Region First Round Previews: Class 1A thru 3A
The various district tournaments are over and the fields for the regional rounds in each classification are set. Time to take a look at what took place and what lies ahead this coming Thursday.
District Upsets: Cottondale, the #3 seed in District 2, took out #2 Holmes County in a bit of a surprise. In District 4, Franklin County surprised Bozeman in a 2 vs. 4 matchup. That same scenario occurred in District 7 with Dixie County taking out Trenton.
Toughest Region: Region One has four of the top ten teams in Class 1A in Blountstown (#4), Laurel Hill (#6), Cottondale (#7) and Bethlehem (#9). There will be no easy games in this region over the next week and no matter which team survives, they will have no doubt earned their trip to Lakeland.
Best Opening Matchup: District 4 winner Port St. Joe hosts District 3 runner-up Chipley on Thursday night. While the programs aren’t at the same level as they were a few years ago, the matchup is still overflowing with tradition.
Best Chance for an Upset: Cottondale travels to Bethlehem in Bonifay. Of all the matchups of ranked teams on Thursday (six of the eight games), this one appears to be the closest on paper. We consider an upset to be a road team winning or a team ranked at least four spots lower pulling out a win. Cottondale has a solid chance of stealing one on the road.
Bethlehem over Cottondale
Blountstown over Laurel Hill
Baker over Franklin County
Port St. Joe over Chipley
Madison County over Hilliard
Hawthorne over Hamilton County
Bell over Frostproof
Wildwood over Dixie County
District Upsets: In District 3, #3 Halifax of Daytona took out neighboring #2 Ormond Beach Calvary Christian. Keystone Prep defeated #2 Bayshore Christian to advance in District 4. The rest of the classification was status quo.
Toughest Region: Region 3 in Central Florida features three of the top five teams in the classification with Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy (#2), Melbourne Florida Prep (#3), and Lakeland Victory Christian (#5) all vying for a spot at the RP Funding Center. Master’s Academy out of Vero Beach is considered a top twelve team as well.
Best Opening Matchup: Miami Schoolhouse Prep heads to Boca Raton Grandview Prep on Thursday night and it’s a case of the new kid on the block taking on the established program. Schoolhouse Prep is considered to have played a stronger schedule but Joe Dawson’s team is always well prepared come playoff time.
Best Chance for an Upset: Looking over the schedule of games for Thursday night, there isn’t really a contest that jumps out where a home team should be concerned or a higher ranked team on the road faces a challenge. Expect that status quo to remain after all the games have been completed.
Crossroad Academy over Eagle’s View
Impact Christian Academy over Aucilla Christian
NFEI over St. John Lutheran
Keystone Prep over Halifax Academy
Central Florida Christian Academy over Master’s Academy (Vero Beach)
Florida Prep over Victory Christian Academy
Grandview Prep over Schoolhouse Prep
Miami Christian over Atlantic Christian
District Upsets: There were a few that took place in this classification. Orlando Faith Christian got knocked out by Mount Dora Christian in the semi-finals on their home court. Miami Beach Hebrew Academy and Tallahassee St. John Paul II, both fell in the semi-finals of their respective district tournaments. First Baptist Academy of Naples defeated Fort Myers Canterbury in the district final. Canterbury had been unbeaten in district play up to that point.
Toughest Region: All four teams in Region Three are ranked. Fort Myers Canterbury (#3), Naples First Baptist Academy (#5), Bradenton Christian (#13) and Bradenton St. Stephen’s Episcopal (#16) should make for a very entertaining three games to determine who heads to Lakeland the first week of March.
Best Opening Matchup: North Lauderdale Somerset Prep hosts Delray Beach Village Academy on Thursday night. Both teams finished with only one loss in their respective districts. Both teams have similar scoring and defensive scoring averages so it should come down to the wire in North Lauderdale on Thursday night.
Best Chance of an Upset: We don’t really see one in this classification, though we think Mount Dora Christian and Fort Myers Canterbury, both highly ranked teams, can win on the road later this week.
Florida A&M over Trinity Christian
St. Francis Catholic over North Florida Christian
Orlando Christian Prep over All Saints Academy
Mount Dora Christian over St. Petersburg Canterbury
Fort Myers Canterbury over Bradenton Christian
First Baptist Academy over Saint Stephen’s Episcopal
Jupiter Christian over Champagnat
Somerset Prep over Village Academy