The Prep Zone Power Poll – 2018-19 Boys Basketball Poll #7

PZ - square(white)University Christian (Jacksonville) takes over top spot in regional all-classification poll after advancing to 4A state semifinals

GAINESVILLE — There will be a new face at the FHSAA Boys Basketball state championships next week in Lakeland.

And that team is the new #1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll as we have completed two rounds of the state playoffs.

University Christian (Jacksonville) defeated then-#6 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), 83-63, on Tuesday night in the Region 1-4A final. The win advanced the Christians (26-3) to the state semifinals in Lakeland for the first time in school history.

And that was enough to move University Christian up three spots to #1 in this week’s all-classification regional rankings.

U.C.S., which will play defending state champion Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale) in the 4A semifinals at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland next Wednesday, March 6, received five of the six first-place votes this week.

The Christians have wins against current No. 2 Palatka, #11 P.K. Yonge, and #13 Providence (Jacksonville).

Moving up five slots this week to #2 is Palatka.

The Panthers (25-4) won at then-#3 Eastside (Gainesville), 61-60, in a Region 2-6A semifinal this week and received the other first-place vote. Palatka hosts #15 Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) in the Region 2-6A final on Friday night with the winner advancing to the 6A state semifinals next Wednesday in Lakeland.

Palatka is seeking its third straight trip to the state semifinals.

Also moving up five spots this week and now 3rd is Paxon (Jacksonville).

The Golden Eagles (24-3) eliminated Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville), 41-37, in a Region 1-6A semifinal on Tuesday, and entertains Rickards (Tallahassee) in the Region 1 final on Friday. Paxon last advanced to the state semifinal round when they won their only state boys basketball title in 1965.

Fleming Island (Orange Park) is 4th.

The Golden Eagles (21-2) have been road warriors so far in the playoffs, winning at Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) and then-#15 First Coast (Jacksonville) to advance to an 8A-Region 1 final at Lincoln (Tallahassee) on Friday.

Fleming Island would advance to its first state semifinal in school history with a win in the state capital.

Rounding out the top five is the former #1 team, Mainland (Daytona Beach). The Bucs (27-2) saw their season come to an end with a 49-47 loss at Auburndale in a Region 2-7A semifinal.

The Villages leads off the second five. The Buffalo (22-7), led by University of Florida signee Tre Mann, rolled past then-#13 Trinity Catholic (Ocala) 72-50 in a Region 2-5A semifinal and play at Cocoa tonight with their second trip to the state semifinals in three years on the line.

Sitting 7th is Madison County.

The Cowboys (24-3) advanced to the Class 1A state semifinals for the second straight year by knocking off then-#2 Hawthorne 53-48 to advance back to the Final Four in Lakeland. Madison County, which routed Hawthorne 70-40 in the region final a year ago, will play Paxton on Monday at the RP Funding Center.

With the loss, Hawthorne drops to ninth this week. It was the Hornets’ (25-2) first loss to a Florida team this season.

Another regional finalist, Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) is #8.University Christian

The Tigers (23-6) avenged an overtime loss to Bolles (Jacksonville) in the District 3-5A title game and blasted the Bulldogs, 56-24, in the rematch in the Region 1-5A semifinals. Andrew Jackson is also taking a trip to Tallahassee for the Region 1 final, facing Florida High.

Rounding out the top 10 is Eastside. The Rams (26-3) fell from 3rd to 10th after the heartbreaking loss to Palatka, falling on a Panthers’ basket with 4.3 seconds to play.

There are four teams that are new to the poll this week.

Nature Coast Tech moves in at #15, Eustis is 16th after advancing to a Region 4-6A final at Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, and defending 1A state champion Wildwood is now 17th.

Wildwood will try to defend its state title when the Wildcats (17-12) face Franklin County (Eastpoint) in the 1A state semifinals on Monday.

North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) also moves into the rankings this week at #20 after clinching another spot in the 2A state semifinals.

This is the final poll until the conclusion of the FHSAA Boys Basketball Finals in Lakeland (March 4-9).

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.

THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2018-19 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #7
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total points
1. University Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (5) (26-3) – 118
2. Palatka (6A) (1) (25-4) – 113
3. Paxon (Jacksonville) (6A) (24-3) – 102
4. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (8A) (21-2) – 92
5. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (7A) (27-2) – 91
6. The Villages (5A) (22-7) – 88
7. Madison County (1A) (24-3) – 77
8. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (5A) (23-6) – 76
9. Hawthorne (1A) (25-2) – 73
10. Eastside (Gainesville) (6A) (26-3) – 63
11. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (4A) (23-5) – 60
12. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (17-12) – 53
13. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (23-5) – 52
14. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (5A) (21-7) – 37
15. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (6A) (23-5) – 35
16. Eustis (6A) (20-8) – 31
17. Wildwood (1A) (17-12) – 27
18. Bolles (Jacksonville) (5A) (23-7) – 20
19. First Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (20-7) – 16
20. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (13-13) – 13
Also receiving votes: Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (20-5) – 8, Atlantic (Port Orange) (7A) (19-8) – 7; Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (18-7) – 7, Santa Fe (Alachua) (6A) (19-9) – 1.