Our picks in the first round of regional action came in a somewhat-disappointing 6-2. In Region Two, Four Seed Cottondale went on the road to #1 Sneads and won by two while Third Seed Franklin County did likewise to #2 Blountstown, winning by four. In the other games, the home teams all won by double-digit margins.
Best Matchup: How can it be any game other than #2 Williston at #1 Wildwood? The two teams have actually played twice already with Williston winning each time. However, this game is at Wildwood and the previous two games can be thrown out as this is for “all the marbles”. Actually, every game on Tuesday night could be excellent as #4 Newberry plays #5 Hawthorne, #6 Jay plays #9 Chipley and #14 Cottondale takes on #15 Franklin County.
Best Chance for an Upset: Any of the four visiting teams could win and it wouldn’t be considered an upset. Conversely, as we’ve seen in the past, the home court is a huge advantage. There will be no upsets in Class 1A Tuesday night.
Jay over Chipley
Franklin County over Cottondale
Hawthorne over Newberry
Wildwood over Williston
Surprisingly, we only stumbled once in our first round picks. Kudos to Clearwater Lakeside Christian for going on the road and defeating St. John Neumann in Naples. Their reward is a trip to Tampa to play the region’s top seed in SLAM Academy. While we are happy with our record, we are very disappointed at some of the “beat downs” that took place in this classification Thursday night. There were A LOT of 20+ point wins and that just isn’t good for the sport.
Best Matchup: By the numbers, #7 Dade Christian at #6 Jupiter Christian should be the best match-up. Jupiter Christian has a big advantage inside in 6’8 senior Matthew James. Dade Christian’s tallest player goes 6’5 so it will be a collective effort for DC to win the battle on the boards. Other top ten matchups for Tuesday night include #5 Jacksonville Impact Christian in a district rematch vs #9 St. Augustine St. Joseph and #4 Lakeland Victory Christian hosting #8 Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy.
Best Chance for an Upset: From the outside looking in, the best chance for an upset might be Quincy Crossroad Academy taking on Jacksonville North Florida Educational. The FHSAA bracket states the game is at Crossroad but NFEI is the one seed so something seems off. This should be a dynamic matchup between Kris Parker of Crossroad and Isaac Tevarus of NFEI. Both are tough to contain regardless of the defense and can carry a team in their respective back.
Jacksonville North Florida Educational over Quincy Crossroad Academy
Jacksonville Impact Christian over St. Augustine St. Joseph
Orlando Christian Prep over Mount Dora Christian
Lakeland Victory Christian over Orlando Central Florida Christian
Tampa SLAM over Clearwater Lakeside Christian
St. Petersburg Canterbury over Bradenton St. Stephen’s Episcopal
Weston Sagemont over Miami True North Classical
Jupiter Christian over Miami Dade Christian
Our record in 3A was a solid 14-2 as our only misfires were #5 Benjamin going on the road and defeating #4 Holy Trinity Episcopal in Melbourne while over in Tampa, #6 Brooks-DeBartolo took down #3 Berkeley Prep. From our understanding, possibly the game of the night regardless of class was Fort Myers Gateway Charter coming back from down double-digits in the fourth quarter to force OT with a three and then getting the win over Naples First Baptist Academy.
Best Matchup: A grudge match between Tallahassee Florida High and neighboring Maclay should bring out the crowd in the state capital and make for a great atmosphere. Florida High has been highly regarded all season and will no doubt want to get some payback after losing in the district title game to Maclay. Hopefully, “the boss” and/or “the genius that is” will be in attendance, tweeting their fingers off to provide details.
Best Chance for an Upset: Actually, there are quite a few teams that could pull off road wins and it wouldn’t be a shock. If Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin can go on the road and win in the first round, who is to say they can’t do it again at Windermere Prep against a young but talented team? We also think both games in Region Three, Fort Myers Gateway Charter at Tampa Catholic and Tampa Brooks-DeBartolo at Clearwater Calvary Christian could go either way. Both of those game feature great guard play and we wish our cloning device was back from the shop we could be at all of those games.
Jacksonville Providence over Oviedo The Master’s Academy
Tallahassee Florida High over Tallahassee Maclay
Windermere Prep over Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin
Riverview Bell Creek Academy over West Palm Beach King’s Academy
Tampa Catholic over Fort Myers Gateway Charter
Clearwater Calvary Christian over Tampa Brooks-DeBartolo
Miami Riviera Prep over Doral Divine Savior
Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy over Miami Country Day