St. Petersburg (21-3) at Wharton (19-6)
NEED TO KNOW: St. Petersburg, the No. 4-ranked team in the FABC 8A state poll, is coming off a 63-38 win against Newsome. Ben Clare led the Green Devils with 15 points while Terrell Burney added 14. Louisiana Tech signee Dayon Griffin finished with 13 points. Wharton advanced with a 55-23 win against Palm Harbor University led by John Christian’s 16 points. Wharton, the defending region champion, defeated St. Petersburg at the Northeast Holiday Tournament, 50-49, in the regular season.
Freedom (17-6) at Strawberry Crest (22-6)
NEED TO KNOW: Both teams won the first region playoff game in program history on Thursday. Freedom advanced with a 58-38 victory against Brandon while Strawberry Crest topped Sickles, 50-41. Senior Daniel Thompson led the Patriots with 16 points. Senior Malik Channer led the Chargers with 12 points. This is only the second meeting between the programs. Strawberry Crest won the only meeting, 68-46 in 2012.
Largo (24-2) at Lennard (23-4)
NEED TO KNOW: Largo, the No.3-ranked team in 6A, defeated Jefferson, 81-66, in the quarterfinals to advance. Donavan Hale scored a game-high 33 points in the win. The Packers reached the 6A region championship last season. Lennard won its first region game on Thursday and in dramatic fashion as senior Robert Gant hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 54-51 win against Mitchell, the No. 10-ranked team in 6A. Senior guard Caelen Watts led the Longhorns with 15 points.
Berkeley Prep (25-3) at Avon Park (19-7)
NEED TO KNOW: Berkeley Prep, the No. 2-ranked team in 4A, defeated Frostproof 75-41, to advance. Craig Bowman led the Buccaneers with 24 points and Justin Gray and Marshall Holmes combined for another 28 points. Gray, who has signed with Texas Tech, leads Berkeley Prep with 17.8 points per game while Craig Bowman adds 15.4 per game. Avon Park beat Tampa Catholic, 74-70, in overtime to advance. Alfred Brown led the Red Devils with 18 points.
Brooks-DeBartolo (20-8) at Tampa Prep (24-3)
NEED TO KNOW: In the teams’ first region appearance, Brooks-DeBartolo defeated Lakeland Christian, 66-55, in the quarterfinals. Junior Michael Obi led the Phoenix with a season-high 35 points 54-34. Tampa Prep, the No. 4 in 2A, is coming off a 68-28 victory against Fort Meade, led by Juwan Durham’s 19 points. Tampa Prep has defeated district foe Brooks-DeBartolo three times this season.
Bayshore Christian (24-3) at Academy at the Lakes (16-10)
NEED TO KNOW: Bayshore Christian, the No. 8 team in 2A, defeated Cambridge Christian 60-46 in the quarterfinals to advance, led by Josh Humphries’ 14 points. Eric Davis added 25 points and eight rebounds. Bayshore has four players averaging better than 10 points per game, including Matthew Eckermann (14.3 ppg), Humphries (12.5 ppg), Greg Johnson (10.9 ppg) and Davis (10.7 ppg). Academy at the Lakes defeated Cambridge Christian 74-46 to advance. Junior Ethan Haslam led Academy at the Lakes with 22 points. For the season, Haslam is averaging 20.5 points per game and Malik Hall adds 17.4 points per game.