Palatka vs. Santa Fe
In Tuesday’s matchup for the 2-6A semifinals, Palatka came up victorious against Santa Fe in the waning seconds of the game. Closing out with a buzzer beater, the Panthers overcame a 14 point second half deficit to seal a 58-56 win.
Saints junior point guard Trey McCray led the team with 27 points, helping the team maintain control until the last 26 seconds. With the game now tied at 56, Palatka senior Tyrius Thomas took the ball down the court with the Panthers in control. After a missed shot at the rim, Mitchell McKinnon made a last effort shot to keep the team’s season alive.
The Panthers have been to the playoffs five consecutive years, but haven’t reached beyond the second round since 2013. The team will host either Brooksville Nature Coast or Brooksville Central in the regional finals on Friday.
Panthers over Raiders 58-56!!!
— Palatka High School (@PalatkaHS) February 22, 2017
Gainesville vs. Ocala Vanguard
For Tuesday’s FHSAA Region 1-7A semifinals, Gainesville came up short in the district rival game against Ocala Vanguard. Senior Shooter Devontae Bynes played a crucial role for the Knights with a game-high 21 points, consisting of five 3-pointers. Going into the half, Vanguard was up 26-24, cutting their 8 point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Gainesville started out the second half with four consecutive shots by Isaiah Wilson and Kaijon Scott to take a short-lived lead of 28-26. Late in the third, both teams go back and forth to tie up the score at 41. Wilson led the Hurricanes with a team high 19 points to close out the game 76-62.
Tuesday’s game was the fourth meeting between the two teams this season with Vanguard sealing three out of the four wins of those matchups. Last season, the Hurricanes earned the district title and later beat Gainesville 85-83 in the regional semifinals. The Knights move on to host Fort Walton Beach Choctawatchee in Friday’s regional finals.
Jacksonville Raines vs. Bradford County
In Tuesday’s 5A semifinals, Jacksonville Raines handed the Bradford Tornadoes a 56 to 49 loss. Bradford closes out the season 13-14 overall and 4-0 in the district. The Raines host Marianna Friday for the regional finals.