In a strong first week for the boys basketball teams and an even stronger second week for the girls teams, all of West Orange County’s representatives in the state playoffs won their first-round games to advance to the regional semifinals of their respective brackets.
This is a recap of the first week of playoffs.
The Central Florida Christian Eagles girls basketball team defeated Calvary Christian Academy 62-33 in the regional semifinals to keep its magical season going. Unfortunately, that run came to a screeching halt against Faith Christian in the regional final as the Eagles lost 67-35.
The Lady Eagles had a season for the ages with a 22-4 record and won their first district championship since 2003.
DR. PHILLIPS PANTHERS
The train keeps on going for the Dr. Phillips Lady Panthers, as they defeated Gulf Coast 59-40 to advance to the state semifinals. Sophomore point guard Trinity Turner led the team with 15 points, with teammate Kalea Rainey finishing with 14.
The Lady Panthers now get set to play in the state semifinals against Vero Beach Friday, Feb. 25, in Lakeland. Tipoff is at 12:30 p.m.
CENTRAL FLORIDA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
After a tense battle in the district championship against Faith Christian, CFCA didn’t need to sweat this game, as the Eagles made sure the game was practically over at halftime against International Community High School.
The Eagles were up 44-19 at halftime and continued dominating down the stretch to punch their ticket to the regional semifinals. By the time the dust cleared, the final score was 72-31.
Cameron Simpson and Jamar Houston both scored more than 20 points to help pace the Eagles’ effort. Simpson led with 22 points, while Houston had an even 20.
CFCA then rolled through the regional semifinal against Mount Dora Christian, defeating the Bulldogs 80-61. Houston and Simpson scored 18 points each with Clarens Pierre shoring up the defensive end. He scored 10 points, collected 12 rebounds and blocked eight shots.
The Eagles now get set to face Orlando Christian Prep in the regional final on Feb. 25.
DR. PHILLIPS PANTHERS
Dr. Phillips didn’t have much time to dwell on its stunning loss to Olympia in the district championship, as the team traveled to Newsome for the first-round game of the Class 7A tournament.
Luckily for the Panthers, it seemed that loss had been put in the rearview mirror as they started strong and never looked back as they defeated the Wolves 70-41.
Senior center Ernest Udeh Jr. was named Player of the Game after a strong performance. Udeh scored 26 points and collected eight rebounds.
Jordan Tillery almost had a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Denzel Aberdeen scored 10, while Riley Kugel added nine points to go along with seven assists.
Dr. Phillips later got its revenge on Olympia in the rematch of the district championship, which also marked the third straight year the two teams have faced each other in the playoffs. The Panthers defeated the Titans 81-49, led by Kugel's 36 points.
Dr. Phillips will host Windermere in the regional final on Feb. 25.
Olympia hosted its first home playoff game in years after winning its first district championship in school history against Dr. Phillips. With the No. 1 seed in the bracket, the Titans’ first test would be against Plant City.
The Titans passed that test, coming away with a close 70-65 victory.
Edgerrin “Jizzle” James Jr. scored a team-high 31 points to carry the Titans to victory.
The win gave head coach Rob Gordon his 300th career victory as a head coach.
Olympia's run came to an end in an 81-49 loss to Dr. Phillips in the regional semifinals.
After a close first quarter during which the Wolverines built a four-point lead at 19-15, Windermere stepped up the defensive pressure to break the Alonso Ravens, never allowing more than 10 points for the rest of the game. The Wolverines punched their ticket to the second round with a 64-32 victory.
Sean Stewart led the way with a double-double: 22 points and 12 rebounds to go with five blocks.
This is the fourth consecutive year Windermere has made the regional semifinal.
The Wolverines defeated Riverview Sarasota 61-49 to advance to the regional final, where they will take on Dr. Phillips Feb. 25.
WINDERMERE PREP LAKERS
Windermere Prep continued its winning streak with a first-round win over P.K. Yonge 73-57.
Jayden Williams led the Lakers in scoring with 22 points. Eduardo Placer, Zaciah Clark and Drew Kousaie also scored in double-digits.
The Lakers' season ended in Tallahassee as the team lost to Florida State University High School 75-44.