Hawthorne girls up to No. 4 in regional all-classification rankings

Basketball
Basketball

The high school girls basketball season is moving into the home stretch with only a few weeks remaining until district tournament play.

And as this week’s all-classification regional ranking reveals, there is no consensus No. 1 team either.

Among the significant recent action, Raines (Jacksonville) won the Gateway Conference tournament for the second straight year, edging No. 5 Ribault (Jacksonville), 55-52, in the championship game.

The Vikings (15-4) have won eight games in a row since a 53-51 loss to No. 3 Spruce Creek (Port Orange) on December 17. Raines also had wins over No. 4 Hawthorne and then-No. 11 Flagler Palm Coast in that span.

Those wins were enough to grab three of the nine first-place votes and move up four spots to become the No. 1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll for the first time the season.

Oakleaf (Orange Park) remained second.

The Knights (15-1), who received two first place votes this week, defeated then-No. 1 Nease (Ponte Vedra) and No. 14 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) before dropping their first game of the season at No. 4 Hawthorne, 51-47, in the Hornets’ MLK Day Shootout.

Spruce Creek (Port Orange) remains third in this week’s poll.

The Hawks (15-4) also pick up two first-place votes as they won games over Nease and No. 16 Flagler Palm Coast.

Hawthorne (12-3), which received one first-place vote, moves up three spots and into the top five after the upset win over Oakleaf. The Hornets’ only loss over the past two weeks came against Raines.

Rounding out the top five is Ribault. The Trojans (14-4) beat Andrew Jackson and No. 13 Fletcher (Neptune Beach) to advance to the Gateway final, where they suffered a tough loss to Raines.

Mainland leads off the second five at No. 6. The Bucs (15-1) continue to roll, as they’re now winners of seven in a row, including over No. 9 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).

Seventh-ranked St. Augustine (15-1) is the fifth and final team to earn a first-place vote this week. The Yellow Jackets have won nine in a row since their only loss, in overtime at Nease.

Nease, ranked No. 1 in the previous poll, drops all the way to eighth. That’s because the Panthers (14-4) have recently dropped three games to ranked teams: Oakleaf, Spruce Creek, and Bishop Kenny.

Bishop Kenny and Wildwood round out the top 10.

New to the rankings this week are No. 19 Episcopal (Jacksonville) and No. 20 Bartram Trail (St. Johns).

Dropping out from the previous poll are No. 17 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), which has canceled the rest of its regular season schedule and won’t play again until district tourney play due to COVID-19 concerns, along with No. 19T Eustis and No. 19T Ponte Vedra.

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 GIRLS BASKETBALL POLL No. 4

(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 1/18, and total voting points)

1. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (3) (15-4) – 171

2. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (7A) (2) (15-1) – 156

3. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (2) (15-4) – 149

4. Hawthorne (1A) (1) (12-3) – 148

5. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (14-4) – 146

6. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (15-1) – 144

7. St. Augustine (5A) (1) (15-1) – 141

8. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (14-4) – 121

9. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (12-8) – 107

10. Wildwood (1A) (11-2) – 95

11. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (10-3) – 91

12. Crystal River (4A) (13-2) – 53

13, Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (6A) (16-1) – 52

14. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (3A) (10-4) – 49

15. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (10-2) – 43

16. Flagler Palm Coast (7A) (10-5) – 37

17. St. Joseph Academy (St, Augustine) (3A) (16-0) – 35

18. Trenton (1A) (16-2) – 33

19. Episcopal (St. Augustine) (3A) (9-4) – 22

20. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (12-6) – 19

Also receiving votes: North Marion (Citra) (4A) (11-3) – 16; Eustis (4A) (8-4) – 10; Ponte Vedra (5A) (10-5) – 10; Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (3A) (15-4) – 9; Lecanto (5A) (12-4) – 7; North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (7-0) – 5; Madison County (1A) (6-3) – 4; Branford (1A) (9-2) – 3; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (6-3) – 3; Leesburg (5A) (8-2) – 3; Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (6-7) – 3; Hernando Christian Academy (Brooksville) (2A) (9-0) – 2.

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