GAINESVILLE — The high school boys basketball season has made it into the state playoffs as the road to Lakeland and the RP Funding Center begins today for the teams in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
And if district tournaments were any indication, we are in a for a wild ride with all kinds of movement in the rankings.
In this week’s poll, you have to look no further than the new No. 1 team in the all-classification regional rankings, the Bolles (Jacksonville) Bulldogs.
Bolles (20-4) went 4-0 over the last couple of weeks including two wins over then No. 12 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville), and the Bulldogs captured the District 4-4A tournament title with their third win over the Crusaders this season, 64-52 at home last Friday.
Bolles moves all the way up from 7th in the previous poll while receiving four of the nine first-place votes and is in the top spot for the first time this season. The Bulldogs do face a tough Region 1-4A playoff opener on Thursday against No. 8 Paxon (Jacksonville).
Paxon was forced into the opening round game at Bolles after losing the District 3-4A championship game to red-host West Nassau (Callahan) 64-49.
The red-hot Warriors (17-11), led by Georgia Tech signee Deebo Coleman, who averages 24 points per game, have won 11 in a row and haven’t lost since January 2 against Eastside (Gainesville).
They move into the rankings this week at No. 16. West Nassau opens up play in a Region 1-4A quarterfinal Thursday night against No. 15 Bishop Kenny.
Speaking of Eastside, the Rams saw their 17-game winning streak come to an end in the District 5-4A championship game, 42-41, against No. 7 Santa Fe (Alachua). The Rams (21-2) have lost both of their games to Santa Fe this season and drop out of the top spot to 2nd this week despite receiving a first-place vote.
Eastside was scheduled to travel to No. 11 The Villages in a Region 2-4A quarterfinal on Thursday, but on Wednesday night it was announced The Villages had to forfeit the game due to COVID-19 issues.
The Rams will play the winner of the Central (Brooksville) at Santa Fe (Alachua) game next Tuesday in the 4A region semifinal round.
Ponte Vedra moves up two spots to 3rd.
The Sharks (21-4) dropped a couple of games to close the regular season against then-No. 11 Nease (Ponte Vedra) and then-No. 12T Episcopal (Jacksonville) but knocked off Deltona and St. Augustine to capture the District 4-5A title.
Ponte Vedra opens up their hopeful road to Lakeland in the 5A regional quarterfinals against Terry Parker (Jacksonville). The Sharks also pick up two first-place votes this week.
Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville), who had been No. 1 in many of the previous polls, drops from 2nd previously to 4th after dropping the District 2-3A championship game to No. 6 Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville).
The Tigers (16-6) had to work just to get past Episcopal, 42-34, in the district semifinal round, before coming up short in the district final against the Cardinals. Jackson now hits the road for a Region 1-3A quarterfinal game on Thursday at Florida High (Tallahassee).
As for Bishop Snyder, they knocked off then-No. 3 Providence (Jacksonville), 43-40, in the District 2-3A semifinal before beating Jackson in the championship game. The Cardinals (19-8) move up two spots from the previous rankings and receive the final two first-place votes in this poll. Bishop Snyder opens up regional play against Maclay (Tallahassee) on Thursday.
Speaking of Providence, the Stallions finish their season 21-5 and drop seven slots to 10th. Providence failed to make the FHSAA state playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Columbia (Lake City) is 5th.
The Tigers (18-5) had a 10-game winning streak snapped in the District 2-6A final at Lincoln (Tallahassee), 64-57, and now hit the road to the Panhandle to play a surprise district champion in Tate (Cantonment).
Following 7th-ranked Santa Fe and Paxon at No. 8 is 9th-ranked Forest (Ocala).
The Wildcats (15-6) are up a spot after knocking off Mainland (Daytona Beach), 68-62, to win the District 4-6A championship. Now Forest faces a tough first-round matchup of their own against No. 17 Fleming Island (Orange Park).
Fleming Island was the top seed in District 3-6A but was upset by third-seed Fletcher (Neptune Beach). The Senators (18-9), led by high-scoring senior Zyhir Sims, move into the poll as they are tied for 19th with Episcopal.
Fletcher opens up Region 1-6A play at home against Mainland.
This will be the last poll until after the FHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland from March 3-6.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, baseball & softball 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 – 2020-21 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #7
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 2/12, and total points)
1. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (4) (20-4) – 168
2. Eastside (Gainesville) (4A) (1) (20-2) – 159
3. Ponte Vedra (5A) (2) (21-4) – 153
4. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (3A) (16-6) – 152
5. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (18-5) – 133
6. Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (3A) (2) (19-8) – 132
7. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (16-5) – 128
8. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-7) – 110
9. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (15-6) – 103
10. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (21-5) – 97
11. The Villages (4A) (19-7) – 66
12. Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (5A) (17-9) – 65
13. Wildwood (1A) (18-7) – 59
14. Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (16-8) – 54
15. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (13-10) – 49
16. West Nassau (Callahan) (4A) (17-11) – 47
17. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (17-10) – 43
18. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (17-6) – 26
19T. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (19-6) – 23
19T. Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (6A) (18-9) – 23
Also receiving votes: Leesburg (5A) (13-4) – 19; Hawthorne (1A) (12-9) – 18; Palatka (4A) (15-8) – 16; Williston (1A) (15-5) – 6; Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (4A) (18-9) – 2; P.K Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (14-10) – 2; Madison County (1A) (11-7) – 1; Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (20-6) – 1.