (26-4), 2:30.
Class 6A: Thursday: Dillard (23-7) vs. Columbia (28-2), 6; Bartow (28-1) vs. East Lake (26-3), 8.
Class 5A: Thursday: Rickards (19-7) vs. Sebring (21-6), 2; Pembroke Pines Charter (25-2) vs. Naples (23-6), 4.
Class 4A: Thursday: Paxon School (25-5) vs. Stranahan (22-9), 10 a.m.; Lake Highland Prep (24-6) vs. Tampa Catholic (25-5), noon.
Class 3A: Wednesday: Andrew Jackson (24-3) vs. Community School of Naples (29-1), 6; St. Andrew’s (24-5) vs. Chaminade-Madonna (22-8), 8.
Class 2A: Wednesday: Schoolhouse Prep (20-8) vs. Impact Christian (18.8), 10 a.m.; Orlando Christian Prep (27-2) vs. Bayshore Christian (19-8), noon.
Class 1A: Wednesday: Vernon (19-7) vs. Hilliard (22-3), 2; Paxton (22-5) vs. Hawthorne (23-3), 4.