R.M.F. Road to Lakeland: State Semifinals Preview and Predictions

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By: Jesse Nadelman (Staff Writer) and Jean Dubuisson (Co-founder)

If you’re still practicing now, you’re in the heavy minority.

That’s because there are only 18 teams in the entire state of Florida still practicing, and just nine in South Florida.

The Road to Lakeland has made its final stop: The Lakeland Center.

The FHSAA state championships in Lakeland are this week. Champions will be crowned, while others will come just so close to achieving that priceless goal of a state championship. Either way, if you’ve made it this far, there is a lot to proud of.

If this past week’s regional finals in South Florida are any indication of what the state semifinals and championship games will be like, then we’re in for some fun basketball.

Nine South Florida teams punched their tickets to Lakeland, with teams from 2A through 4A doing so earlier than those from 5A-9A.

In bigger school action regional finals, we saw Calvary Christian take care of Gulliver, Dillard go on the road and beat Miami Norland in a battle of heavyweights, Palm Beach Lakes finish off McArthur, South Miami just edge upset hungry North Miami in overtime, and Wellington getting revenge to dethrone the defending state champion Coral Springs.

The region finals were almost as fun as the season has been here in South Florida. A season that is unfortunately down to its last week.

Miami Christian, Champagnat Catholic, Archbishop Carroll, Westminster Academy, Calvary Christian, Dillard, Palm Beach Lakes, Wellington, and South Miami will represent South Florida in Lakeland this week.

Throughout the playoffs, R.M.F. Magazine has been there the entire journey to the state championships.

As a reminder, we have all regional brackets including a South Florida team here, which are armed with scores and game dates and times, and now feature the state final four bracket for each class that a South Florida team is still standing in.

And of course, we have our preview and predictions for each round of regionals.

Let’s enjoy this last week of the season. After all, playoff basketball is the best basketball.

Here is R.M.F.’s Jesse Nadelman (Staff Writer) and Jean Dubuisson II (Co-founder)’s preview and predictions for the state semifinals.

Thank you for following along all season, and continue to check back for our coverage from Lakeland.

Enjoy.

Prediction Records:

Jesse Nadelman (42-13 overall; 5-2 last round)

Jean Dubuisson II (40-15 overall; 4-3 last round)

*All games played in The Lakeland Center

CLASS 2A 

Game 13- UnknownTemple Christian (Jacksonville) vs. l6x-mA_N.jpg-largeMiami Christian

Tuesday, February 28th at 2:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman (Staff Writer):

Miami Christian wins by 18

Miami Christian – which hasn’t lost in Florida this season – has breezed through the regional playoffs with big wins over Atlantic Christian and Grandview Prep. That won’t change in the state semis, in which a talented Victors squad should use their overwhelming pressure defense to cruise to the 2A state championship game on Thursday night.

Jean Dubuisson II (Co-founder):

Miami Christian wins by 20+ 

CLASS 3A 

Game 13- Trinity-ChristianTrinity Christian (Deltona) vs. Champagnat-Catholic-School-Hialeah-Campus-LtiA3NChampagnat Catholic

Tuesday, February 28th at 6:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

Champagnat Catholic wins by 3

This should be a good game. Champagnat was almost not in it, after rallying from 10 down to beat Village Academy in the regional finals. If we’ve learned one thing about the Lions all year, it’s that they’re relentless and don’t quit. Coach Daniel Serrano’s club will fight to the last whistle, and that’s why I like Champagnat to win and advance to the state finals.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Champagnat Catholic wins by 10 

CLASS 4A

Game 13- providence-schoolProvidence (Jacksonville) vs. archbishop-carroll-bulldogsArchbishop Carroll

Wednesday, March 1st at 10:00 A.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

Providence wins by 6

Providence – where current Duke player Grayson Allen played – is a tough team. The Stallions only lost to Montverde Academy by eight earlier in the year and enter 24-5. I know great coach Juan Hernandez will have Archbishop Carroll ready – and look for the Bulldogs to hang around – but in the end, Providence should be able to pull away and advance to the state championship game. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Providence wins by 2

Game 14- 1571Seffner Christian vs. Unknown-1Westminster Academy

Wednesday, March 1st at 12:00 P.M. 

