Last year the Santa Fe (Alachua) boys basketball team made a run all the way to the Class 4A state championship game.
It was a magical run for the Raiders (20-6), who advanced to their first final four since 2002 and proceeded to stun West Nassau (Callahan) and Georgia Tech signee “Deebo” Coleman on a last-second shot in the state semifinals to advance to the title game.
Despite losing to Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) in overtime in the 4A title contest, coach Elliot Harris led the Raiders to their first state championship game appearance in school history.
North Carolina State signee Ernest Ross has graduated, plus Harris announced his retirement after 20 years of coaching, but Santa Fe does return All Area guard Dontrell Jenkins.
New coach Glen Banks lost his debut game last Saturday as the Raiders fell to Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 49-43, at the Mighty Ike Classic. Jenkins, now a junior, led the Raiders (0-1) with 20 points.
Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Gainesville boys basketball team will host Santa Fe.
GHS also has a new coach as Mike Barnes enters his first season following the retirement of Kelly Beckham, who won 798 games and won a state title with the Hurricanes in 2009.
The Hurricanes are 1-0 after a 72-37 victory last Tuesday against St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) as three players scored in double figures.
The ‘Canes were led by junior Theo Stephens with 16, followed by sophomore Jacob Wright with 12 and junior Seth Childers with 10.
Santa Fe defeated GHS by four in Alachua last January in the only meeting between the two teams.
We’ll have coverage of the game starting at 7 p.m. on 106.9 FM I am Country and online at IamCountryRadio.com.
In other boys’ hoops action tonight at 7:30 p.m., Bell hosts St. John Lutheran (Ocala), Dixie County (Cross City) is at home against Countryside Christian (Gainesville), Columbia (Lake City) travels to Buchholz, and Oak Hall School is at home to Lafayette (Mayo).