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FHSAA girls basketball 5A semifinals preview: Will American Heritage win its 5th consecutive state championship?

American Heritage (Plantation) has won four straight state titles - including three by double digits

We have reached the Final Four across all seven classifications in the 2022 Florida high school athletic association (FHSAA) girls’ basketball playoffs.

Starting Wednesday and continuing through Saturday, 21 games will take place at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland (Home of the NBA G-League’s Lakeland Magic). SBLive is previewing all seven semifinals matchups.

Here’s a look at the Class 5A semifinals:

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Class 5A Semifinal No. 1: Pine Forest vs American Heritage (Plantation) - Thursday at 2 p.m.

The Pine Forest Eagles are making a seven-hour trip to Lakeland for their second state semifinal appearance in the last three seasons. The Eagles have four players remaining from the 2020 team that lost to American Heritage (Plantation) in the state championship game.

How did Pine Forest get here? Defeated Ridgeview 69-31 in the regional quarterfinals, defeated Mainland (Daytona Beach) 43-33 in the regional semifinals and defeated Orange Park 70-55 in the regional finals.

Players to watch for Pine Forest: Senior guard Tahnyjia Purifoy (18.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game), sophomore guard Niylia Wilkins (16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game) and senior guard Makevia House (9.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game)

The American Heritage Plantation Patriots are seeking their fifth consecutive state championship, winning three of the previous four by double digits. The Patriots are led by 7th year head coach Greg Farias.

How did American Heritage Plantation get here? Defeated TERRA Environmental 72-31 in the regional quarterfinals, defeated Miami Northwestern 84-28 in the regional semifinals and defeated Okeechobee 72-36 in the regional finals.

Players to watch for American Heritage Plantation: Senior guard Ta’Niya Latson (26.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game), senior guard Joey Delancy (16.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game), senior forward Emani Theodule (Averaging 12.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.2 steals per game) and junior guard Sydni Studesville (Averaging 10.0 points per game)

Prediction: American Heritage Plantation

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Class 5A Semifinal No. 2: Charlotte (Punta Gorda) vs Bishop Moore- Thursday at 4 p.m.

The Charlotte Lady Tarpons are back in the final four for the second consecutive year, looking to avenge from last year’s semifinal loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. The Tarpons are led by sixth year head coach Matthew Stephenson.

How did Charlotte get here? Defeated Cape Coral 63-20 in the regional quarterfinals, defeated South Fort Myers 62-49 in the regional semifinals and defeated Clearwater 41-39 in the regional finals.

Players to watch for Charlotte: Junior guard D’Yanis Jimenez (15.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals per game), senior guard Aryana Hicks (11 points, 4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game) and junior guard Adrianna Iorfida (8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game)

The Bishop Moore Hornets are back in the final four for the first time since 2016, where they eventually finished as state runner-up (Losing to Jacksonville Ribault). The Lady Hornets are led by 1st year head coach Rickey Claitt.

How did Bishop Moore get here? Defeated Robinson (Tampa) 59-16 in the regional quarterfinals, defeated Lake Wales 44-34 in the regional semifinals and defeated Kissimmee Gateway 37-35 in the regional finals.

Players to watch for Bishop Moore: Junior guard Alexandra Merceron (11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game) and junior forward Alyssa Brasco (10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game)

Prediction: Charlotte