GHS girls move into power poll top 20

Photo credit - Aleksander Grozdanovski: Shutterstock

One of the best girls basketball programs in the North Central Florida area the last four years is still the No. 1 team in the final regular season all-classification regional rankings.

Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville), which has made four straight FHSAA state semifinal appearances, including back-to-back title game appearances in 2019 (6A) and 2020 (4A), received all nine first-place votes to stay on top of The Prep Zone Power Poll.

The Crusaders (24-1), who have won 21 in a row since their only loss to Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale), are the No. 3 overall team in Florida according to the FHSAA rankings.

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They had wins against No. 2 Oakleaf (Orange Park) by 13, No. 13 Mainland (Daytona Beach) by 21, No. 9 Bolles (Jacksonville) by 15, previous No. 20 North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) by 9, and No. 17 University Christian (Jacksonville) by 18 since last the poll.

District tournament play gets underway this week and Bishop Kenny is the No. 1 seed in 4A-District 4. They will play either No. 4 seed Beachside (Jacksonville) or No. 5 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine) in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Bolles, which is the No. 2 seed in that district and could face Bishop Kenny for the district title, remained No. 9 in the power poll. The Bulldogs (17-8) have won five of their last six, including a 57-39 win against previous No. 20 NFEI in Friday’s regular season finale.

Oakleaf moved up one spot to second in the rankings following wins against No. 6 Ridgeview (Orange Park), 64-56, on a neutral floor at the MLK tournament at Orange Park on Jan. 16, and versus No. 4 Nease (Ponte Vedra) at home, 76-54, on Jan. 5.

The Knights (21-2), the No. 1 seed 6A-District 3, had an 18-game winning streak snapped with a 57-44 loss at Bishop Kenny on Jan. 19. They are ranked No. 3 in Class 6A by MaxPreps.

Previous No. 2 Spruce Creek (Port Orange) dropped one spot to third.

The Hawks (19-5) have dropped just one game in 2022, falling to current No. 10 Ponte Vedra, 49-46, on a neutral floor at the Bishop Kenny Shootout on Jan. 21. They are ranked No. 2 in Class 7A & 11th overall in Florida by MaxPreps.

Nease (18-5), which is ranked No. 7 in 6A and 35th overall by MaxPreps, and Wildwood round out the top five.

The No. 5 Wildcats (19-1) moved up three spots following their 10th straight win since their only loss, 48-46, at home against 6A Gainesville, which has moved into the rankings at No. 20.

Wildwood has been a model of consistency in Class 1A. Last year’s state runners-up, who won back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018, have made three straight regional final appearances.

Meanwhile, GHS is the No. 1 seed in 6A-District 2 and will play either No. 4 seed Buchholz or No. 5 Lincoln (Tallahassee) in Wednesday’s district semifinals. The Lady Hurricanes (12-7) are currently the No. 3 seed in Region 1 behind Oakleaf and Nease.

Ridgeview is ranked No. 6, followed by St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), Providence (Jacksonville), Bolles, and Ponte Vedra in the top 10.

University Christian moved into the rankings at No. 17 following top 10 wins against current No. 7 SJCD, 70-63, and No. 9 Bolles, 48-45.

In addition to Gainesville High, other teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area include No. 12 P.K. Yonge, which has been playing with just eight players this season, and Hawthorne and Keystone Heights, who are receiving votes.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.


(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)

Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area.

1. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (9) (24-1) – 180

2. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (21-2) – 167

3. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (19-5) – 165

4. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (18-5) – 151

5. Wildwood (1A) (19-1) – 135

6. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (18-7) – 120

7. St. John’s Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (14-5) – 112

8. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (17-5) – 110

9. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (17-8) – 98

10. Ponte Vedra (6A) (13-8) – 87

11. Lake Minneola (6A) (18-4) – 79

12. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (13-3) – 72

13. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (14-8) – 67

14. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (14-9) – 57

15. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (12-7) – 49

17. West Port (Ocala) (7A) (18-5) – 46

17. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (11-4) – 38

18. St. Augustine (5A) (17-6) – 37

19. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (15-9) – 34

20. Gainesville (6A) (12-7) – 21

Also receiving votes: North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (12-8) – 23; New Smyrna Beach (6A) (16-5) – 14; Hawthorne (1A) (9-5) – 13; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (12-9) – 9; Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (18-6) – 3; Keystone Heights (4A) (16-8) – 2; Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (14-7) – 1.

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