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Cape, Doral Academy to meet in state final four tilt

Tipoff at noon today at RP Funding Center in Lakeland

March 9, 2018
By PETE SISK (sports@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It's time for the Cape Coral Seahawks to step onto the big stage.

The Seahawks are headed to Lakeland and the state boys basketball Class 7A final four.

"I think they're mentally ready for this moment," first-year Seahawks coach Brandon Sensor said. "We have a lot of veterans who have played in big games, and know the end goal that we set at the beginning of the year."

Cape Coral (24-7) plays at noon today at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The opposition in Friday's semifinals is Doral Academy (30-2), which comes in riding a 19-game winning streak. Maxpreps rates Doral Academy the fourth-best team in Florida.

Those same rankings list Cape Coral at No. 9 three spots below the Lehigh team they downed in the Region 7A-3 final last Friday night.

"It was a very good win for us on Friday against a quality opponent," Sensor said. "We played great team basketball and I'm very proud of our guys.

"With that being said, we always begin to focus on our next opponent come midnight. I haven't head the boys talk about the Lehigh game since.

"I'm confident my guys are ready for the big stage. I hope they enjoy the process," he continued. "This is a great experience, and they've earned it. But they understand it is also business. And they know what our ultimate goal is."

The Firebirds were undefeated in their district (7A-16) at 12-0 on their way to the 7A-4 region crown.

"I have not had a chance to watch film on Doral, but I know they're a very disciplined and well-coached team on offense and defense," Sensor said. "We will do what we have to do to get ready for Doral Academy."

Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee (26-2) and Tampa Hillsborough (25-5) meet in the first 7A semifinal on Friday, with a 10 a.m. start.

Maxpreps rates Choctawhatchee at No. 1 and Hillsborough at No. 11.

If you're going to the game, tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the gate. There's a link to buy advance tickets at www.fhsaa.org/sports/boys-basketball. You'll also have to pay $10 for parking.

A live stream of the game will be available on Friday. You can go to www.fhsaa.org/sports/boys-basketball. The link to the live stream will be near the bottom of the page. Click "NFHS Network." Or, go to Maxpreps.com, search for Cape Coral, choose the boys basketball page, and click where it says "Live on NFHS Network" right below "Next Game: Doral Academy vs. Cape Coral."

Either way, there is a $9.95 charge for the live stream.

A live stream of Saturday's Class 7A championship game will be available for purchase ($9.95), again at www.fhsaa.org/sports/boys-basketball. Look for the "Non-Spectrum customers" link near the bottom of the page.

"I've preached to them that this run we're on is all about them," Sensor said. "At this point, they're not playing for their fans or parents. They're playing for each other."

The Seahawks have been on the road throughout the playoffs, winning at Boca Ciega, Lemon Bay and Lehigh to earn their spot in the Class 7A final four.

This is the second year in a row that a Cape-area team has reached the final four in its classification.

Mariner played in the Class 6A championship game last season, just missing a return trip with a 44-42 loss to Sarasota Booker in the Tritons' regional final last Friday.

The Lehigh team that the Seahawks defeated last Friday reached the Class 7A final four a year ago.

"I expect (Doral) to be our toughest opponent we've played this year," Sensor said. "And I also expect my guys to play the best they've played this year.

"So it should be a great game. As long as they stick together, believe in each other, play together, I think they will be all right out there."

 
 
 

 

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