And now there are two, just two area boy's basketball teams still playing, still working towards possible state championships.
Those two are Port St. Joe on the 2-A level and Fort Walton Beach in the 5-A class. Let's begin with the former, coach Kurnitsky and the Tiger Sharks beating Holmes in their region final Saturday night. That giving St. Joe a trip to Lakeland, site of the State Finals, and a 2-A semifinal matchup Wednesday against Sagemont, a school out of Broward County in South Florida.
Port St. Joe Head Coach
"We're on our way to Ocala, we're gonna practice at Central Florida Community College tonight. It's a court that's 94 feet, it's a big arena so we wanna get that big college atmosphere kind of feel, so when they step on the Lakeland Center, my younger guys, they'll know what it's like. And then we're gonna go to Brooksville tomorrow, our former football coach John Palmer's there, we're gonna practice there, and then we're gonna go on to Lakeland after that. So we're gonna get in two practices before we play."
Sagemont a private school and that makes the matchup, says Kurnitsky, a bit more significant for St. Joe.
"I told the kids it's the end of an era, because this is the last time that we'll be playing private schools in Lakeland. And for the last 12 years, 11-12 years, the private schools have beaten St. Joe, so I told the kids this is it, the end of an era. And we've talked about it since the first day of practice, that we want to go beat the private schools this year."
This now back to back trips to Lakeland for the Sharks, who lost to a private school in the semi's last year. Overall it's the 17th trip to the state finals, 8 previously ended with championships.