Hawthorne ranked No. 11 in final regional poll

As the girls basketball season comes to an end, no team in the Prep Zone Power Poll area earned a state title this season. 

While some teams were close, no program has made advancing to the FHSAA Girls State Basketball Championships more of a tradition than the Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) Crusaders. 

Bishop Kenny advanced to the 4A state semifinals at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland for the fourth straight year. After finishing as state runner-up in 2019 and 2020, the Crusaders lost in the 4A Final Four for the second straight season, this time to Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale). Lake Highland Prep (Orlando) defeated Calvary Christian in the state championship game to capture their third consecutive state title.

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Gainesville's Leyah Houston driving

Bishop Kenny, led by UNF signee Maddie Millar, won 22 of 23 games after a 3-3 start to the season. The Crusaders (25-5) received six of seven first-place votes to finish as the top-ranked team once again in the final Prep Zone Power Poll for girls basketball and second in last year’s final power poll

Moving up four spots to finish No. 2 is Nease (Ponte Vedra). The Panthers (25-5) lost in the District 4-6A semifinals, but made it into the state playoffs as a wild card choice. Nease won at No.7 Ponte Vedra in the opening round, made the long trip to Navarre to win a region semifinal, and upset then-No. 3 St. Augustine to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2019.

Nease lost in the 6A state semifinals to eventual state champion St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), but that was enough to move Nease all the way to No. 2. 

Spruce Creek (Port Orange) finishes at No. 3. The Hawks (21-7) drop a spot from the previous poll after being eliminated at Colonial (Orlando) in the Region 1-7A final. 

State 1A runner-up Wildwood comes in at No. 4. The Wildcats (19-5), who received the other first-place vote, blasted then-No. 9 Hawthorne 60-26 in the Region 4-1A final to advance to Lakeland and the 1A state semifinal for the first time since 2018. After taking care of Port St. Joe in the state semifinals, Wildwood came up one point short against Ponce de Leon, who won their second straight state title. 

St. Augustine rounds out the top five. The Yellow Jackets (23-2) came up just short of their second straight trip to the 6A state semifinals with a loss to Nease in the Region 1-6A final. 

The second half of the top ten starts off with No. 6 Orange Park. The Raiders (24-6), seeking their first Final Four appearance, came up a game short of a trip to Lakeland as they lost in the Region 1-5A final to Pine Forest (Pensacola), after finishing first in last year’s final power poll

Following Ponte Vedra at No. 7 is eighth-ranked Mainland (Daytona Beach). Providence (Jacksonville) finishes No. 9 after dropping the Region 1-3A final at Florida High (Tallahassee). 

Finally rounding out the top 10 is Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville). The Tigers (16-11) easily won their opening round 4A playoff game at Dunnellon before being knocked out by Rutherford (Panama City) in the Region 1-4A semifinal round. 

Fort White's Jacovya Major dribbles around defense

Among the second 10 is No. 14 University Christian (Jacksonville), who moves into the final rankings after advancing to the 2A state semifinals. The Christians (18-12) lost a close 37-33 decision to Faith Christian (Orlando) in Lakeland. 

Finishing at No. 16 is1A state semifinalist Madison County. The Cowgirls (19-7) advanced to the Final Four for the second time in three years, and also move into the final poll. 

Ribault (Jacksonville) and Keystone Heights, ranked 19th and 20th previously, both drop out of the final poll.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls volleyball, 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, and total voting points)

1. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (6) (25-5) – 139

2. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (25-5) – 129

3. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (21-7) – 123

4. Wildwood (1A) (1) (19-5) – 118

5. St. Augustine (6A) (23-2) – 112

6. Orange Park (5A) (24-6) – 104

7. Ponte Vedra (6A) (19-8) – 92

8. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (14-10) – 77

9. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (20-6) – 76

10. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (16-11) – 73

11. Hawthorne (1A) (16-6) – 62

12. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (17-4) – 57

13. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (7A) (12-12) – 52

14. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (18-12) – 50

15. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (21-5) – 38

16. Madison County (1A) (19-7) – 29

17. St. John’s Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (21-6) – 26

18T. Dunnellon (4A) (24-4) – 22

18T. Eustis (4A) (16-10) – 22

20. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (17-10) – 20

Also receiving votes: Episcopal (Jacksonville) (12-11) – 10; Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (20-5) – 8; Calvary Christian (Ormond Beach) (2A) (21-3) – 4; Keystone Heights (4A) (19-6) – 3; Ridgeview (Orange Park) (16-11) – 3; Fort White (1A) (17-3) – 2; Gainesville (6A) (14-8) – 2; Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (16-11) – 2; Ribault (Jacksonville) (5A) (12-9) – 2.


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