Chipley (Class 1A) and Orlando Christian Prep (2A) became Florida's first basketball state champs in 2011-12 on Wednesday, while Tampa Prep defeated Sagemont 58-50 to win the 3A title on Thursday morning. While Chipley and OCP were heavy favorites, Tampa Prep had to survive an impossibly deep 3A field that included eight teams that were ranked in our 25 in the past month. It was the first title for Joe Fenlon's Terrapins, who made multiple championship games and final fours without getting over the hump — until now. The Terps didn't even need a big game from their top player, Butler recruit Devontae Morgan, getting 17 points from Marshall Holmes and 15 from Josh Heath.
And there's plenty of action yet to come. No. 5 Lake Highland Prep, which took down previous No. 10 Godby on Wednesday night, will face Pine Crest in the Class 4A championship on Thursday afternoon. LHP has been the higher-ranked team virtually all season, but don't count out the Panthers: This is the sixth consecutive season David Beckerman's squad has made it at least as far as the state semis.
Terry Parker continues its impressive run and will face Nature Coast Thursday night in the 5A semis, while Lake Wales takes on Plantation American Heritage. In 6A, Wolfson-Leesburg and Winter Haven-Miami Norland are the Friday morning's two semifinal matchups, and in 7A it'll be Oviedo-Oak Ridge and St. Pete-Blanche Ely in the afternoon. Finally, Hagerty will face Vero Beach in one 8A semifinal on Friday night, while Spanish River takes on Hialeah Gardens in the other.