The various district tournaments are over and the fields for the regional rounds in each classification are set. Time to look at what took place and what lies ahead this coming Thursday.
District Upsets: Because districts were seeded by the FHSAA’s power rankings derived from Max Preps, we are defining an upset as a #1 or #2 seed not making it to the district final. In 1A, the only upset was #3 Trenton ousting #2 Union County in the District 6 semi-final. Trenton continued its winning ways from there, knocking off #1 seed Bell in the final.
Toughest Region: Region has #1 Milton as well as #5 Jay as a district runner-up. Graceville and Poplar Springs are rated #10 and #11 respectively. Either road team could conceivably win. Because of the limited geography of Class 1A, this would be a good place to experiment with taking all sixteen teams and seeding them one through sixteen and running the Class 1A tournament that way. That would ensure the better teams reach the Final Four.
Best Opening Matchup: There are a couple of good ones. Wildwood, ranked #2 behind undefeated Central of Milton, welcomes #6 Williston. Wildwood has the greatest strength of schedule by far in Class 1A. Arguably the best matchup will feature Milton Central hosting Graceville. Central is undefeated on the season while Graceville brings back a lot of experience from last year’s region finalist. Also, Graceville was our pre-season choice as the team to beat in 1A.
Best Chance for an Upset: We can see Jay going on the road and winning at Poplar Springs. The strength of schedule favors Jay. However, winning on the road is tough, so Jay better be prepared to play after a long bus ride.
Central (Milton) over Graceville
Poplar Springs (Graceville) over Jay
Malone over Franklin County
Quincy Crossroad Academy over Altha
Madison County over Bell
Trenton over Hamilton County
Hawthorne over Vanguard
Wildwood over Williston
District Upsets: Four different districts had upsets take place. In District 1, #4 St. John Paull II out of Tallahassee defeated #1 seed Munroe in the semis. In that same district, #3 seed FAMU ousted #2 North Florida Christian. In District 6, #3 Brandon Academy defeated #2 Foundation Academy in the semis. In District 12, #3 Covenant Christian defeated #2 Merritt Island Christian in the semis. Finally, in District 15, #3 Sheridan Hills ousted #2 Avant Garde Academy in the semis.
Toughest Region: Of the eight teams that reached regional play in Region 2, five are ranked in the top twenty-five. Bayshore Christian vs SWFL Christian features the #14 and #12 teams while First Baptist Academy – Naples vs. St. Pete Canterbury has #6 vs. #25. Region 3 had four ranked teams, all in the top eight, but Orlando Christian Prep seems to be more than head and shoulders above everyone else.
Best Opening Matchup: By the numbers, it should be #12 SWFL Christian Academy visiting #14 Bayshore Christian. Bayshore reached the final four last year and desperately wants to return to Lakeland.
Best Chance for an Upset: Looking over the schedule of games for Thursday night, higher rated teams on the road like North Florida Educational Institute, Kissimmee City of Life and Mount Dora Christian don’t seem likely to lose. Truthfully, there aren’t any higher ranked teams, at home or on the road, that look in danger of losing on Thursday night.
FAMU over Redeemer Christian
St. Francis over SJP II
NFEI over University Christian
Impact Christian over Christ’s Church Academy
Academy at the Lakes over Brandon Academy
Cambridge Christian over Zephyrhills Christian
Bayshore Christian over SWFL Christian
FBA-Naples over St. Pete Canterbury
Mount Dora Christian Academy over Ormond Calvary Christian
Central Florida Christian Academy over Halifax Academy
Orlando Christian Prep over Covenant Christian
City of Life over St. Edward’s
Atlantic Christian over Highlands Christian
Grandview Prep over Berean Christian
Sheridan Hills Christian over Miami Christian
Brito over Champagnat
District Upsets: There is no question that Class 3A is the most talented and toughest classification in the state this season. Consequently, some very good teams are done for the season. In District 1, #3 Maclay defeated #2 Pensacola Catholic in the semis. Bishop Snyder ousted #2 Providence in District 2. #4 Trinity Prep in District 4 ousted #1 Windermere Prep in the semis. In that same district, #3 The First Academy sent home #2 The Master’s Academy. In District 5, #3 Carrollwood Day defeated #2 Berkeley Prep in the semis then #1 Bishop McLaughlin in the finals over much controversy. In District 7, #3 Parrish Community sent home #2 St. Stephen’s in the semis. Finally, in District 10, #3 Westshore ousted #2 John Carroll in the semis.
Toughest Region: Of the eight teams in the Region 3 bracket, six are ranked in the top twenty-five. Region 1 had three teams in the top five but for depth it is Region three.
Best Opening Matchup: At the top of the list is #4 Jacksonville Jackson taking on #2 Florida High in Tallahassee. Both teams have been near the top of the power rankings in Class 3A all season long. Calvary Christian from Clearwater hosting #10 Bishop McLaughlin also looks to be one of the better matchups of the night. Finally, last year’s champ St. Andrew’s hosts a strong Westminster Academy team. That game may have the most college prospects on the floor.
Best Chance of an Upset: Canterbury of Fort Myers has a higher ranking and better strength of schedule than host Bradenton Christian. That could be an upset special. Should Jackson and/or Westminster Academy win on the road, it wouldn’t be considered an upset as both teams are ranked and playing an opponent with a similar ranking. There really aren’t that many compelling choices for an upset in this classification on Thursday night.
Florida High over Jacksonville Jackson
Bishop Snyder over Maclay
P.K. Yonge over Trinity Prep
Orlando The First Academy over St. Joseph’s
Carrollwood Day over St. Pete Catholic
Bishop McLaughlin over Calvary Christian*
Canterbury over Bradenton Christian
Community School of Naples over Parrish Community
Santa Fe Catholic over West Shore
Holy Trinity over Lakeland Christian
St. Andrew’s over Westminster Academy
Calvary Christian over Jupiter Christian
Chaminade over SLAM Academy
Miami Country Day over Somerset Academy
Florida Christian over Palmer Trinity
Westminster Christian over Archbishop Carroll
*If Bishop McLaughlin has to play their JV due to COVID issues like they did in the district finals, then Clearwater Calvary wins handily.