Providence maintains unanimous No. 1 ranking

Basketball
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The high school basketball regular season is winding down for 2022-23 with a little over two weeks until district tournaments. 

Once again, the boys team at the top is Providence (Jacksonville). And the Stallions are also once again a unanimous No. 1 team. 

Providence (16-1) has won six games in a row since their only loss of the season to 7A No. 3 and No. 7 overall statewide Winter Haven in the semifinals of the Kingdom of the Sun tournament in Ocala. 

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The Stallions, ranked No. 1 in 3A and No. 5 statewide, picked up wins the last two weeks against No. 10 Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville), No. 12 Orange Park, No. 6 Ponte Vedra, and Bolles (Jacksonville). That was enough to give Providence all eight first-place votes again this week. 

North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) moves up a spot to No. 2 this week. The Eagles (13-5), ranked third in 2A and No. 24 overall in Florida according to MaxPreps, also beat Impact Christian 65-57 on the road and picked up wins over the fifth-ranked team in Georgia, Alexander (Douglasville), Booker T. Washington (Pensacola), and San Jose Prep (Jacksonville) with their only loss coming on the road to The Rock (Gainesville) national team. 

Paxon (Jacksonville) drops a spot to No. 3. The Golden Eagles (14-3) defeated No. 14 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) but dropped games to Orange Park and Johnson (GA). 

Oakleaf (Orange Park) keeps rolling and moving up the rankings, this week up three spots to 4th. The Knights (16-1) have won 11 games in a row since their only loss, which came in overtime to top-ranked Providence on Dec. 9 at the Fortegra Invitational in Jacksonville. Oakleaf pounded Orange Park 76-45 and beat Bartram Trail (St. Johns) over the last two weeks. 

Rounding out the top five is Ribault (Jacksonville). The Trojans (15-3) also beat Impact Christian Academy 58-41 and First Coast (Jacksonville), with their only loss over the last two weeks to 5A No. 1 and No. 21 overall Suncoast (Riviera Beach) at the MLK Classic at Ed White (Jacksonville). 

Ponte Vedra drops three slots to No. 6. The Sharks (11-5) beat Palatka and Creekside (Jacksonville), but also lost to Suncoast and Providence.

Gainesville is at No. 7. The Hurricanes (14-4) are up two spots this week and have won six games in a row since a loss at the buzzer to Fort Myers at the Holiday Hoopfest in Naples on December 27. Gainesville picked up road wins at Buchholz (Gainesville) and Eastside (Gainesville) and also held off No. 13 Columbia (Lake City) 63-62

Rounding out the top 10 is No. 8 Nease, 9th-ranked Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) and Impact Christian at No. 10. 

Bishop Kenny continues its rapid ascent in the rankings, up six spots and into the top 10 at No. 9. The Crusaders (15-3) have won nine games in a row since a loss to Belen Jesuit (Miami) at the St. Pius Christmas tournament in Atlanta on Dec. 27. Bishop Kenny’s other two losses came to Nease and Paxon. 

Episcopal (Jacksonville) is the only new team in the poll this week at No. 20. The Eagles (13-5) replace Leesburg, who was ranked No. 17 in the previous poll. 

In the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area, Columbia (Lake City) dropped one spot to No. 13 after going 2-2 since the last rankings were released on Jan. 6.

Santa Fe (Alachua) moved up three spots to No. 16. The Raiders (13-5) are riding an 11-game winning streak since starting the season 1-5.

Williston, Hawthorne and Oak Hall all received votes in this week’s power poll.

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.

THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL BY ANYTIME FITNESS OF GAINESVILLE – 2022-23 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #4

(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record through 1/16, and total voting points)

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

1. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (8) (16-1) – 160

2. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (13-5) – 146

3. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (14-3) – 139

4. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (16-1) – 128

5. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-3) – 125

6. Ponte Vedra (6A) (11-5) – 120

7. Gainesville (6A) (14-4) – 111

8. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (14-4) – 101

9. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-3) – 89

10. Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (12-6) – 88

11. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (12-5) – 87

12. Orange Park (6A) (13-7) – 56

13. Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (11-7) – 50

14. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (9-9) – 47

15. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (11-6) – 39

16. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (13-5) – 38

17T. St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) (2A) (12-4) – 33

17T. The Villages (4A) (11-6) – 33

19. Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (13-4) – 24

20. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (13-5) – 20

Also receiving votes: New Smyrna Beach (6A) (13-2) – 10; North Marion (Citra) (4A) (12-4) – 8; Williston (1A) (13-5) – 7; Interlachen (3A) (14-4) – 4; Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (12-6) – 4; Leesburg (5A) (8-7) – 4;  Umatilla (4A) (16-2) – 2; Hawthorne (1A) (4-2) – 1; Oak Hall (Gainesville) (2A) (11-2) – 1.

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