LAKELAND, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - History has a way of repeating itself.
Port St. Joe girls basketball is in the Final Four for the fourth time in five years. They'll be playing in the state championship Friday night for the second time in three years, taking on Hawthorne (28-2) with a chance to write new history and win the program's first title.
There's even similarities in those PSJ teams.
Just like last year, and the year before, the Lady Sharks (26-5) are young. The roster sports one junior, four sophomores, three freshman, three eighth graders and one seventh grader—no seniors. But they play like they belong.
"Fun expressions before the game. Mentally they seem to be alright," head coach Kenny Parker said. "Once they hit the floor, it takes a little bit for them to get them jitters out, but besides that they act like they've been here before. We expected to be here. Now you're here. Now you need to do what you've been doing all year long. There's no pressure I'm going to put on them. Just do what we've been doing."
Port St. Joe made it to the final by beating Madison 51-48, led by double-doubles from freshman Mari Johnson and sophomore Amani Jones. From top to bottom, regardless of age or experience in big games, Parker can rely on his players to pull each other through.
"They're a pretty good group. A lot of chemistry because they're close in age. We've got three or four that's been here every year the last three years. At one point in time, we probably had three people on the floor that had never played in that situation. They held up pretty good."
Hawthorne made it to the final by beating Holmes 50-48.
Friday's tip is scheduled for 7 ET and can be streamed online (visit the FHSAA for more details).
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