3A state champion Providence goes wire-to-wire and is unanimous #1 in final Prep Zone Power Poll
Gainesville – Providence (Jacksonville) had some unfinished business to take care of after losing in the state boys basketball semifinals to Sagemont (Weston) a year ago.
That Stallions team was nationally-ranked but was knocked off in Lakeland and then lost Grayson Allen and Christian Terrell to Division 1 programs Duke and Florida Gulf Coast, respectively.
Despite losing their top two players from 2014, the 2015 version of Providence may have been even better.
Providence (30-1) returned to Lakeland, led by seniors Wyatt Walker and Jason Burnell, a DeLand transfer, and took care of business this time around, defeating The First Academy (Orlando) in the state semifinals 60-52 and winning a rematch with Sagemont 66-57 to win the 3A state title at The Lakeland Center last week.
This was the Stallions’ third state title since 2010 and allowed Providence to go wire-to-wire as the unanimous #1 team in the final Prep Zone Power Poll for boys basketball. This is the third year in a row the Stallions have finished the season atop this regional ranking.
Gainesville advanced all the way to the 6A state championship game before losing to Miami Norland 53-46. It was the fourth consecutive state title for Norland, which is tied for second all-time in state history. GHS (28-4) won at Wolfson (Jacksonville) in the regional final and rallied to beat Edgewater (Orlando) in the state semifinals to advance to their first state championship game since winning the 5A state title back in 2009.
Despite the loss to Norland, the Purple Hurricanes moved up to second in the final rankings.
Finishing at #3 is Jackson (Jacksonville). The Tigers (26-4) advanced to the regional finals in 4A before losing a close game at home to eventual state champion Godby (Tallahassee), which ended the season 32-0.
Wolfson (26-4) finished in a tie for fourth with Deltona. The Wolves (23-5) also advanced to the regional finals in 6A, losing in overtime to Edgewater.
Lake Minneola (24-5) dropped from second in the previous poll to sixth this week after being knocked off by Deltona in the regional semifinals.
Coming in at #7 is 1A state runner-up Hawthorne. The Hornets (28-3) rallied past Hamilton County (Jasper) in the regional finals to advance to Lakeland for the third time in four years, then easily beat Crescent City in the state semifinals before losing to Chipley in the state championship game. Hawthorne also lost to Chipley in the 1A state title game in 2012.
Ed White (Jacksonville) (19-8) finished at #8, followed by Eustis at ninth. The Panthers (23-7) advanced to the regional finals in 5A, losing to eventual state champion Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), who finished the season 32-1.
Rounding out the top 10 is Trinity Catholic (Ocala), which advanced to its first regional final in the history of their program, losing to Holy Trinity (Melbourne). The Celtics finished 23-7 this season.
Baker County (Glen St. Mary) leads off the second 10. The Wildcats (19-8) won at Menendez (St. Augustine) and destroyed Palatka at home to advance to the regional finals, where they lost at eventual 5A state runner-up Rickards (Tallahassee).
Hamilton County (Jasper), which finished with a record of 21-8, was the biggest mover in the poll this week, moving up seven spots to #12 despite losing to Hawthorne in the regional finals in 1A.
Eastside (Gainesville) moved into the poll to finish at #14 after advancing to the regional finals in 5A, where the Rams (17-14) lost to 29-1 Tarpon Springs.
Crescent City was the only other team to move into the poll this week, as the Raiders finished in a tie for #20 with P.K. Yonge (Gainesville). The Raiders (19-5) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
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 – 2014-15 FINAL BASKETBALL POLL
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification, total points, and final overall record)
1. Providence (Jacksonville) (7) (3A) (30-1) – 140
2. Gainesville (6A) (28-4) – 132
3. Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (26-4) – 127
T-4. Deltona (6A) (23-5) – 110
T-4. Wolfson (Jacksonville) (6A) (26-4) – 110
6. Lake Minneola (6A) (24-5) – 105
7. Hawthorne (1A) (28-3) – 103
8. Ed White (Jacksonville) (6A) (19-8) – 89
9. Eustis (5A) (23-7) – 87
10. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (4A) (23-7) – 77
11. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (19-8) – 70
12. Hamilton County (Jasper) (1A) (21-8) – 50
13. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (24-3) – 47
14. Eastside (Gainesville) (5A) (17-14) – 37
15. Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) (6A) (18-7) – 34
16. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (4A) (23-5) – 32
17. Lake Weir (Ocala) (5A) (19-10) – 26
T-18. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (19-8) – 23
T-18. Flagler Palm Coast (8A) (22-6) – 23
T-20. Crescent City (1A) (19-5) – 13
T-20. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (4A) (20-10) – 13
Also receiving votes: Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (16-13) – 9; Williston (1A) (17-12) – 4; Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (16-9) – 3; Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (19-9) – 2, Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (19-7) – 2, Dunnellon (5A) (21-9) – 1.