By PATRICK CASEY
Franklin County sent Cottondale packing with a 49-39 win over the Hornets on Saturday as Deshaun Winfield scored 12 points for the Seahawks. Franklin County will head to Lakeland to face Jacksonville Arlington Country Day in a Class 2A semi-final on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The Seahawks will be a huge underdog to a team that just seems to reload every year. Kruize Perkins scored 16 points as Marianna used their home court advantage to surprise Jacksonville Ribault with a 52-39 win on Saturday. The Bulldogs led only 23-18, but controlled the tempo most of the night as they got revenge on Ribault for a 2007 Region final loss.
Marianna will play Orlando Jones (28-3) on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Lakeland and the Bulldogs will also be a big underdog. Graceville laid a total egg on the road against a far superior opponent as Gainesville Rock dropped a mountain on the Tigers 54-21. The Tigers trailed 23-9 at halftime and never were a serious threat against a Gainesville squad that featured a 6-10 center and a 6-8 forward.
In Class 4A, Pensacola High defeated Jacksonville Jackson 75-69 to earn a date with undefeated Spring Hill Springstead (30-0) on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Lakeland. Pine Forest lost to Gainesville High 86-67 on Saturday in Class 5A.
Home field advantage in the boys basketball playoffs in Region I in all six classifications paid off as teams that got to play all three playoff games at home won all three of them and are off to Lakeland this week. Pensacola High, in Class 4A, is the only team in Region I that had to go on the road and win a playoff game. They did so by a single point over Tallahassee Rickards in the second round 41-40. Gainesville Rock, Franklin County, Marianna, Gainesville High and Winter Park all won three games at home to advance to the Final Four in Lakeland. Pensacola High won two of their three playoff games at home. That’s a 17-1 mark for the home team in the region in boys basketball. If you think home-court advantage is overrated, think again.
Girls basketball season ended with no champions crowned from our region of the state in 2009. Tallahassee FAMU High was the only team from the region to make the state championship game and they fell to Boynton Beach Lake Worth Christian 61-52 after the Baby Rattlers had drilled Deltona Trinity Christian 63-37 in the Class A semi-final. Expect FAMU to be back again next year, they had no seniors on this year’s squad. The FAMU girls team is the only team from our region to make it to the state championship game in the sports of basketball, soccer or volleyball this school year. Cottondale’s trip to Lakeland didn’t last long as Orlando First Academy sent them home after dropping a 48-25 beating on the Hornets in a Class 2A semi-final last week. Orlando Bishop Moore thumped Pensacola High School’s girls 67-45 while Pine Forest got clubbed by Winter Park Lake Howell 77-44 in Class 5A.
Former Tallahassee Lincoln High defensive coordinator and graduate Yusuf Shakir has been hired as the new head football coach for the Trojans. Shakir returns to Tallahassee after spending the last two seasons as the head football coach at St. Petersburg Gibbs High School, where he posted a 12-9 record at the Class 5A school. He replaces Kyle Rice, who resigned last month after taking the Trojans to the Class 4A championship game. Shakir, 31, was the defensive coordinator and a linebackers coach under Rice before leaving Lincoln for Gibbs three seasons ago.
Contact Patrick Casey at The DeFuniak Herald with any local sports notes at: firstname.lastname@example.org.