PHS has made winning fun, aims to continue at state

PHS has made winning fun, aims to continue at state

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PHS has made winning fun, aims to continue at state

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Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Heading into their biggest test of the year, the Pensacola High Tigers left Wednesday for Lakeland, loose and relaxed.

PHS coach Terrence Harris called his team a “fun group to be around” and believes that regardless of this weekend’s outcome, his team will have fun with the trip and create special memories.

But when Friday’s 5 p.m. (local time) tip-off arrives, Harris expects his teams loose nature to fade and their fierce-competitive spirit to rise — just like it has all season.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

Left to Right: Devin Gadson, Javon Grimsley, Bryan Davonchae Shawndarius Cowart, Robert Reeves, and Zykereyan Jones, will be leading the Pensacola High School team to the semifinals in Lakeland this weekend.

“What makes road trips fun, is when you have kids on a team that are actually friends and like hanging out with each other,” said Harris, who’s Tigers face Largo in the 6A state semifinals. “They are going to have a blast on this trip, that is for sure. That’s kind of why we wanted to get there a day early. We want to get our bearings under us. We want to be comfortable with the Lakeland Center, and we want to give our kids a chance to see some other schools play.”

PHS seems to hold the perfect mix of fun and focus, as Austin Shoemore — one of three seniors on the team — described the Tigers as “energetic, funny, hard-working and we don’t like taking L’s.”

“Everybody on this team knows how to have fun, but at the same time we have been focused all season on making it to states,” Shoemore said. “Coach (Harris) makes sure we stay on track. He’s our center point. He definitely knows what he’s talking about and has a very, very high basketball IQ.”

Proud of his stripes: Harris is all-in on PHS

The trip to the state championships marks the first for PHS since 2009, and, naturally, the first for any current Tiger.

While Harris said the inexperience presents a disadvantage, he also added “there is no reason for this team not to play well.”

“Our guys don’t know what that game day feel is like. When you are playing in the Lakeland Center and those emotions hit you, you’ve gotta figure out what it takes to overcome the circumstances of playing in a new environment.”

For the Tigers, adapting to a big-stage arena seems to be the main pre-game adjustment needed — and perhaps the only.

“Practice this week has been about doing what we’ve done all year long,” Harris said. “At this level of the state tournament, bad habits have a tendency to to creep out. We’ve got to play offensively with some purpose — the way we know how to play.”

Meet the teams

Pensacola High Tigers (29-3)

No.

Player

Pos.

Ht.

PPG

RPG

1

Dyquarius Redmond

PG

5-7

2.8

1.0

5

Shawndarius Cowart

PG

6-2

13.8

2.4

10

Zykereyan Jones

PG

5-10

4.4

1.1

21

Zemaitis Britt

SG

5-11

5.0

1.0

22

Devin Gadson

PF

6-0

7.9

7.0

23

Jameriquo Johnson

SG

5-11

3.7

0.8

25

Javon Grimsley

SG

6-4

8.6

3.6

30

Austin Shoemore

SG

5-11

1.8

0.5

32

Adrian Rodriguez

PF

6-0

N/A

N/A

33

Robert Reeves

PF

6-0

6.9

4.6

35

Cardriques Baggage

SG

6-0

6.4

2.7

40

Javon Johnson

PF

6-2

0.4

0.5

42

Gage Miller

C

6-4

2.5

1.3

44

Davonchae Bryant

C

6-7

10.7

7.9

Largo Packers (21-6)

No.

Player

Pos.

Ht.

PPG

RPG

23

Dakari Allen

G/F

6-2

17.1

5.3

12

Isaiah Thomas

G

6-0

10.3

3.2

25

Brandon Drayton

F

6-2

9.7

8.4

1

Amant Deliu

G

5-6

11.3

2.4

4

Julian Cooney

G

5-10

6.2

5.9

20

Bobby Roundtree

F

6-5

6.2

8.2

5

Isaiah Bellamy

F

6-4

6.4

5.2

Meet the teams

Largo Packers (21-6)

No.

Player

Pos.

Ht.

PPG

RPG

23

Dakari Allen

G/F

6-2

17.1

5.3

12

Isaiah Thomas

G

6-0

10.3

3.2

25

Brandon Drayton

F

6-2

9.7

8.4

1

Amant Deliu

G

5-6

11.3

2.4

4

Julian Cooney

G

5-10

6.2

5.9

20

Bobby Roundtree

F

6-5

6.2

8.2

5

Isaiah Bellamy

F

6-4

6.4

5.2

Pensacola High Tigers (29-3)

No.

Player

Pos.

Ht.

PPG

RPG

1

Dyquarius Redmond

PG

5-7

2.8

1.0

5

Shawndarius Cowart

PG

6-2

13.8

2.4

10

Zykereyan Jones

PG

5-10

4.4

1.1

21

Zemaitis Britt

SG

5-11

5.0

1.0

22

Devin Gadson

PF

6-0

7.9

7.0

23

Jameriquo Johnson

SG

5-11

3.7

0.8

25

Javon Grimsley

SG

6-4

8.6

3.6

30

Austin Shoemore

SG

5-11

1.8

0.5

32

Adrian Rodriguez

PF

6-0

N/A

N/A

33

Robert Reeves

PF

6-0

6.9

4.6

35

Cardriques Baggage

SG

6-0

6.4

2.7

40

Javon Johnson

PF

6-2

0.4

0.5

42

Gage Miller

C

6-4

2.5

1.3

44

Davonchae Bryant

C

6-7

10.7

7.9

What’s next?

Who: Pensacola High vs. Largo

What: Class 6A state semifinals

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Where: The Lakeland Center

•Broadcast: 6A state semifinals — www.nfhsnetwork.com/states/FL ; 6A state finals — www.bhsnlive.com/

What’s next?

Who: Pensacola High vs. Largo

What: Class 6A state semifinals

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Where: The Lakeland Center

Broadcast: 6A state semifinals – http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/states/FL ; 6A state finals – http://www.bhsnlive.com/

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