Gainesville High School's Anthony Leivonen shoots during Tuesday's game against Leon High School. [Heather Mckenzie]

Gainesville Hurricanes Set For Regional Semifinals

The Gainesville Hurricanes boy’s basketball team is marching to the regional semifinals after a thrilling victory over Oakleaf, 47-46.

It was quite the win for the Hurricanes, who in fact did not enter as favorites due to the seeding placement. They entered play ranked sixth, while Oakleaf was third. With that win, the Hurricanes clinched a ticket to the semifinals.

Coach’s Take

Hurricanes head coach Mike Barnes expressed his thoughts after his team’s win. One of the main highlights for the Hurricanes game on Thursday was the strength on the defensive end. Over the few games, the Hurricanes have been propelled by their revitalized defense and forcing teams to shoot two pointers rather than threes. This young group has formed a plan that has been effectively working thus far.

Hurricanes vs. Ponte Vedra

The Gainesville Hurricanes will hit the road and have a tough opponent to face off against.

Looking ahead, Ponte Vedra concluded the regular season with a stunning 21-7 record and have placed itself as the number two seed. The Hurricanes battled it out against Ponte Vedra last season and were knocked out the Elite Eight out by the state runners up. While the Hurricanes had a strong team last season, Ponte Vedra was in firm command. With a rematch in store and vengeance on the mind for the Hurricanes, it should be quite the showdown.

Luckily for Gainesville, it may have the upper edge due to Ponte Vedra losing a few star-studded players who are no longer in the mix.

Game Plan

Coach Barnes had a clear game plan against Oakleaf and has the same high expectations to carry that into their matchup. During the game against Oakleaf, they were ultimately guard heavy in order to score the most points as possible. While the Hurricanes altered that plan due to their defensive prowess and limited points allowed, they took home the win. Ponte Vedra is built different in terms of height and strength, but the Hurricanes have wining on their mind.

Game Time

The Hurricanes are one win away from punching themselves into the finals and will have that chance Tuesday night at 7.

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