Posted: 2:19 pm Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Grandview Prep reaches boys hoops state final 

By Jodie Wagner

Grandview Prep moved one step closer to defending its Class 2A boys basketball state championship, defeating Tallahassee-FAMU 81-70 Tuesday in a state semifinal game at the Lakeland Center.

Junior guard Jamal Palmer scored 29 points to lead the Pride (25-5), which is making its eighth straight appearance at the FHSAA state basketball championships. Grandview’s lone state title was last season.

The Pride (25-5) will play Orlando Christian Prep (29-1) Thursday at 3:35 p.m. for the state championship. The Warriors defeated Sarasota-Christian 58-44 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

“We’re really excited,” said Grandview coach Joe Dawson, who has just one starter remaining from last year’s state championship team. “Every step of the way has been a great experience for the kids. We have new kids who haven’t been here before. Winning this first game has been big, and now we have a chance to play in the championship game on Thursday.”

The Pride pulled away from the Rattlers (24-9) with a big second quarter.

The teams were tied at 11 after the first quarter before Grandview went on a 25-14 run to take a 36-25 halftime lead.

Solid defense and consistent free throw shooting helped the Pride maintain its lead in the second half.

Grandview was 25-of-39 from the line for the game and was able to contain Rattlers’ leading scorers Javier Escobar and Tre Anderson.

“We played great defense and that helped us build on our lead,” Dawson said. “We also made a lot of free throws.”

Jordan Coblin added 12 points for the Pride, and Jack Marcelin had 10.