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February 27, 2013
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Top-ranked Jacksonville Providence made it look easy on Wednesday afternoon at the Lakeland Center.
The Stallions (30-1) scored 42 second-half points and built a big enough lead for a running clock in the fourth quarter to cruise to a 74-39 win over Community School of Naples in the Class 3A Semifinals.
Providence, which went on a 20-0 run spanning the last three minutes of the first half and the first two minutes of the second half, will play Coral Springs Christian for the 3A title on Thursday.
Six-foot-5 junior guard Grayson Allen (game-high 27 points) almost single handily outscored the Seahawks (28-3).
Allen, who is considered one of the top juniors in the country, was 7-of-15 from the floor and almost tripled his output (10 points) in last year's 56-50 loss to Tampa Prep in the semifinals.
"Last year, I took it to heart," he said. "It's a feeling I don't ever want to feel again so this year having a game here under my belt I felt a lot more comfortable this year and knew what to expect."
He was 10-of-10 from the free line and also added six rebounds for the Stallions, who won the 2A title in 2010.
Creekside transfer Christian Terrell added 18 points, while Wyatt Walker contributed 15 for Providence, which won its 16th game this season by 30 or more points.
"The chemistry was there from the start and I think that's what is so good about us," said Allen, who is rated the #44 junior by Rivals.com and currently holds offers from Florida, USF, Miami and Indiana among at least a dozen others.
In the other semifinal, Coral Springs Christian defeated Florida Air, 56-49, to advance.
The Crusaders (24-8) overcame a five-point deficit in the first half by scoring 37 points in the second half, including a 22-point fourth quarter, to knock off the Falcons (28-2).
Long Island signee Nura Zanna led all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while Julius Johnson finished with 17 points in the loss.
The state championship game is set for 8:05 p.m. on Thursday.