Jesse Nadelman:

Westminster Academy wins by 12

Westminster Academy is on a mission to avenge last year’s loss in the state title game. Expect the Lions to come out-of-the-gate strong in this one with their goal set on taking care of business. Seffner Christian was able to oust First Academy (Orlando), a team that was a favorite in 4A, but look for Westminster’s guard play with Zach Scott, Dudley Blackwell, and Chase Johnston, and Player of the Year candidate Paul Atkinson to be the difference as the Lions head to the state final. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Westminster Academy wins by 10 

CLASS 5A

Game 29- committed_bulldog_imageMarianna vs. photo1825Calvary Christian

Wednesday, March 1st at 2:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

Calvary Christian wins by 20

Marianna coach Matt Anderson is a tremendous coach – winner of multiple state titles – but beating Calvary Christian may be too tall of a task for his young team. Marianna’s tallest player is 6-foot-3. That won’t bode well going against Calvary’s frontcourt consisting of 6-8 Soloman Uyaelunmo, 7-foot Victor Uyaelunmo, and 6-10 Elochukwu Eze. Expect the Eagles to pound it inside and win big.

Jean Dubuisson II:

 Calvary Christian wins by 15

CLASS 7A

Game 29- VANGUARD_LOGO_for_bagVanguard (Ocala) vs. logoDillard

Thursday, March 2nd at 3:00 P.M.  

Jesse Nadelman:

Dillard wins by 22

Dillard will potentially have its toughest of the playoffs in the state championship if it faces Louisville commit Anfernee Simmons and Edgewater. The Panthers – the only defending state champions still standing – should not have much trouble in the state semifinals, however, as expect Dillard to handle Vanguard easily in the semis.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Dillard wins by 15

CLASS 8A 

Game 29- 8l7xHr0uLincoln vs. images-1Palm Beach Lakes

Friday, March 3rd at 12:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

Palm Beach Lakes wins by 10

The Rams – a senior laden group – have been on a mission all season. After knocking off defending state champs Blanche Ely and topping a tough McArthur team, Lakes finds itself in Lakeland. Lincoln is a solid team, but I expect Lavorris Givens to have a big day and the Rams offense to get going early to get Palm Beach Lakes to the state title game.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Palm Beach Lakes wins by 5 

CLASS 9A

Game 29- Unknown-2Wekiva (Apopka) vs. huii_fTXSouth Miami

Friday, March 3rd at 4:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

South Miami wins by 14

South Miami just squeaked by North Miami in overtime of the regional finals, but expect that to get the Cobras more aware for this state semifinal game. Oklahoma State signees Zack Dawson and Latravian Glover want to get the coveted state ring their senior season, and the semifinals is the first step. South Miami wins comfortably.

Jean Dubuisson II:

South Miami wins by 2

Game 30- HbwcepaOOsceola (Kissimmee) vs. wellington logoWellington

Friday, March 3rd at 6:00 P.M.

Jesse Nadelman:

Wellington wins by 2

This will be a dogfight and could go to overtime. Certainly the best semifinal. Osceola has a plethora of young talent and just topped a talented Oak Ridge team, while Wellington has one of the best players in the state – Illinois signee Trent Frazier – and just beat defending champ Coral Springs handily. Wellington coach Matt Colin is extremely underrated – he’s only not been in regionals twice in his nine years since arriving to Wellington – and will have his team ready with a week to prepare. I like Colin’s club, led by Frazier having a big day, to get to the state championship for the second time in three years.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Wellington wins by 3

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jesse Nadelman

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Jesse Nadelman is a 17-year old reporter for R.M.F. Magazine who currently is a senior at North Broward Prep. Growing up in South Florida, Jesse has grown an intense passion for sports media. He covers all of South Florida’s top high school basketball teams and events for R.M.F. In addition to contributing to R.M.F, Jesse also writes for FloridaHSFootball.com, covering South Florida High School Football, and contributes to a variety of other outlets.

You could follow Jesse on twitter: @Jessenadelman

Jean Dubuisson II

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Jean is the co-founder of R.M.F. Magazine and the head coach for ASA Miami College.

You could follow Jean on twitter: @DoobieRMF

You could follow R.M.F. Magazine on twitter: @RMFMagazine

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