ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union (Feb. 15)

Mike RidaughtIn case you missed it on Thursday, Feb. 15, Mike Ridaught joined Jeff Cardozo, Zach Alboverdi & Pat Dooley on “The Tailgate” on WRUF-98.1 FM & 850 AM in Gainesville at 4:05 p.m to talk high school sports.  Here are the things they discussed on ThePrepZone.com Sports Report Presented by SunState Federal Credit Union:

The first round of the girls basketball state playoffs starts tonight and there are a bunch of Alachua County teams who won district titles

I hate to start with this but I wanted to remember Maddie Wilford of the Stoneman Douglas girls basketball team who is battling for her life after a second surgery after getting shot yesterday in Parkland. Just a sad, senseless act. That Douglas team played in a tournament at West Port (Ocala) this year so there are some people in Marion County who befriended that team. It almost doesn’t feel right talking about girls high school basketball, in particular. Certainly our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to that community.

But to put a positive spin on things, a total of five Alachua County teams won district titles – Gainesville, Eastside, Newberry, P.K. Yonge and Hawthorne. They will all host first-round state playoff games tonight. GHS beat Ocala Forest for the 7A-District 4 title last week. They will host St. Augustine in Class 7A. The Lady Hurricanes are 21-7 and ranked 7th in the state in Class 7A according to MaxPreps.
Last year, Eastside blew a 16-point lead and lost to Belleview by one in the 6A-District 6 championship. However, this time the Lady Rams got it done and defeated the Rattlers by five to win the title. Eastside will be home tonight against St. Augustine Menendez in the 6A state playoffs. We’ll have ‘live’ video coverage of the game.

Newberry will host Jacksonville Bolles in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. The Panthers defeated Bradford (Starke) for the 5A-District 4 title. P.K. Yonge cruised to the 4A-District 1 title, winning the championship against Maclay (Tallahassee) by 18 points, so they’ll be at home tonight. The Lady Blue Wave will host St. Augustine St. Joseph in Class 4A. And Hawthorne won the Class 1A-District 6 title as the No. 3 seed. They beat top-seeded Hilliard to win it. In fact, the Hawthorne boys were supposed to play tonight, but they moved their district semifinals up to last night because the girls are hosting tonight. I’m guessing they didn’t anticipate the girls being at home for the state playoffs.
Also, Trenton won the Class 1A-District 7 title so they will be home tonight too against Frostproof (the Lady Tigers join Gainesville in the top 10 of The Prep Zone Power Poll all-classification regional rankings).

The Eastside boys survived a scare in the district semifinals against Santa Fe to secure a state playoff next weekSunstate Logo

Boy, did they ever. It’s been a great season for Pop Williams and the Rams. They finished the regular season at 20-5 and ranked top 10 in the state in Class 6A. But it came down to a one-game season in the district semifinals at North Marion on Tuesday night, and I got to be honest, I thought they were done. They were down five in the fourth quarter and every time they’d come up with a turnover, the would give it right back or miss some free throws, and I remember thinking to myself, wow, Eastside’s going to get beat. But Jimmy Johnson had a big and-one play and junior Malik Robertson scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods as #2 seed Eastside beat third-seeded Santa Fe (Alachua), 57-56 in double overtime, to advance to the district championship game against top seed North Marion tomorrow night and clinch a postseason berth. If they had lost that game, their season would have been over. Eastside blew an 11-point lead in the first half, but survived. Santa Fe’s Saveion Webster had a big three late in the first overtime to force double overtime. Give the Raiders credit. They battled until the final seconds of their season.

Tomorrow night, several area boys basketball teams will be playing for district titles, including a few area teams who face must-win games on Friday in the district semifinals

First of all, here are the boys’ basketball teams in the area that have been eliminated. Their seasons are over: Buchholz, Santa Fe, Fort White, Oak Hall, Williston and Union County.  Gainesville cruised to the 7A-District 4 championship. It was kind of surprising in that they held the best scoring team in the district to only 42 points and they also won the game by 33 points, 75-42. So, the Hurricanes are in the state playoffs. They will play No. 2 seed Columbia (Lake City) for the district title on Friday night at GHS. Columbia defeated Vanguard (Ocala), 54-51, to advance. I mentioned North Marion and Eastside. They are the top two seeds in 6A-District 6. They will play for the title on Friday night. We’ll have ‘live’ audio of the game online at ThePrepZone.com (Radio – 92.1 FM & 1230 Gainesville and 100.1 FM & 900 AM Ocala).

Newberry beat Interlachen in the 5A-District 4 Semifinals. They will play No. 1 seed Bradford for the title in Starke. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), which is the two seed, will play top-seeded Maclay (Tallahassee) for the 4A-District 1 title. St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) faces a must-win game tonight as the top seed in 3A-District 2. They will face the No. 5 seed Christ’s Church Academy (Jacksonville). If they lose, their season is over. The good news is that they are at home.

Hawthorne crushed Union County (Lake Butler), 92-30, in the 1A-District 6 semifinals. How about that score?! I think the Hornets have a good chance to get back to the state semifinals. They will host No. 2 seed Hilliard for the district title tomorrow night. And in Class 1A-District 7, No. 3 seed Trenton will play in one semifinal, and top-seeded Bell will play in the other semifinal against No. 5 seed Chiefland. The district championship for that district will be on Saturday night.

For the latest in high school sports in Gainesville, check out our daily reports on 106.9 FM every weekday around 7:50 a.m.  Here is a link to the archives.