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WATCH: Rickards boys basketball head coach Eli Bryant discusses his team's performance in the regional semifinals vs. Choctawhatchee. Tallahassee Democrat

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Friday night will be a busy time for high school boys basketball in Jacksonville.

体育在线365Rickards and FAMU will be in Duval County for regional semifinals action. The Raiders play at Lee and the Baby Rattlers go against Impact Christian Academy. Tip-off is 7 p.m. for both outings.

The last time Rickards boarded the bus for Jacksonville, the outcome proved to be unfavorable.

In 2019, the Raiders fell 62-59 versus Paxon School for Advanced Studies. Although the memories are hurtful, it’s being used as a point of reference. 

Complete the mission to a state title.

体育在线365The Raiders advanced to Friday's match versus Lee after doing away with No. 3 seed Choctawhatchee 79-52 Tuesday in Tallahassee.

体育在线365This current squad is well-balanced and can light up the scoreboard. However, head coach Eli Bryant wants to see a full-fledged effort from start to finish.

"If we can play a complete game, we'll be really scary. Halloween scary," Bryant said. "We were one win away last year. We're going back to the same city that we went to last year that ended our season. We don't intend to end it in Jacksonville this year."

Players are aligned with Bryant's sentiments.

体育在线365Rickards built a massive 40-14 against Choctawhatchee lead at intermission. This allowed a complicit mindset to take over the team. The Raiders outscored the Indians 39-38 in the second half. 

体育在线365For the contest against Lee, the drive is to maintain a strong surge from the opening tip through the final buzzer.

"We have to keep the energy we use in the beginning all the way to the end," senior guard Zackary White said. "If we do that, play hard and fast, we'll win. I was a part of that team last year in Jacksonville. I don't want that to happen again. I'm going to do everything I need to do to get the win." 

Lee's participation in this game is the result of an 81-66 victory over St. Augustine this past Tuesday.

Adding to the local news for boys is FAMU DRS.

Head coach Dione Desir's group has grown tremendously over the past month. Despite the lack of veteran players, they are showing on-the-court wisdom beyond their years.

体育在线365"We don't have a lot of players with experience going deep into the postseason," Desir said. "The vibe has been good and I haven't seen any nerves. They're buying into what we're expecting from them."

体育在线365Along with adhering to the philosophy, the Baby Rattlers are doing well at ignoring the seeding or win-loss record. This team fully believes it belongs here and can win the state trophy.   

Desir has also taken a spiritual approach to the tournament. She is going beyond David versus Goliath comparison and applies an added faith-based mindset to complete the assignment.

"They know I've always told them their special. It's about them believing in themselves," she said. "If we stick together and execute, we'll be fine. Don't let hype scare you. People say it's David versus Goliath. I say be Peter and step out on faith."

Impact Christian Academy narrowly escaped North Florida Educational Institute 35-33 Tuesday in its region semifinals game.

体育在线365The winner of FAMU DRS-Impact Christian moves forward to the 2A Final Four on March 4 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. March 5 is the scheduled date for the winner of Rickards-Lee to play in the 6A semifinals in the same building.

Follow sportswriter Rory Sharrock on Twitter @married2game1.

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