19 Feb 2019

First Round Region Previews: Class 4A thru 6A

We continue our look at Thursday’s upcoming first round regional games taking place across the state. 


District Upsets: The big upset would be Jacksonville Providence losing in the district final to University Christian.  Granted that was on UC’s home court but it still puts a team ranked in the top ten overall in the state regardless of class on the road for the rest of the regional tournament.  Which means a tough game at P.K. Yonge on Thursday night.  The only other upset appears to be Florida Christian not making the district finals in South Florida’s district seven.

Toughest Region: Region 2 houses teams ranked anywhere from #6 to #10.  Tampa Prep (#8) is on the road at #9 The Master’s Academy in Oviedo, a rematch of last year’s regional semi-final.  Seffner Christian (#6) hosts Santa Fe Catholic (#10) out of Lakeland.  That could be one of the best games of the night regardless of class.

Best Opening Matchup While we are very intrigued by the Seffner Christian/Santa Fe Catholic matchup, the best matchup on Thursday should be #1 Providence on the road at #4 P.K. Yonge in Gainesville.  Yonge won a nail-biter last year on their homecourt.  No doubt a senior-laden Providence wants revenge and redemption.

Best Chance for an Upset: No games really pop out as potential upsets.  Benjamin (#11) on the road at Sagemont (#13) and #20 Palmer Trinity hosting #19 Riviera Prep are two games where the road team is ranked slightly higher.  Because the teams in those games are so evenly matched, it won’t surprise no matter who wins.

Our Picks:

P.K. Yonge over Providence

University Christian over Maclay

Westminster Academy over Miami Country Day

Sagemont over Benjamin

The Master’s Academy over Tampa Prep

Seffner Christian over Santa Fe Catholic

Sports Leadership & Management (SLAM) over Marathon

Palmer Trinity over Riviera Prep


District Upsets: There were several upsets in this classification after the district tournaments were concluded.  Melbourne Holy Trinity (#10), Orlando Jones (#16), and Titusville Astronaut (#20) were each stunned in the district semis.  District final upset victims include Orlando The First Academy (#21), Marianna (#23), Jacksonville Jackson (#3), and maybe the biggest of all, Tampa Catholic (#6).  At least they will get a chance at redemption in the regional round.  It will just be a bit more difficult than expected.

Toughest Region: Region 3, which spreads across the state from Tampa south to Naples and east to Palm Beach and Broward Counties, includes seven teams ranked in the Top 25.  There should be some highly competitive games in this part of the bracket over the next week and a half.

Best Opening Matchup: The game that intrigues most in this classification on Thursday night is Cardinal Newman at St. Andrew’s down in Boca.  Each team has a big man inside that can score, rebound, and block shots as well as solid athletes out on the perimeter. 

Best Chance for an Upset: McKeel Academy of Lakeland has a sterling record of 19-2 but is only ranked #24.  Melbourne Central Catholic comes calling on Thursday and while not ranked in the top 25, they have played a more challenging schedule and could pose a real threat on the road.

Our Picks:

Walton over Marianna

Florida High over Pensacola Catholic

Bolles over Fort White

Jackson over Bradford

Berkeley Prep over LaBelle

Tampa Catholic over Community School of Naples

Oxbridge Academy over Coral Springs Charter

St. Andrew’s over Cardinal Newman

The Villages over The First Academy

Trinity Catholic over Lake Highland Prep

Cocoa over Avon Park

McKeel Academy over Melbourne Central Catholic

University School over Monsignor Pace

Chaminade over Mater Lakes Academy

Booker T. Washington over Keys Gate

Westminster Christian over Gulliver Prep


District Upsets:  The big shocker was top ranked Orlando Bishop Moore falling in the semis to Poinciana in the District 13 tournament.  Poinciana continued its run by defeating #14 Eustis.  Farther south, #16 Lake Wales took out both #11 Sebring and #6 Booker to win District 10.  This leaves a very good Sebring team at home as well as sends pre-season favorite Booker on the road for the regional round.  Finally, Hallandale knocked off #24 American Heritage in the semis of District 16. The one district final upset of note was Crystal River over #22 Nature Coast.

Toughest Region: Region 4, which runs from north of Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale, has seven of eight teams ranked in the top 25.  Stranahan is the heavy favorite, ranked #3, but will have to most likely battle a ranked opponent each time out to get to Lakeland.

Best Opening Matchup: Sarasota Booker faces an uphill battle taking on #9 Tampa Jesuit.  Jesuit’s home gym is a tough place to play and it will be a vast contrast in styles.  Booker will want to push the pace while Jesuit prefers a slower tempo.

Best Chance for an Upset: We are giving #13 Alachua Santa Fe a solid chance at #8 Palatka on Thursday night.  Santa Fe has played a bit stronger schedule so maybe that will have them read for a test on the road.  It won’t be easy as Palatka has shown great persistence the last couple of seasons in reaching the final four. 

Our Picks:

Tallahassee Godby over Panama City Mosely

Tallahassee Rickards over Panama City Bay

Paxon School over Orange Park

Bishop Kenny over Westside

Jesuit over Booker

Lake Wales over Robinson

Lakewood over Immokalee

Lely over Gibbs

Palatka over Santa Fe

Eastside over Clay

Crystal River over Zephyrhills

Anclote over Nature Coast

Poinciana over Titusville

Rockledge over Eustis

Suncoast over Hallandale

Stranahan over Port St. Lucie