GAINESVILLE—The holiday season is usually vacation time for many folks or a time to visit friends and family.
But for high school basketball players, the holidays mean plenty of games and tournaments.
Those games played a decisive role in determining the latest placements in The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
The previous No. 1 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) Tigers had a hard time at the Chick-Fil-A Classic at Mainland (Daytona Beach), but they played some tough competition.
They lost three close games to 7A No. 8 Olympia (Orlando), 7A nationally ranked Dr. Phillips (Orlando), and 6A No. 7 Edgewater (Orlando). The last two losses came in triple and double overtime, respectively.
Despite those losses the Tigers (7-3) received five of the nine first-place votes to stay No. 1 in the first all-classification regional rankings of 2021.
Andrew Jackson will return to action for the first game of the new year this Friday against No. 13T Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).
Moving up to second in The Prep Zone Power Poll is Paxon (Jacksonville).
The Golden Eagles (8-3) finished third at the Battle of the Villages with wins over then-No. 12 Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) and then-No. 3 The Villages with their only loss coming by three points to 4A No. 6 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando).
Paxon received two first-place votes this week to move up three spots from the previous poll.
Providence (Jacksonville) makes an even bigger move, up six slots to third.
The Stallions (11-2), who are ranked sixth in 3A by Max Preps, won seven of eight games over the holidays, including victories over Carrollwood Day (Tampa) and Santa Fe (Alachua) at former Gator Dan Cross’ Florida Get Down Holiday Showcase at St. Francis Catholic Academy in Gainesville.
They also had victories over 7A No. 10 Evans (Orlando) and Christ Church Episcopal (South Carolina) at the Rock Holiday Classic at Windermere Prep.
Providence also picked up wins over No. 6 Forest (Ocala) and No. 15 Episcopal (Jacksonville) with their only loss over that span coming to Mount Pisgah Christian (Georgia).
Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) is also up three spots to fourth.
The Cardinals (8-2) defeated Sagemont (Weston) 66-47 at the Sunshine State Showdown at Coconut Creek last week.
Rounding out the top five this week is Eastside (Gainesville).
The Rams (8-1) received a first-place vote as well as they defeated West Nassau (Callahan) 71-59 and Calvary Christian (Clearwater) 82-78 in overtime last weekend at the Florida Get Down Holiday Showcase in Gainesville.
After 6th-ranked Forest in the second five is Palatka at No. 7.
The Panthers also received a first-place vote even though they lost 86-62 at West Nassau (Callahan) and 68-66 to No. 18 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) at the Jarvis Williams Holiday Classic in Palatka.
Despite the first-place vote, Palatka drops three spots from the previous poll.
Following Palatka and rounding out the top 10 are No. 8 Bolles (Jacksonville), ninth-ranked Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville), and No. 10 The Villages.
The Generals (6-3) have lost three games in a row after a 6-0 start, dropping games to Andrew Jackson, 6A No. 1 East Lake (Tarpon Springs), and nationally ranked No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton).
Lee also has lost its top two scorers, as Alex Fudge, who averaged 18.6 ppg, left to enroll early at LSU, and Terrenece Guinyard, who scores 17.3 ppg, also left the team.
New to the rankings this week are No. 16 Nease (Ponte Vedra), which advanced to the championship game of the Blue Devil Holiday Classic in Green Cove Springs before losing to Concord (North Carolina). The Panthers (8-3) handed No. 12 Ponte Vedra its first loss of the season in the tourney semifinal on their way to the championship game.
P.K. Yonge also moves in this week at No. 18, along with No. 20 Lecanto, which remains undefeated at 10-0.
Dropping out from the previous poll is Impact Christian Academy, Santa Fe, and Fleming Island (Orange Park).
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, volleyball, basketball, baseball and 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). Sportswriters and sportscasters vote weekly on the poll, which is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2020-21 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #3
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 1/3, and total voting points)
1. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (3A) (5) (7-3) – 168
2. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (2) (8-3) – 161
3. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (11-2) – 157
4. Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (3A) (8-2) – 146
5. Eastside (Gainesville) (4A) (1) (8-1) – 143
6. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (7-2) – 135
7. Palatka (4A) (1) (8-2) – 125
8. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (6-1) – 110
9. Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (5A) (6-3) – 107
10. The Villages (4A) (6-5) – 68
11. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (4-3) – 67
12. Ponte Vedra (5A) (11-1) – 65
13T. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (5-3) – 59
13T. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (5-6) – 59
15. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (9-3) – 56
16. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (8-3) – 38
17. Hawthorne (1A) (2-3) – 37
18. P.K Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (7-3) – 35
19. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (6-5) – 29
20. Lecanto (5A) (10-0) – 27
Also receiving votes: Wildwood (1A) (6-5) – 23; Creekside (St. Johns) (6A) (7-2) – 17; Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (3-5) – 17; First Coast (Jacksonville) (6A) (3-1) – 12; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (5-6) – 9; Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (6-4) – 8; Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (7-3) – 7; West Nassau (Callahan) (4A) (6-11) – 6; Madison County (1A) (3-1) – 3; Gainesville (6A) (5-4) – 1; North Marion (Citra) (6-2) – 1; Orange Park (5A) (6-3) – 1.