The Prep Zone Power Poll – 2018-19 Girls Basketball Poll #8 (FINAL POLL)

PZ - square(white)Nease (Ponte Vedra) goes wire-to-wire as top team in regional all-classification rankings after state runner-up finish

GAINESVILLE — For the Nease (Ponte Vedra) Panthers, they were partying in the 2018-19 season like it was 1999.

That was the year Nease won its only girls basketball state title, but this Panthers bunch just missed another state title. The Panthers (30-2) advanced to the 7A state semifinals for the first time since winning that 5A state championship 20 years ago, and knocked off three-time defending 7A champion Fort Myers, 52-40, to advance to a state championship matchup with powerhouse Dillard (Fort Lauderdale).

Nease came up short, 43-40, in the state title game as Dillard won its 10th state title for legendary coach Marcia Pinder. While the runner-up finish was disappointing for Nease, they still end up as the wire-to-wire #1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll for girls basketball.

The Panthers once again received all seven first-place votes and their only losses were by three points to Dillard in the state title game and by two points to 8A state runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) early in the season.

Finishing second is another team who finished as a state runner-up, Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).

The Crusaders (29-3) advanced to their first state semifinal since winning the last of three consecutive state titles in 1992. Bishop Kenny slipped past Southeast (Bradenton), 49-48, in the 6A semifinal but fell behind early and never led in dropping the state championship game 58-40 to American Heritage (Plantation), who repeated as state champs.

Class 7A state semifinalist Father Lopez (Daytona Beach) finishes 3rd.Nease Panthers

The Green Wave (27-3), state semifinalists last season, were dropped in Lakeland, 53-38, by Dillard.

P.K. Yonge (Gainesville), which advanced to their second straight 4A state semifinal appearance, ends up 4th. The Blue Wave (27-2) didn’t lose to any Florida teams until making it to Lakeland, where they were beaten 81-50 by Miami Country Day in a 4A semifinal. Miami Country Day, which won its sixth straight state title, ended up as the #1 team in the nation according to Max Preps & USA Today.

Two teams end up tied for 5th, and both teams advanced to Lakeland as well.

Trenton won its first girls basketball state title since 1980 with a 43-31 over Holmes County (Bonifay) in the Class 1A state championship game. After a runner-up finish to Madison County in 2016, the Tigers (27-3) finished the job this time and ended up tied with Raines (Jacksonville). The Vikings (27-5) advanced to their first state semifinal in program history but were knocked out in the 5A semifinals, 66-41, by eventual state champion Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach).

Sandalwood (Jacksonville) finished 7th after losing, 51-47, at eventual 9A state champion Wekiva (Apopka) in the Region 1-9A final.

Bartram Trail (St. Johns) ends up 8th after advancing to the 8A state semifinals. The Bears (24-7) advanced to Lakeland for the first time in six years, but were knocked out 44-32 by eventual 8A state champion Tampa Bay Tech.

Middleburg finishes 9th. The Broncos (21-7) lost three times to Nease, including 67-42 in the Region 1-7A semifinal.

Rounding out the top 10 is defending 9A state champion Spruce Creek (Port Orange). The Hawks (22-6) were eliminated 54-51 in overtime of a region semifinal against #7 Sandalwood (Jacksonville).

Among the second 10 are two more state semifinal teams.

Class 1A Hawthorne (22-5), which advanced to only its second state semifinal appearance in girls basketball program history, ends up 11th.

And Weeki Wachee ties for 12th with Ribault (Jacksonville). Weeki Wachee (26-5) made its first state semifinal appearance in 6A, losing to eventual state champion American Heritage.

Class 9A Flagler Palm Coast (20-4), which did not advance to the regional playoffs, moves into the final poll at #19, while Fernandina Beach, which also didn’t advance past its district tournament, drops out of the final rankings.

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 GIRLS BASKETBALL POLL #8 (FINAL POLL)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final record, and total voting points)
1. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (7) (30-2) – 140
2. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (6A) (29-3) – 126
3. Father Lopez (Daytona Beach) (7A) (27-3) – 123
4. P.K Yonge (Gainesville) (4A) (27-2) – 120
5T. Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (27-5) – 102
5T. Trenton (1A) (27-3) – 102
7. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (9A) (20-7) – 99
8. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (8A) (24-7) – 97
9. Middleburg (7A) (21-7) – 82
10. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (22-6) – 75
11. Hawthorne (1A) (22-5) – 69
12T. Ribault (Jacksonville) (6A) (17-9) – 57
12T. Weeki Wachee (6A) (26-5) – 57
14. University Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (17-5) – 56
15. Orange Park (6A) (22-6) – 32
16. Bolles (Jacksonville) (5A) (17-10) – 27
17T. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (22-4) – 20
17T. Menendez (St. Augustine) (6A) (17-11) – 20
19. Flagler Palm Coast (9A) (20-4) – 17
20. Vanguard (Ocala) (7A) (18-9) – 13
Also receiving votes: Fernandina Beach (5A) (22-5) – 9; Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (11-12) – 8; Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (20-9) – 7; Terry Parker (Jacksonville) (6A) (14-7) – 5; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (8A) (14-9) – 4; Crystal River (6A) (20-6) – 4; Branford (1A) (22-6) – 3; Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (19-8) – 3.