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: The only real upset was Franklin County knocking off #1 seed Blountstown in District Four. This bounced Blountstown out of the playoffs as Panama City Bozeman had a higher FHSAA ranking. Newberry, the #1 team in Class 1A lost in the district final to Trenton but because of its high ranking Newberry makes it into the playoffs.
Toughest Region: Region Four has #1 Newberry, #2 Hawthorne, #6 Trenton and # 8 Williston. All of the other regions have at least one team ranked in double-digits. Whichever team makes it out of this region will be a tough opponent in Lakeland.
Best Opening Matchup: Newberry has to go on the road to play Trenton in hopes of redeeming itself after losing in the district final. This is one of the better rivalries in Class 1A so things will get very spicy on Thursday night. If you like a game between teams with gaudy records, Bozeman at 22-4 travels to Malone who sports a 22-4 record. Of the sixteen teams in the playoffs, Bozeman, Malone, Paxton, and Altha, have 20 or more wins.
Best Chance for an Upset: The Poplar Springs vs Jay contest features the two competitors closest in their FHSAA ranking. The teams met last year in this same situation and Poplar Springs was able to advance. Will things be any different this time?
Paxton over Freeport
Poplar Springs over Jay
Malone over Bozeman
Franklin County over Altha
Bradford over Bell
Hawthorne over Williston
Trenton over Newberry
District Upsets: The only upset to occur was FAMU getting bounced in the district semis by St. John Paul II, thus keeping the Baby Rattlers out of the playoffs. While top seeds International Community School of Winter Park and Universal Academy both lost in their respective district finals, each had a high enough ranking to advance into regional play.
Toughest Region: Region Two host #1 Orlando Christian Prep as well as #2 Central Florida Christian Academy. Mount Dora Christian has lot only one game all season and comes in at #7 while #6 Lakeland Victory Christian is a more-than-dangerous five seed. Still, until someone can actually take down OCP, it is the Warriors title to lose.
Best Opening Matchup: By the numbers, it should be #13 Jacksonville Impact Christian Academy visiting #12 St. Joseph Academy out of St. Augustine. Impact has reached the final four the past two years and desperately hopes that the third time is the charm.
Best Chance for an Upset: Looking over the schedule of games for Thursday night, higher rated teams on the road like Munroe, Victory Christian, Southwest Florida Christian or Highlands Christian don’t seem likely to lose. The one possibility may be City of Life Christian at Mt. Dora Christian. City of Life has a higher strength of schedule so if that is supposed to matter this would be a game that could prove it.
Jacksonville North Florida Educational over Jacksonville University Christian
Munroe over Tallahassee St. John Paul II
Crossroad Academy over Tallahassee North Florida Christian
Jacksonville Impact Christian Academy over St. Augustine St. Joseph Academy
Orlando Christian Prep over Orlando Faith Christian
Lakeland Victory Christian over Ormond Beach Calvary Christian
Central Florida Christian Academy over Winter Park International Community
Mount Dora Christian over City of Life Christian
Naples First Baptist Academy over Naples Seacrest Country Day
Fort Myers Southwest Florida Christian over Zephyrhills Christian
Bradenton Christian over Tampa Universal Academy
Tampa Cambridge Christian over St. Petersburg Canterbury
Weston Sagemont over West Palm Beach Atlantic Christian
Pompano Beach Highlands Christian over Lake Worth Christian
Morningside Academy over Miami Christian
True North Classical Academy over Sheridan Hills Christian
District Upsets: There is no question that Class 3A is the most talented and toughest classification in the state this season. Despite some upsets, very few teams expected to reach regionals failed to make it. Fort Myers Gateway won District 8 which effectively eliminated Community School of Naples and Fort Myers Canterbury. Clearwater Calvary Christian had the #2 seed sowed up but lost to Admiral Farragut in the district tourney, thus dropping Calvary to a five seed. In South Florida, Boca Raton St. Andrew’s was looking at a #1 seed in its region until losing to SJP II. St. Andrew’s still makes it in but as a #6 seed. Finally, Westminster Christian’s district tournament title knocked Somerset Academy South Homestead out of the playoff picture.
Toughest Region: Five of the top ten teams in Class 3A are in the Region One bracket. Providence School has to face district foe Episcopal in the first round as does Florida High facing Maclay. Bishop Snyder, ranked #10 despite a 13-12 record, will be a tough game for #8 Trinity Catholic at home in Ocala. Finally, while P.K. Yonge is young team, the 16th ranked Blue Wave will no doubt provide a challenge to #7 Windermere Prep.
Best Opening Matchup: By the numbers, #20 St. Pete Northside Christian at #18 Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, along with #11 Somerset Prep North Lauderdale at #13 Miam Country Day, should be the two closest contests of the night. Only four points separates Mooney and Northside while just five separate MCD and Somerset. Numbers aside, the Trinity Catholic/Bishop Snyder game in Ocala arguable features the most talent on the floor.
Best Chance of an Upset: There really aren’t that many compelling choices for an upset in this classification on Thursday night. Maybe Episcopal’s three-pointers fall against Providence? Maybe Maclay size advantage is put to use against Florida High? Maybe Admiral Farragut continues its run? Just not all that likely.
Jacksonville Providence over Jacksonville Episcopal
Ocala Trinity Catholic over Jacksonville Bishop Snyder
Florida High over Tallahassee Maclay
Windermere Prep over Gainesville P.K. Yonge
Tampa Catholic over Tampa Brooks-DeBartolo
Clearwater Calvary Christian over Fort Myers Gateway
Sarasota Cardinal Mooney over St. Petersburg Northside Christian
Tampa Berkeley Prep over St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut
Benjamin over Cardinal Newman
Holy Trinity Episcopal over Jupiter Christian
Boca Raton SJP II over Fort Pierce John Carroll
Westminster Academy over Divine Savior
Florida Christian over Westminster Christian
Riviera Prep over Ransom Everglades
Miami Country Day over North Lauderdale Somerset Prep