Ranking boys’ basketball in Alachua County

new+high+school+basketballHigh school basketball in Alachua County has actually been pretty good this season from top to bottom.  The top three teams in the county are state-ranked, while as many as eight have a chance to make the postseason.

P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) moved to the top spot after defeating GHS last Thursday at home.  The Blue Wave have a tough match-up tonight at Hawthorne, while Gainesville plays state-ranked Leesburg.

Here’s our boys’ basketball rankings for Alachua County, plus a preview of the top three games in Gainesville during the final week of the regular season.logo-PKY-Blue-Wave-GIF

  1. P.K. Yonge (19-3) – Undefeated against Alachua County, including wins over Gainesville, Buchholz & Eastside; three losses by a total of eight points, including a 66-62 loss at defending 3A state champion Providence (Jacksonville)
  2. Gainesville (19-4) – wins over 7A Buchholz (twice), Eastside, P.K. Yonge & Santa Fe; also have losses to Santa Fe and P.K. Yonge
  3. Hawthorne (18-5) – Hornets are ranked 2nd in the state in Class 1A but have played another tough schedule
  4. Buchholz (11-10) – Class 7A Bobcats lost by only six at state-ranked P.K. Yonge and defeated 5A Eastside by 21; only lost at GHS by four; beat North Marion, which was ahead of Santa Fe in the league standings, by 30
  5. Santa Fe (10-12) – Coming off a 64-54 loss to P.K. Yonge, their 2nd loss to the Blue Wave; defeated North Marion, 72-53, last week to force a 3-way tie for first with Eastside & North Marion in 5A-District 6; had a win at GHS in December which snapped the Purple Hurricanes’ 21-game home court winning streak; won 2/3 against Eastside
  6. Eastside (9-9) – young team (no seniors) with potential, but might be a year away; Pop Williams has only missed the playoffs twice in his 19 seasons as head coach; Rams have lost six in a row heading into the final week of the regular season (North Marion, Santa Fe, Bradford, Gainesville, P.K. Yonge & Hawthorne)
  7. St. Francis Catholic (19-4) – two of their losses to P.K. Yonge in the district; lost at 1A #6 Hamilton County, 63-38, this past Saturday.
  8. Newberry (11-9) – lost at Hawthorne by 21 & at P.K. Yonge by 20
  9. Oak Hall (13-9) – Eagles improving with back-to-back wins; will be the #3 seed in next week’s 3A-District 3 tournament being P.K. Yonge & St. Francis Catholic; former Gator assistant Monte Towe is on the staff

Thursday, Jan. 21 – P.K. Yonge (19-3) at Hawthorne (18-5)

An Alachua County showdown between state-ranked teams.  The visiting Blue Wave are ranked 7th in Class 3A.  Hawthorne has been ranked No. 2 in Class 1A all season.

It’s been quite the run for P.K. Yonge, which is undefeated against Alachua County this year & has wins over Gainesville, Buchholz, Eastside & Santa Fe, 64-54 (on Tuesday night).  Jarvis Roberts led the way with 16.  The win over GHS last Thursday was the first win for the Blue Wave seniors over the Purple Hurricanes.  The Blue Wave have won seven in a row and all three of their losses have been by a combined eight points.  P.K. Yonge went 6-0 in their district & will be the #1 seed in next week’s 3A-District 3 tournament.  They get a good test tonight against Hawthorne and their regular season finale at home tomorrow night against Class 1A #6 Hamilton County.

Hawthorne has a chance to make it back to Lakeland – where they lost in the Class 1A state title game a year ago.  The Hornets defeated 5A North Marion, 61-50, last night.  Nick Baskin led the way with 15 points.  In fact, all of their wins in the past week been against higher classifications.  They defeated 4A Interlachen last Friday and they won at 5A Eastside on Saturday.  They’ve also played against 5A Vanguard (Ocala), 5A Rockledge, 7A Winter Haven & 8A Southridge (Miami), who they only lost to by three.  The Hornets will be the #1 seed in the 1A-District 6 tournament next week so this is a good test at home against the Blue Wave before the postseason begins.

Thursday, Jan. 21 – Leesburg at Gainesville (19-4)

Another Top-10 match-up.  Gainesville is ranked 7th in the state in Class 6A.  The visiting Yellow Jackets are ranked 9th in Class 5A.

GHS won at Buchholz on Tuesday night.   They improved to 14-3 against the Bobcats under coach Kelly Beckham and they’ve now won 19 of the last 22 meetings in the series.  The Purple Hurricanes have bounced back from the loss at P.K. Yonge last Thursday to beat Bradford & Buchholz but the competition gets tougher tonight.

Leesburg enters the game with a 20-3 record.  They’ve won nine games in a row.  They compete in 5A-District 13 with Poinciana, who is also a 20+ win team so it’s likely those two teams will come out of that district and perhaps be a name you might here again this season when the state playoffs begin in two weeks.

Friday, January 29 – Eastside vs. Gainesville (at Santa Fe College)

Gainesville won the first meeting 67-52 but it was a 5-point game in the 3rd quarter.  Rudy Bibb-Boyd led the way for Gainesville with 19 points, but he’s struggled lately because of injury and only had four against Buchholz and four last week against P.K. Yonge.  He’s the only senior on the team and their other four starters are juniors – Isaiah Wilson, Macaiah LaQuah, Kaijon Scott & Jalin Pugh who are capable of scoring in double figures on any given night.  In fact, against Eastside two weeks ago, three of them had 9 apiece and Pugh had 12.

This is a young Eastside team (no seniors).  They’ve been starting two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior.  The Rams do have potential.  They played Hawthorne close this past Saturday night and only lost by four.  However, despite the close game, it was their sixth straight loss (following losses to North Marion, Santa Fe, Bradford, Gainesville & P.K. Yonge).

Head coach Pop Williams has only missed the playoffs twice in his 19 seasons as head coach so next week it’s going to come down to either North Marion, Santa Fe or Eastside in their district to determine if they go back to the state playoffs.  Last year’s team made it to the Elite 8 but this year’s team has been up and down.  One thing that Pop does have is a very bright team.  He has 6-7 IB students on the team, and his team GPA is a 3.3.  They’ll have be smart to beat Gainesville tomorrow night.