LAKELAND — Fort Lauderdale Stranahan defeated Jacksonville Paxon 59-54 in the Class 4A semifinal on Thursday at the RP Funding Center and will move on to play in Saturday’s state championship game.


Stranahan will play for the 4A state championship Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Tampa Catholic, which beat Orlando Lake Highland Prep 65-54 in the second semifinal Thursday.


Leading by only one entering the final quarter, Stranahan enjoyed a 10-0 run. Chayse Culpepper and Inady Legiste each scored six points in the fourth, as the Mighty Dragons stretched their lead to a game-high 12 (52-40) with 1:10 remaining.


Stranahan (23-9) had three players score in double figures. Thaddeus Squire led the way with 14 points, while Culpepper scored 13 and Legiste 12.


Trailing 35-27 in the third quarter, Paxon (25-6) made a late run, as Isaiah Adams scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the quarter. Full-court pressure resulted in a steal and layup from Quinnton Jackson to pull Paxon to 37-36 at the end of the third..


"Basically we knew Adams would get his points," said Stranahan head coach Terrence Williams. "We knew we needed to just play solid defense, limit their 3-point attempts and rebound well."


Stranahan outrebounded Paxon 21-14 in the first half and shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range, to take a 25-21 halftime lead.


Adams, who is signed to play next year for UCF, had 9 rebounds. UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins was in attendance.


Stranahan (59) Daquion Vickers 1-5 2-2 4, Thaddeus Squire 5-9 1-2 14, Mario Bynes 2-5 0-0 4, Christopher Robinson 0-1 0-2 0, Chayse Culpepper 3-7 7-9 13, Savie McCall 3-7 1-2 7, Houston Culpepper 2-7 1-2 5, Inady Legiste 5-5 2-4 12. Totals 21-46 14-23 59


Paxon School (54) Jakobe Williams 2-8 1-2 5, Quinnton Jackson 2-5 0-0 4, Josue Rivera 2-5 0-1 5, Isaiah Adams 10-21 4-6 29, Michael Caswell 3-8 0-0 7, Derrick Johnson Jr. 1-7 1-2 4, Daniel Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Maurice Willie Jr. 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 6-11 54


Stranahan;13; 12; 12; 22; —59


Paxon;12; 9; 15; 18; —54


FG%: Stranahan .457, Paxon .357. 3-pt FG: Stranahan 3-8 (Vickers 0-1, Squire 3-4, Bynes 0-1, Culpepper 0-2), Paxon 8-25 (Jackson 0-2, Rivera 1-2, Adams 5-10, Caswell 1-3, Johnson Jr. 1-7, Watson 0-1). Rebounds: Stranahan 38 (Squire 10), Paxon 30 (Adams 9). Fouls Stranahan 16, Paxon 16. Fouled out: none. Technical: none. Assists: Stranahan 9 (Squire 2, Culpepper 2), Paxon 9 (Williams 4). Steals: Stranahan 6 (Culpepper 2), Paxon 5 (Jackson 2). Blocked shots: Stranahan 3 (Legiste 2), Paxon 4 (Adams 3). Turnovers: Stranahan 14, Paxon 15. Attendance: NA.