18 Feb 2020

Class 4A & 5A First Round Region Previews


District Upsets: There weren’t many surprises once the dust settled on the Class 4A district tournaments.  Wins by DeSoto County in District 11 and Lincoln Park in District 12 kept higher-rated Avon Park and Inlet Grove out of the regionals.  Down south in District 15, Monsignor Pace’s district title kept Miami Springs from making the playoffs.  Otherwise, everything worked out according to “the numbers”.

Toughest Region:  Region 1 is quite the challenge as all eight teams in that part of the bracket are rated in the top twenty of the classification.  Road games for Pensacola to Jacksonville Paxon and Jacksonville Bolles going the opposite way to Panama City Rutherford will be looonnnggg!

Best Opening Matchup: Based strictly on ratings, #13 Marianna at #10 Gadsden County should be one of the closer contests on Thursday.  The Eustis at Eastside game is very intriguing as both teams have a senior leader, Bradley Douglas for Eustis and Korin Bradley for Eastside, that can carry a team on a playoff run.

Best Chance for an Upset: There are more than a few that would qualify.  Palatka at Bishop Kenny, Booker at Cocoa, North Broward Prep at Pine Crest and Hallandale at Gulliver Prep all are possibilities for a road team to sneak away with a “W”.  However, the best chance may be Alachua Santa Fe at Anclote.  Santa Fe has played a much tougher schedule and it’s doubtful that Anclote has seen anything like 6’8 junior Earnest Ross this season.

Our Picks:

Jacksonville Paxon over Pensacola HS

Panama City Rutherford over Jacksonville Bolles

Gadsden County over Marianna

Jacksonville Bishop Kenny over Palatka

Orlando Lake Highland Prep over Wesley Chapel

Anclote over Alachua Santa Fe

Gainesville Eastside over Eustis

The Villages over Citra North Marion

Tampa Catholic over St. Petersburg Gibbs

St. Petersburg Lakewood over Fort Pierce Lincoln Park

Titusville Astronaut over DeSoto County

Cocoa over Sarasota Booker

Fort Lauderdale University School over Hialeah Mater Lakes

Fort Lauderdale Stranahan over Miami Monsignor Pace

For Lauderdale Pine Crest over Fort Lauderdale North Broward Prep

Miami Gulliver Prep over Hallandale


District Upsets: There were a couple of noteworthy district tourney upsets, but nothing major.  Miami Northwestern’s win in District 16 essentially deprived Riviera Beach Suncoast from the final spot in Region 4.  The loss by Tampa Blake in its district final was a slight surprise but it didn’t alter who got in or who got left out.

Toughest Region: Region 4 features #1 Northeast and #2 Pines Charter, along with power programs Miami Norland and Boyd Anderson.  Belen Jesuit should not be overlooked.  All in all, it is a tough road to Lakeland for this region, and we’re not just talking Turnpike traffic.

Best Opening Matchup: How can you go wrong with Boyd Anderson at Norland?  With solid players on the floor and two championship coaches on the sideline, this is a marquee game.

Best Chance for an Upset:  Both Leesburg (at Rockledge) and Auburndale (at Land O’Lakes) have the horses to win on the road.  However, history has shown that South Florida teams can go into Okeechobee and win.  The Bulls record of 19-2 is stellar, but Belen Jesuit has played a much tougher schedule and should be more than ready.

Our Picks:

Jacksonville Lee over Pensacola Pine Forest

St. Augustine over Lynn Haven Mosley

Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee over Orange Park

Tallahassee Rickards over Jacksonville Westside

Sebring over Zephyrhills

Leesburg over Rockledge

Land O’Lakes over Auburndale

Orlando Jones over Lakeland Lake Gibson

Clearwater over Cape Coral Mariner

Port Charlotte over Tampa Blake

Naples over Bradenton Southeast

Tampa Jesuit over Gulfport Boca Ciega

Oakland Park Northeast over Plantation American Heritage

Pembroke Pines Charter over Miami Northwestern

Miami Norland over Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson

Miami Belen Jesuit over Okeechobee