Regional First Round Previews: Class 4A thru 6A
We continue our look at Thursday’s upcoming first round regional games taking place across the state.
District Upsets: Other than Admiral Farragut, #2 seed in District 4, all of the expected teams made it to the regional round of the playoffs.
Toughest Region: Region 1 in North Florida looks to be a loaded foursome with four of the top nine teams in the classification. Providence (#2), Bishop Snyder (#4), P.K. Yonge (#5) and Maclay (#9) would each be worthy winners of the region.
Best Opening Matchup: Bishop Snyder on the road at P.K. Yonge in Gainesville features two what appear to be two evenly matched teams, at least on paper. Both teams are young so don’t be surprised if there are some nerves in the early going. P.K. Yonge will need all of the home advantage they can get to offset Snyder’s super soph Corey Walker.
Best Chance for an Upset: Tampa Prep got embarrassed in the district final this past weekend. I can’t imagine that the Terrapins will let that happen two games in a row. The Master’s Academy in Oviedo is a tough place to play and Jose Placer and company are more than ready to take the next step toward Lakeland. Still, Tampa Prep is an experienced program with loads of success on the playoff road. No matter the outcome, it won’t be a surprise.
P.K. Yonge over Bishop Snyder
Providence over Maclay
Master’s Academy over Tampa Prep
Carrollwood Day over Santa Fe Catholic
Westminster Academy over Scheck Hillel Community School
Benjamin over Miami Country Day
Sports Leadership & Management (SLAM) over Marathon
Palmer Trinity over Florida Christian
District Upsets: In the Panhandle, #3 seed West Florida bounced the #2 seed Walton in the District 1 semis. Chaminade-Madonna was unable to get past the semi-finals in a loaded District 13 that included U-School and Calvary Christian. A couple of finals surprises were The Villages falling to Trinity Catholic in District 6 and St. John Paull II of Boca Raton going down to Coral Springs Charter. Also, Oasis Charter out of Cape Coral took the District 10 title from Community School of Naples in a bit of an upset.
Toughest Region: Region 3, which spreads across the state from Tampa south to Naples and east to Palm Beach and Broward Counties, includes seven teams ranked in the Top 25. There should be some highly competitive games in this part of the bracket over the next week and a half.
Best Opening Matchup: The Villages at Lake Highland Prep could be one of the best games regardless of class on Thursday. Each team has a star scorer (Tre Mann, Villages; Nick Honor, Lake Highland), a complimentary wingman (Byron Smith, Villages; Jasen West, Lake Highland), a serviceable big inside to protect the paint and grab rebounds, as well as a solid cast of role players. The Oxbridge Academy/St.John Paul II game in Palm Beach is also a matchup that should be more than entertaining.
Best Chance for an Upset: Windemere Prep was the one seed in District 6 was unable to come away with a neutral court victory last Friday. Their record at 13-14 is less than stellar but their beyond challenging regular season schedule should have them prepared to face a solid Ocala Trinity Catholic squad. If 6’6 mega-athlete Shaquan Jules is back for the Lakers, that will help their cause even more.
Pensacola Catholic over Marianna
Gadsden County over West Florida
Raines over Newberry
Bolles over Bradford
Trinity Catholic over Windemere Prep
Lake Highland over The Villages
Melbourne Central Catholic over Avon Park
Holy Trinity Episcopal over McKeel Academy
Tampa Catholic over Community School of Naples
Berkeley Prep over Oasis Charter
Oxbridge Academy over St. John Paull II Academy
Coral Springs Charter over Inlet Grove
U-School over Monsignor Pace
Mater Lakes Academy over Calvary Christian Academy
Gulliver Prep over Key West
Westminster Christian over Booker T. Washington
District Upsets: In scanning the brackets, the only upset that we came across was Immokalee winning District 12 over Cape Coral Mariner. Other than that, it was all status quo.
Toughest Region: Region 4, which runs from north of Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale, has four of the top nine teams in the classification, including top ranked and last year’s champion Leesburg. To return to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Leesburg will most likely have to play a top ten team each game, should they win at home on Thursday.
Best Opening Matchup: Bishop Moore of Orlando heads to Rockledge for a game that features a contrast in styles. Rockledge likes to push the pace while Bishop Moore while slow the pace in search of a good shot, which is usually an open three. Bishop Moore has faced uptempo teams like Rockledge this season and has more than held their own. Also, don’t be surprised if many of the Bishop Moore faithful make the drive to the coast to cheer on their Hornets.
Best Chance for an Upset: While Mariner doesn’t have the guard play it did last year in reaching Lakeland last year, they do have quite a bit of size and that could give St. Pete Gibbs some trouble come Thursday night. Expect Gibbs to counter with high-scoring guards Tre Gilliam and David Pierce. Gibbs better make their first shot attempt of the possession because they might not get another one if Jahmel Myers and Nehemiah Garrett dominate the glass.
Panama City Rutherford over Tallahassee Godby
Tallahassee Rickards over Panama City Bay
Bishop Kenney over Westside
Orange Park over Ribault
Palatka over North Marion
Eastside over Ponte Vedra
Nature Coast Tech over Zephyrhills
Ridgewood over Brooksville Central
Tampa Jesuit over Lake Wales
Sarasota Booker over Tampa Robinson
Gibbs over Mariner
Immokalee over Bayshore
Leesburg over Satellite
Rockledge over Bishop Moore
Plantation American Heritage over Suncoast
Stranahan over Port St. Lucie