Mariner boys hoops headed to state final; Lehigh falls

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LAKELAND, Fla. The Mariner High School boys basketball team is one win away from a state title after defeating Palatka High School on Thursday in a Class 6A semifinal.

The Tritons dominated the Panthers in a 64-38 blowout, shooting 49 percent from the field.

The victory comes after the loss of the Tritons’ head coach, James Harris, who was arrested last month after allegedly having sex with a student.

Mariner will face Leesburg High for the state title at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Lehigh Senior High, bidding for a berth in the Class 7A final, wasn’t as fortunate.

Orlando’s Edgewater High defeated the Lighting 83-53 in Thursday’s semifinals.

The Lighting fell behind early in the first quarter after missing several shots, creating opportunities for Edgewater. By halftime, Lehigh was down by 18 points and was unable to recover.

After the death of point guard Stef’an Strawder last year, the team dedicated this season to his memory.

“What we were able to accomplish this year a lot of people weren’t expecting with the exception of us,” said Lehigh head coach Greg Coleman. “We just weren’t on our game tonight, but we are not going to let it define what we were able accomplish this year.”

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