Four area boys teams ranked in regional top 20

Basketball on the court
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The district tournaments are in the books for high school boys basketball.

And now as the state playoffs get underway, there are plenty of district champions and other teams who qualified for the playoffs that will start working towards their dream of a state title. 

But one team has been at the top of the Prep Zone Power Poll all season and remains there again this week. 

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The Providence (Jacksonville) Stallions had no trouble winning the District 3-3A tournament, beating No. 15 Episcopal (Jacksonville) and Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) by a combined 69 points. The Stallions (25-2), who are ranked No. 1 in 3A by Max Preps and No. 5 overall in all classifications, receive all nine first-place votes again this week. 

Providence opens play in a Region 1-3A quarterfinal Thursday against Interlachen. 

Oakleaf (Orange Park) remains No. 2. The Knights (23-1) slipped by No. 11 Nease (Ponte Vedra) 38-32 in the District 2-6A semifinal, then beat No. 5 Ponte Vedra 48-47 in a thriller of a championship game. Oakleaf has won 18 games in a row since their only loss in overtime on Dec. 9 to Providence and opens in the 6A-Region 1 quarterfinal against Tate (Cantonment). 

North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) moves back up a spot to No. 2. The Eagles (19-8) had no problem in the District 2-2A tournament, winning their three games by 55, 45, and 46 points respectively. NFEI blasted Harvest Community (Jacksonville), 84-38, in the title game and will be at home to start the 2A playoffs against another district champion in Redeemer Christian (Ocala). 

Ribault (Jacksonville) moves up one spot to No. 4 after winning the District 3-4A tourney. The Trojans (22-4) beat rival Raines (Jacksonville) 75-26 in the semifinal and then handled No. 13 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) 62-45 for the district championship. Ribault hosts Godby (Tallahassee) Thursday in a Region 1-4A quarterfinal. 

Ponte Vedra rounds out the top five. The Sharks (19-6) drop two spots from the previous poll after the tough one-point loss to Oakleaf in the tourney championship game. Despite being the No. 1 seed in Region 1-6A, Ponte Vedra hits the road to Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel) for their opening round game. 

Paxon (Jacksonville) leads off the second five. The Golden Eagles (19-5) knocked off top-seed and No. 16 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) 57-39 to take the District 4-4A title. Paxon opens play in a 4A region quarterfinal against South Walton (Santa Rosa Beach). 

Gainesville is up one spot to No. 7 after taking the District 2-6A tournament. The Hurricanes (21-6) defeated Leon (Tallahassee) 61-42 in the tourney semifinal and slipped past rival Buchholz (Gainesville), 59-55, for the district title. Gainesville opens play in the Region 1-6A quarterfinal on Thursday against rival Forest (Ocala). 

Mainland (Daytona Beach) is No. 8 after easily winning the District 4-5A tournament and the Bucs (21-5) host Rickards (Tallahassee) in Region 1-5A quarterfinal on Thursday.

Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) remains ninth as the Lions (18-8) romped over Christ’s Church (Jacksonville) and No. 18 St. Joseph Academy to win District 2-3A. Impact Christian is home on Thursday against North Florida Christian (Tallahassee). 

Columbia (Lake City) rounds out the top 10. The Tigers (18-9) had no trouble in the District 2-5A tournament, beating Ridgeview (Orange Park) and Rickards by a combined 83 points. Columbia opens in the Region 1-5A quarterfinal against Pine Forest (Pensacola). 

As for North Central Florida teams, Santa Fe (Alachua) drops one spot to No. 12 after the Raiders (20-6) saw their 18-game winning streak come to an end with a 71-69 loss to North Marion (Citra) in the District 5-4A championship game. Santa Fe is the No. 1 seed in Region 1-4A but hits the road for a region quarterfinal on Thursday at No. 8 seed Palm Bay (Melbourne). 

Williston moves into the rankings this week at No. 20. The Red Devils (21-7) switched spots with Wildwood after knocked off the Wildcats 70-60 to capture District 7-1A. Williston is the No. 2 seed in Region 4-1A and hosts Chiefland in a region semifinal. 

North Marion moves into the poll at No. 17. The Colts (20-6) blasted Palatka in the District 5-4A semifinal before knocking off Santa Fe for the district title. North Marion has won 14 of their last 16 games with their only losses coming to Forest and Hawthorne in that span. The Colts host Umatilla in a Region 2-4A quarterfinal on Thursday. 

Dropping out from the previous poll along with Wildwood is Orange Park. The Raiders were tied for 13th in the previous rankings, but did not quality for the state playoffs after a 59-25 loss to Ponte Vedra in the District 3-6A semifinals. 

This will the final Prep Zone Power Poll until after the FHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland from March 1-4. 

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 weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.


(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record through 2/13, and total voting points)

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

1. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (9) (25-2) – 180

2. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (23-1) – 168

3. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (19-8) – 156

4. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (22-4) – 149

5. Ponte Vedra (6A) (19-6) – 144

6. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-5) – 130

7. Gainesville (6A) (21-6) – 125

8. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (21-5) – 122

9. Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (18-8) – 112

10. Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (18-9) – 108

11. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (18-8) – 87

12. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (20-6) – 86

13. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-12) – 58

14. The Villages (4A) (19-8) – 57

15. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (21-6) – 55

16. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-8) – 43

17. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (20-6) – 28

18. St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) (2A) (20-6) – 23

19. Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (21-6) – 18

20. Williston (1A) (21-7) – 16

Also receiving votes: Wildwood (1A) (19-7) – 10; Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (16-10) – 7; Orange Park (6A) (18-9) – 7; Forest (Ocala) (6A) (19-7) – 5; Hawthorne (1A) (9-6) – 5; Riverside (Jacksonville) (5A) (14-11) – 3; Central (Brooksville) (4A) (21-6) – 1; Lecanto (5A) (22-4) – 1. 

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