Top Performers: State Tournament (Day 2)

LAKELAND, FLORIDA – The FHSAA state tournament rolled on Thursday with a six-game slate that featured the Class 4A, 5A and 6A semifinals.


  • 6A Semifinal: Ponte Vedra 63, Wekiva 41
  • 6A Semifinal: Dwyer 52, Wharton 39
  • 5A Semifinal: Mainland 43, St. Pete 38
  • 5A Semifinal: Belen Jesuit 59, Jones 58
  • 4A Semifinal: The Villages 43, Ribault 39
  • 4A Semifinal: Mater Lakes 47, Gibbs 39

Here is a look at the standouts from Thursday’s action.

ICYMI: Top Performers: State Tournament (Day 1)

2024 6-1 G Sam Ritchie – Ponte Vedra

There wasn’t a better shooting performance on Day 2 than Sam Ritchie’s game. The 2024 6-1 Ponte Vedra guard dropped 34 points on 13-of-15 from the field which included a perfect 8-of-8 from 3-point land. Ritchie helped the Sharks get ahead early and run away with the victory. He was flat out cooking and will look to continue his hot play against Dwyer in the final on Saturday.

2025 6-0 Jacob Daniels – Gibbs

It was quite a performance from 2025 6-0 Gibbs guard Jacob Daniels who was attacking the basket and moving up and down the floor with ease. With 21 points, he paced the game for his side despite the loss to Mater Lakes. Daniels is a true talent and is going to continue to get better.

2023 6-9 F Sam Walters – The Villages

The Villages got a true test from Ribault in a back and forth, but it was who led the way and got on the break to make buckets when it mattered the most. The 2023 6-9 forward headed to Alabama in the fall, added 19 points and a ton of poise and calmness to a rather young squad. He is a special talent.

2023 5-11 G Javier Rosell – Belen Jesuit

In the game of the day, Belen Jesuit netted the game winning bucket with time expiring on a greater feed from 2023 5-11 guard Javier Rosell to 2023 6-2 forward Alejandro Lopez who laid it in. This came moments after Jones hit a go-ahead bucket. Rosell finished with 15 points and moved the ball incredibly well alongside a super fast and in-sync group. Belen Jesuit brought a huge crowd and played a heck of a game with Rosell at the forefront.

—2023 6-0 G Ryan Cuellar (16 points), 2023 5-10 G Kevin Garcia (12 points) and 2025 6-2 G Bryce Fitzgerald (11 points) all had bright moments and hit key shots.

2026 5-11 G Nathan Kirk – Mainland

For a freshman, it isn’t always easy to play for the first time in a state tournament. However, for Nathan Kirk, he wasn’t rattled one bit. The 2026 5-11 guard led his side with 18 points in a tight win over St. Pete. Mainland has great size and athleticism and Kirk is the top shooter and scorer for this team. Plus, he commands the offense and sets things up well for his teammates. He is well on his way.

2023 6-1 G Frenelson Atlius – Dwyer

Dwyer clawed back into the game in the third quarter and it was Frenelson Atlius who did the bulk of the damage, getting to the rim and finishing with strength. The 2023 6-1 guard had 17 points in the win and made plays down the stretch that brought endless momentum to his team. Atlius is a key piece to Dwyer’s success and certainly doesn’t get talked about enough.

2024 6-5 F Christian Reid – Mater Lakes

In a back and forth tilt, Mater Lakes pulled off a win over a scrappy Gibbs squad and it was Christian Reid that was the best offensive threat with 15 points. The 6-5 forward plays with endless passion and grit and is always tough on defense. Offensively, Reid loves to use his power to get to the cup and he did that time and time again. He is a heck of an athlete and leader for a well-formed Mater lakes team.

2023 6-5 G Chandler Davis – Wharton

Chandler Davis really shined for his side with a team-best 19 points. The 2023 6-5 guard got to the lane routinely and finished in a variety of ways. His touch around the rim is impressive and his ballhandling and length are a problem for defenses. Davis will be a heck of a player at the next level.

—2023 6-5 guard Karmello Branch (10 points and 10 rebounds) battled alongside Davis and was all over the boards in this game. He is a true talent.

2023 6-1 G Jamauri Sands – Jones

Prior to exiting with a knee injury midway through the fourth quarter, 2023 6-1 guard Jamarui Sands was playing at a high level. The Missouri State football commit had 17 points for Jones, who nearly clipped Belen Jesuit in the game of the day. He was hitting jumpers and getting to the rim with ease.

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Jake Perper has been a sports writer since 2010 and a basketball scout since 2015. He was the Southeast Scouting Director for the Prep Hoops Circuit and the lead scout for Prep Hoops’ Florida site for seven years. You can follow him on Twitter @thehoopvibe.