Hawthorne, Columbia girls ranked in power poll

A little more than six weeks into the girls basketball season, some teams are more than halfway through the regular season as the holiday season comes to a close and 2022 begins.

Heading into the final stretch of the regular season and district tournaments coming in the first week of February, only one team remains unscathed with no losses to this point.

St. Augustine, who advanced to the 5A state semifinals a year ago, is off to a 16-0 start this season. For that reason, the Yellow Jackets receive five of the seven first-place votes in this poll and move up a tie for fifth in the preseason rankings to No. 1 this week.

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The Yellow Jackets have wins over No. 3 Nease (Ponte Vedra), eighth-ranked Mainland (Daytona Beach), RV (receiving votes) Fleming Island (Orange Park), and then-No.12 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) so far in 2021-22. St. Augustine, along with No. 7 Mandarin (Jacksonville), are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the poll.

Coming in at No. 2 is Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville). The Crusaders, who were in the 5A state title game in 2020 and the 4A final four a year ago, received a first-place vote in staying put in the second position. Bishop Kenny (13-4) has wins over No. 13 Ribault (Jacksonville), No. 15 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville), then-No.8 Raines (Jacksonville) and state-ranked Florida High (Tallahassee) to begin the season.

Nease (Ponte Vedra) moves up six spots to No. 3. The Panthers, ranked ninth in 6A and No. 37 overall statewide according to MaxPreps, have wins over then-No. 1 Oakleaf (Orange Park), then-No. 13 Buchholz (Gainesville), and have wins over No. 11T Orange Park and 18th-ranked Columbia (Lake City). Nease (12-3), has lot to top-ranked St. Augustine as well as a team from North Carolina and Tennessee.

Spruce Creek (Port Orange) remains No. 4. The Hawks (9-4) receive the final first-place vote and have defeated Oakleaf, Mainland, Bartram Trail and state-ranked Bishop Moore (Orlando). Their losses are to St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), ranked third overall in all classes statewide by MaxPreps, Gulf Coast (Naples), and two teams from Georgia and Oklahoma.

Hawthorne rounds out the top five. The Hornets (8-1), 1A state champions in 2020 and runner-up in 2021, defeated No. 16T North Marion (Citra) and RV P.K Yonge (Gainesville) on their way to winning the Hitchcock’s Classic girls tournament title in Alachua. Hawthorne’s only loss so far this season came by three points at Columbia.

Wildwood (9-3) leads off the second 10 at sixth. The Wildcats are followed by Mandarin, who has moved from unranked in the preseason poll all the way to seventh after an 11-0 start.

Mainland (Daytona Beach) is No. 8, followed by Providence (Jacksonville), who was also unranked in the preseason rankings but now comes in 9th after starting 11-3.

Ponte Vedra (10-5) moves up six spots and rounds out the top 10.

Another team making a big move this week is Orange Park. The Raiders (11-4), ranked third in 5A and 41st overall by Max Preps, were receiving votes in the preseason but now find themselves tied for 11th with another team making a big move, Trinity Catholic (Ocala).

Orange Park has beaten Ponte Vedra, RV University Christian (Jacksonville), Columbia and Buchholz with losses to Nease, Andrew Jackson, and Providence.

No. 11 Trinity Catholic (14-2) was also unranked previously.

North Marion is also new to the poll this week, tied for 16th with Oakleaf. Oakleaf was ranked No. 1 previously but falls to this spot after a 5-8 start.

The final team to make their debut in the poll this week is 1A Lafayette (Mayo). The Hornets have started the season 11-1 with the only loss at Madison County.

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.


(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 1/4, and total voting points)

1. St. Augustine (5A) (5) (16-0) – 137

2. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (1) (13-4) – 132

3. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (12-3) – 118

4. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (1) (9-4) – 116

5. Hawthorne (1A) (8-1) – 104

6. Wildwood (1A) (9-3) – 101

7. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (11-0) – 77

8. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (7-5) – 73

9. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (11-3) – 67

10. Ponte Vedra (6A) (10-5) – 63

11T. Orange Park (5A) (11-4) – 56

11T. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (14-2) – 56

13. Ribault (Jacksonville) (5A) (7-5) – 53

14. St. John’s Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (9-3) – 51

15. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-7) – 42

16T. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (8-4) – 35

16T. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (7A) (5-8) – 35

18. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (6-6) – 18

19. St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) (2A) (7-3) – 19

20. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (11-1) – 18

Also receiving votes: P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (6-4) – 17; Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (8-4) – 16; Dunnellon (4A) (13-2) – 12; Gainesville (6A) (8-4) – 11; University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (8-8) – 9; Keystone Heights (4A) (11-2) – 8; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (8-3) – 6; West Port (Ocala) (7A) (7-5) – 5; Trenton (1A) (7-5) – 3.

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