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.
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.
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