The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – Boys’ Basketball Poll #3
GAINESVILLE — A busy holiday season with tournaments galore has led to the grind of the final month of the high school basketball season for the teams in the Prep Zone Power Poll.
But the top-ranked team remains the same heading into 2017.
Despite their first loss of the season the week before Christmas at #2 Providence (Jacksonville), 51-43, the Creekside (St. Johns) Knights came back with three wins last week to capture the Suncoast Tournament Championship. That was enough to keep Creekside atop the regional rankings for a second straight week.
The Knights (12-1) defeated St. Stephens (Bradenton), Canterbury (St. Petersburg), and Hackettstown (NJ) by a combined 187-87 to easily win the tournament title in St. Petersburg. Despite only receiving two of the seven first place votes, Creekside gathered more overall points than Providence.
Speaking of Providence, the Stallions (9-5) moved up a spot to second despite two one-point losses in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC. They lost 49-48 to Christ the King (NY) and 53-52 to nationally-ranked Evanston (IL), but picked a 66-43 win over Jonesboro (GA) in Myrtle Beach last week to go along with the win over Creekside on December 21. The Stallions are 2nd despite garnering five of the seven overall first-place votes.
Third this week is Vanguard (Ocala). The Knights (9-2) finished third at their own tournament, the Kingdom of the Sun in Ocala, defeating P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), Lakeland, and Peachtree Ridge (GA), with the only loss coming in the tourney semifinals to LaSalle (OH). Vanguard also moves up one one spot from the previous poll taken before Christmas.
Moving up three slots to #4 is Atlantic (Port Orange). The Sharks (11-2) were 5-0 over the past two weeks, winning the Sunshine State Classic and their own tournament, the Atlantic High School Christmas Classic, which included wins against Parkview (GA), Chapmanville Regional (WV), Cambridge (GA), and Class 9A Timber Creek (Orlando).
Rounding out the top five this week is undefeated Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville).
The Sharks improved to 14-0 and captured two tourneys as well, the Hernando Holiday Classic and the Nature Coast Tournament Championship. Nature Coast Tech was ranked #9 in the previous poll, but has been 5-0 since then with wins over 9A Alonso (Tampa), 7A Chamberlain (Tampa), and 7A Lowndes (GA).
The second five consists of Gainesville (10-2), Fernandina Beach (13-1), Ribault (Jacksonville) (10-3), The Villages (13-1), and Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (9-4). Ribault was ranked #2 in the previous poll, but dropped games to #12 First Coast (Jacksonville) in overtime and also to #11 Terry Parker (Jacksonville) to drop six spots.
The biggest mover up this week was the Parker Braves (10-1), who defeated 9A Mandarin (Jacksonville) along with Ribault to move up six spots from 17th two weeks ago.
First Coast (11-3), unranked in the previous poll, also makes a big move up to #12 this week.
Bolles (Jacksonville) dropped 10 spaces to 16th after two losses over the holidays. The ‘Dogs (10-5) lost to Flagler Palm Coast, 72-46, and to 16th-ranked DeLand, 81-59, in the St. Augustine Christmas Tournament.
Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (8-5) also drops 10 spots but stays in the poll at #18 after losses to First Coast and Raines.
Two 1A schools move into the poll in No. 19 Madison County (10-2) and unbeaten Wildwood (13-0), which is tied with Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (9-2) at No. 20.
Trinity Christian (Deltona) and P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) dropped out of the rankings this week.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, 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.
PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2016-17 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #3
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 12/30, and total voting points)
1. Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (2) (12-1) – 135
2. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (5) (9-5) – 133
3. Vanguard (Ocala) (7A) (9-2) – 123
4. Atlantic (Port Orange) (7A) (11-2) – 118
5. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (5A) (14-0) – 107
6. Gainesville (7A) (10-2) – 101
7. Fernandina Beach (5A) (13-1) – 90
8. Ribault (Jacksonville) (6A) (10-3) – 89
9. The Villages (5A) (13-1) – 79
10. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (6A) (9-4) – 74
11. Terry Parker (Jacksonville) (6A) (10-1) – 73
12. First Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (11-3) – 54
13. Hawthorne (1A) (10-3) – 47
14. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (8-4) – 45
15. Bell (1A) (12-0) – 40
T16. Bolles (Jacksonville) (5A) (10-5) – 30
T16. DeLand (9A) (11-5) – 30
18. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (5A) (8-5) – 22
19. Madison County (1A) (10-2) – 16
T20. Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (4A) (9-2) – 15
T20. Wildwood (1A) (13-0) – 15
Also receiving votes: Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (8A) (11-4) – 5; Trinity Christian (Deltona) (3A) (10-5) – 5; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (6A) (8-2) – 4; East Ridge (Clermont) (8A) (12-4) – 3; New Smyrna Beach (7A) (8-3) – 2; Eustis (6A) (9-3) – 1; P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (4A) (10-6) – 1.