21 Feb 2018

Regional First Round Previews: Class 4A thru 6A

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


District Upsets: Other than Admiral Farragut, #2 seed in District 4, all of the expected teams made it to the regional round of the playoffs.

Toughest Region: Region 1 in North Florida looks to be a loaded foursome with four of the top nine teams in the classification.  Providence (#2), Bishop Snyder (#4), P.K. Yonge (#5) and Maclay (#9) would each be worthy winners of the region.

Best Opening Matchup: Bishop Snyder on the road at P.K. Yonge in Gainesville features two what appear to be two evenly matched teams, at least on paper.  Both teams are young so don’t be surprised if there are some nerves in the early going.  P.K. Yonge will need all of the home advantage they can get to offset Snyder’s super soph Corey Walker.

Best Chance for an Upset: Tampa Prep got embarrassed in the district final this past weekend.  I can’t imagine that the Terrapins will let that happen two games in a row.  The Master’s Academy in Oviedo is a tough place to play and Jose Placer and company are more than ready to take the next step toward Lakeland.  Still, Tampa Prep is an experienced program with loads of success on the playoff road.  No matter the outcome, it won’t be a surprise.

Our Picks:

P.K. Yonge over Bishop Snyder

Providence over Maclay

Master’s Academy over Tampa Prep

Carrollwood Day over Santa Fe Catholic

Westminster Academy over Scheck Hillel Community School

Benjamin over Miami Country Day

Sports Leadership & Management (SLAM) over Marathon

Palmer Trinity over Florida Christian


District Upsets: In the Panhandle, #3 seed West Florida bounced the #2 seed Walton in the District 1 semis.  Chaminade-Madonna was unable to get past the semi-finals in a loaded District 13 that included U-School and Calvary Christian.  A couple of finals surprises were The Villages falling to Trinity Catholic in District 6 and St. John Paull II of Boca Raton going down to Coral Springs Charter.  Also, Oasis Charter out of Cape Coral took the District 10 title from Community School of Naples in a bit of an upset.

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 Villages at Lake Highland Prep could be one of the best games regardless of class on Thursday.  Each team has a star scorer (Tre Mann, Villages; Nick Honor, Lake Highland), a complimentary wingman (Byron Smith, Villages; Jasen West, Lake Highland), a serviceable big inside to protect the paint and grab rebounds, as well as a solid cast of role players.  The Oxbridge Academy/St.John Paul II game in Palm Beach is also a matchup that should be more than entertaining.

Best Chance for an Upset: Windemere Prep was the one seed in District 6 was unable to come away with a neutral court victory last Friday.  Their record at 13-14 is less than stellar but their beyond challenging regular season schedule should have them prepared to face a solid Ocala Trinity Catholic squad.  If 6’6 mega-athlete Shaquan Jules is back for the Lakers, that will help their cause even more.

Our Picks:

Pensacola Catholic over Marianna

Gadsden County over West Florida

Raines over Newberry

Bolles over Bradford

Trinity Catholic over Windemere Prep

Lake Highland over The Villages

Melbourne Central Catholic over Avon Park

Holy Trinity Episcopal over McKeel Academy

Tampa Catholic over Community School of Naples

Berkeley Prep over Oasis Charter

Oxbridge Academy over St. John Paull II Academy

Coral Springs Charter over Inlet Grove

U-School over Monsignor Pace

Mater Lakes Academy over Calvary Christian Academy

Gulliver Prep over Key West

Westminster Christian over Booker T. Washington


District Upsets:  In scanning the brackets, the only upset that we came across was Immokalee winning District 12 over Cape Coral Mariner.  Other than that, it was all status quo.

Toughest Region: Region 4, which runs from north of Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale, has four of the top nine teams in the classification, including top ranked and last year’s champion Leesburg.  To return to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Leesburg will most likely have to play a top ten team each game, should they win at home on Thursday.

Best Opening Matchup: Bishop Moore of Orlando heads to Rockledge for a game that features a contrast in styles.  Rockledge likes to push the pace while Bishop Moore while slow the pace in search of a good shot, which is usually an open three. Bishop Moore has faced uptempo teams like Rockledge this season and has more than held their own.  Also, don’t be surprised if many of the Bishop Moore faithful make the drive to the coast to cheer on their Hornets.

Best Chance for an Upset: While Mariner doesn’t have the guard play it did last year in reaching Lakeland last year, they do have quite a bit of size and that could give St. Pete Gibbs some trouble come Thursday night.  Expect Gibbs to counter with high-scoring guards Tre Gilliam and David Pierce.  Gibbs better make their first shot attempt of the possession because they might not get another one if Jahmel Myers and Nehemiah Garrett dominate the glass.

Our Picks:

Panama City Rutherford over Tallahassee Godby

Tallahassee Rickards over Panama City Bay

Bishop Kenney over Westside

Orange Park over Ribault

Palatka over North Marion

Eastside over Ponte Vedra

Nature Coast Tech over Zephyrhills

Ridgewood over Brooksville Central

Tampa Jesuit over Lake Wales

Sarasota Booker over Tampa Robinson

Gibbs over Mariner

Immokalee over Bayshore

Leesburg over Satellite

Rockledge over Bishop Moore

Plantation American Heritage over Suncoast

Stranahan over Port St. Lucie