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NFEI students, faculty host send off for boys basketball team ahead of state semifinal appearance

The Eagles will face Sagemont Wednesday at 12 p.m. in Lakeland. NFEI is vying for its first state championship title.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — North Florida Educational Institute is headed back to the state Final Four.

The Eagles hit the road for Lakeland Tuesday afternoon, but not before they got a send off from students and faculty.

"The promotion as far as helping our guys out with the motivation and spirit you know we need it, our kids need it, our school needs it," Eagles Head Coach Stacey Poole Jr., said.

It's the third time in the last five years the Eagles have made it to the state semi-finals.

NFEI fell to Central Florida Christian in the 2019 Class 2A state championship game. It lost to Impact Christian Academy in the 2018 Class 2A state semifinals.

The Eagles enter Wednesday's tilt with Sagemont winners of seven straight games. Poole Jr. and his team believe thy are peaking at the right time. 

"Last year we didn't come together as a team, but this year I feel like my team is confident and getting this 'W,'" guard Malachi Smith, said. 

"It's been a pretty special year, what a great group of guys who've been going pretty hard and our chemistry's pretty good so I like this team," guard Tommie Hall added. 

Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. on Wednesday at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

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