Friday night was one of one of the crazier night in the FHSAA State Playoffs for girls hoops which I could remember, a night just about no one will write or talk about in a statewide perspective. Again the FHSAA Playoffs showed their flaws in travel arrangements, player movement, and match ups. In football playoff seeding is done by a point system but no one must care about basketball enough to refine a system where the top two teams in the entire state could have to play for elimination in the Sweet 16 of the state tournament. Lets go class by class through Friday nights Regional Finals.
Class 9A Regional Final Results
Miami High over Ferguson - This is now three years in a row where MIami High entered the postseason as the favorite to win the state championship and will go home without a title. The previous years with Coach Gabriel Lazo the Falcons at least made it into the building at the Lakeland Center but this year they could not even do that going down in the Regional Final. There has been much speculation and talk about “how good” is Ferguson and their players “really” and for a team who in the last 10 years maybe had the most talent in Dade County they will be forgotten. The team currently has no Power 5 signees and now has no last shot at making history.
Spruce Creek over Colonial - Every game Spruce Creek played from the district championship on was closer than this game. I think it shows you that West Orange/Wekiva/Palm Coast were really somewhere in the 2/3/4 spots in this region. West Orange suffered some brutal injuries against Colonial which knocked them out of the playoffs. We will talk about our next regional final next but this win basically promises Creek a spot in the Final against Miami High.
Deerfield Beach over Santaluces - The meat of Broward County is almost all in 8A which clears a path for a large region and a second team to make it through to the Final Four. Boca and Wellington getting knocked off in consecutive rounds really threw a wrench into the entire bracket but now Deerfield has a shot at the State Title versus Miami High in the State Semi Final.
Oak Ridge over Central - 6 of the 8 Teams in Region 1 should have this spot in the Final Four. The way things are districted, not reorganized on how good teams are, and the lack of caring about the sport has really hurt the “State Tournament” for some time (at least since they’ve gone to 9A). I am excited for Jasmine Quarterman getting to play on the big stage but believe that Spruce Creek is the better team at this time
9A Final Four Predictions
Spruce Creek over Oak Ridge
Miami High over Deerfield Beach
Miami High over Spruce Creek
Class 8A Regional Final Results
Tampa Bay Tech over Gulf Coast - In a strange turn of events Tampa Bay Tech Gulf Coast’d Gulf Coast last night. 4 of Tech’s 5 top scorers were new to the team this year off a team which went 15-14 in 2016-2017 similarly to how Gulf Coast went from a 15-9 team to a 27-3 team with 3 new players which led the team in scoring. Neither team had played a great schedule until this point and having to go to Tampa to play had to be tough for Gulf Coast who played 22 of their 28 games within an hour of home. Tech is a coming team who I dont think can beat Winter Haven this year but certainly could be a favorite next winter.
Lincoln over Bartram Trail - This game was a lot closer than it should have been or I expected. Lincoln should be sending thank you cards to Bartram for knocking off Fleming Island because I dont think if they had played Fleming last night they would have won. Bartram was a year (or two) ahead of I think where they even thought where they would been this year and finished an awesome season. Playing a lot with two freshmen and a girl committed to play college softball they had an amazing run. For Lincoln this will be the first trip to Lakeland where they face Winter Haven and will have to play a lot better in the Lakeland Center than they did at home against Bartram Trail.
Winter Haven over Melbourne - I would have to ask Johnny Lawson (Winter Haven Head Coach) but is Melbourne the second best team in the State in 8A? Early lead for Melbourne and an almost comeback says they’re pretty good. In addition to the rout of Lake Howell earlier in the week. Winter Haven is the BEST team in the state and it’ll be their job to finish it off this week to get an invitation to Geico Nationals this week.
Nova over St. Thomas Aquinas - Like Bartram Trail many did not think St Thomas Aquinas would last past Day 1 of the FHSAA Region Tournament let alone make a push to Nova who had just lost once all year but thats exactly what they did. Put out Palm Beach Lakes, Ely (who they had lost to 3 times) and nearly scored the road upset over Nova. All for a team who just had 2 seniors and has to be one of the more attractive landing spots for players in South Florida. Nova is good, I think they have had better teams in the Mid-2000’s but they have played Winter Haven already and should have a pretty good feel what they’re getting into.
Class 8A Final Four Predictions
Winter Haven over Lincoln
Nova over Tampa Bay Tech
Winter Haven over Nova
Class 7A Regional Final Results
Choctaw over Nease - This goes in with Ferguson as one of the bigger upsets of the night. Nease who would have been the #2 seed if there was seeding in all of 7A has to travel 5 hours to Choctaw to play this game and gets beat. There is no benefit for having a good regular season. That being said Nease should have won the game with at least 3 Power 5 players and a ton of other talent. In the end it hurts the quality of the Final Four not having a team like Nease in it.
Fort Myers over Clearwater
Dillard over Norland
Father Lopez over Sunlake
Class 7A Final Four Predictions
Dillard over Fort Myers
Choctaw over Father Lopez
Choctaw over Dillard
Class 6A Regional Final Results
Ponte Vedra over Fivay
Mosley over Bishop Kenny
Lakewood over Robinson
AMerican Heritage over Rockledge
Class 6A Final Four Predictions
Ponte Vedra over Mosley
American Heritage over Lakewood
American Heritage over Ponte Vedra
Class 5A Regional Final Results
Fernandina over Florida High - This was an interesting game. I got reports that there were no officials and the game had to be held for an hour to get officials there. Once the officials arrived Fernandina avenged their loss last year in this same game scoring 72 points and getting to their first FHSAA Final Four in school history
Oxbridge over Tampa Catholic
Lake Highland over Cocoa
Cardinal Gibbons over Gulliver Prep
Class 5A Final Four Predictions
Fernandina over Lake Highland
Oxbridge over Cardinal Gibbons
Oxbridge over Fernandina