16 Feb 2022

First Round Region Previews: Class 4A & 5A


District Upsets: Palatka’s early loss in the District 4 tournament allowed Marianna to slide into the eighth seed in Region 1.  Likewise, Port Orange’s Atlantic’s early loss in District 6 allowed McKeel out of Lakeland to slide into the #7 slot in Region 2.  Anclote was out of the playoff picture in Region 3 but won the District 10 tournament.  That bumped the district’s top seed, Hudson, out of the playoffs.  Keys Gate from Homestead was out early in the District 16 tourney.  This allowed Hallandale to slip into the #8 spot in Region 4.

Toughest Region:  Region Four in South Florida clearly has the better grouping of teams, with the classification’s #1, #4, #5 and #6 teams.  As much as we believe that Calvary Christian of Fort Lauderdale is a huge favorite in the class, their close game against district rival North Broward Prep proves they won’t just waltz in and blow people away.

Best Opening Matchup: Cardinal Gibbons hosting U-School down in Fort Lauderdale is a district rematch that will offer plenty of intrigue.  If the Miami Killian team shows up in full force and plays they way they did with only six players in a win at the MLK I Have A Dream Challenge last month, they will give North Broward Prep all they can handle.

Best Chance for an Upset: Truthfully, there just doesn’t seem to be one.  Outside of North Broward Prep, all of the home teams are higher ranked than their Thursday opponents.  Not a lot of drama in this round.

Our Picks:

Jacksonville Jackson over Marianna

Alachua Santa Fe over Gadsden County

Jacksonville Paxon School over North Marion

Panama City Bay over Panama City North Bay Haven Academy

Orlando Lake Highland Prep over Cocoa

Lake Alfred Discovery over Deltona Pine Ridge

Satellite Beach Satellite over Lakeland McKeel Academy

The Villages Charter over Melbourne Palm Bay

St. Petersburg Gibbs over Bushnell South Sumter

Holiday Anclote over Parrish Community

Brooksville Central over St. Petersburg Lakewood

Port Charlotte over Sebring

Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian over Hallandale

North Broward Prep over Miami Killian

Miami Mater Lakes over Miami St. Brendan

Cardinal Gibbons over University School


District Upsets: Choctaw’s run to the final in District One gave them enough to put them in the playoffs and keep Green Cove Springs Clay out in Region One.  Tampa Jesuit was slated to be the top seed in Region Two if they had won their district tournament.  However, they lost to King and now slip to a fifth seed.  That win by King kept Orlando’s Bishop Moore out of the playoff hunt.  In the bay area, #4 seed Osceola’s surprising run to the district title knocked out Naples Golden Gate.  Down south in Region Four, Eau Gallie’s run to the district final gave them enough “cred” to oust Plantation American Heritage from the eighth and final spot in region play.

Toughest Region: Teams ranked #2, #3, #6, #8 and #9 all will battle for the Region Four title and a trip to the Final Four.  It would be quite entertaining if two of the top coaches in the state, Melvin Randall of Miami Northwestern and Lawton Williams of Norland were to meet up in the region semis.

Best Opening Matchup: Miami Northwestern, ranked #9, hits the road to take on #6 Rockledge.  Both teams have been some of the biggest surprises this season.  Rockledge is a tough place to play but Melvin Ely will have Northwestern ready.

Best Chance for an Upset:  It isn’t far fetched to see Clearwater winning on the road at Naples Barron Collier.  Also, the Springstead at Leesburg matchup is a replay of last weeks district final.  No doubt Springstead will have extra motivation after losing on their homecourt.

Our Picks:

Jacksonville Riverside over Choctaw

Daytona Beach Mainland over Tallahassee Godby

Orange Park over Jacksonville Ribault

Pensacola Pine Forest over Tallahassee Rickards

Orlando Jones over Kissimmee Gateway

Tampa Jesuit over Zephyrhills

Leesburg over Springstead

Tampa King over Auburndale

St. Petersburg over Seminole

Bradenton Southeast over Osceola

Punta Gorda Charlotte over Cape Coral Mariner

Naples Barron Collier over Clearwater

Fort Lauderdale Stranahan over Melbourne Eau Gallie

Miami Belen Jesuit over Riviera Beach Suncoast

Miami Norland over Okeechobee

Rockledge over Miami Northwestern


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