Final Four Preview: Classes 5A thru 9A
The last group of teams in the large school classifications played this past weekend to punch their ticket to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland for a chance at the state title.
We did an okay 3-1 in our predictions. We erred in stating it was Raines that was playing at P’Cola Catholic but we were still correct thinking PC would win. Oxbridge and Tampa Catholic did in fact play the closest game in the class but Oxbridge still fell to TC for the third year in a row. One favor: Please don’t refer to this final four as “Catholics vs. Convicts”, ala the Notre Dame/Miami rivalry from back in the day. We know you won’t listen to us but thought we’d ask all the same.
Trinity Catholic over P’Cola Catholic
U-School over Tampa Catholic
Championship: U-School over Trinity Catholic
We ran the table with our picks, going 4-0 Friday night. However, there were two surprises. The first is that a two-loss Booker team advanced by just two points on their home court. The second is just how dominant Leesburg was away from home. The Yellow Jackets look locked in right now.
Tallahassee Rickards over Palatka
Leesburg over Sarasota Booker
Championship: Leesburg over Tallahassee Rickards
We gagged our way to a 1-3 record on Friday, an epic fail. Its clear that Choctaw learned its road lesson from last season and was ready this time. Cape Coral has now won three straight road games, none more shocking that Friday night’s victory. Can they keep it up for two more games? We truly thought that Northeast would be at home on Saturday when they played Doral Academy. Should have realized that wasn’t the case. This may be the most wide-open foursome in Lakeland; any team could win.
Choctaw over Tampa Hillsborough
Doral Academy over Cape Coral
Championship: Choctaw over Doral Academy
We continued our slump as we went just 2-2 on Friday night. Our “home rule” theory didn’t hold up as three of the four teams won on the road. Ely is looking like Ely but all three games and possible four championship scenarios look very entertaining.
Winter Haven over Creekside
Ely over St. Petersburg
Championship: Ely over Winter Haven
Things got better for us as we finished 3-1 with our picks. West Orange’s double-digit win on the road was the biggest shock of the weekend. The Warriors have won three games on the road and for that achievement they get to face nationally-ranked Oak Ridge in one semi-final. Wellington carries its unbeaten record into this coming Friday’s matchup with a talented Miramar team. Let’s throw out a hypothetical: If Wellington finishes undefeated, including a win over Oak Ridge, will they get an invite to the Geico Nationals (f/k/a Dick’s Invitational)?
Oak Ridge over West Orange
Wellington over Miramar
Championship: Oak Ridge over Wellington