Stallions remain on top, but Hawks close behind
Gainesville – Most of the top teams in the basketball Prep Zone Power Poll held serve.
In fact, 10 of the top 11 teams went undefeated for the week, with previous No. 4 Gainesville falling on a shot with 13 seconds to play at rival Buchholz (Gainesville), 68-67.
The battle for the top spot is equal to what it was in the preseason poll as top-ranked Providence (Jacksonville) edged No. 2 Lake Minneola in total voting points again, 138-135.
But a case for the #1 ranking could easily be made by both.
The unbeaten Class 3A Stallions (8-0) have wins over final four hopefuls 8A Dr. Phillips (Orlando) & 5A No. 6 Eastside (Gainesville). Providence received five of the seven first-place votes.
The 6A Hawks’ (6-1) only loss was at nationally-ranked No. 1 Montverde Academy, 81-71. Last week, Lake Minneola knocked off defending 8A state champion Winter Park, 86-65, and defending 2A state champion Orlando Christian Prep, 53-50.
Ed White (Jacksonville) remained third. The Commanders (6-0), unbeaten heading into its game this past Tuesday against Providence, handed No. 4 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) its only loss of the season, 55-47, on November 25.
The Crusaders (6-1) are one spot ahead of Jackson (Jacksonville), which moved up two spots to fifth following a 3-0 week which included a 71-40 win over district foe Raines (Jacksonville) on Saturday night. The Class 4A Tigers (7-1), coached by former Duval County star James Collins, already have wins over 8A #10 Sandalwood (Jacksonville), previous #18 & district rival Ribault (Jacksonville) & Eastside.
Bolles (Jacksonville), which was undefeated during the regular season last year, moved up two spots and is tied for sixth with the Rams (6-2) from Alachua County. The Bulldogs (5-0) will put their unbeaten record on the line on Friday night at home against #3 Ed White.
The loss at Buchholz dropped GHS (4-1) four spots to eighth, where they are tied with Baker County (Glen St. Mary). The Wildcats (6-0) moved up two spots after a 3-0 week.
Several teams dropped out of the rankings, which allowed a few more teams to get in.
Class 1A state semifinalist Chiefland (3-2), which was ranked 12th, dropped out following an 0-2 week, while 1A state runner-up Hamilton County (3-3), which was No. 15, went 1-2 and fell out of the poll.
Fort White, which won its first district title in school history last year en route to a 26-3 final record, lost its only game last week and fell out. The Class 4A Indians lost to Columbia (Lake City), which helped propel the Tigers (5-1) into the rankings at No. 13.
Columbia, which is in the same district with Gainesville & No. 19 Oakleaf (Orange Park), had a big week with wins against ranked teams Hamilton County, Fort White & Oakleaf. Their only loss was to #3 Ed White.
Despite a couple of wins in December, the Ribault (Jacksonville) Trojans (3-3) fell out of the rankings too as they barely got by Baldwin, 58-57, this past Monday and have struggled early in the season after losing several key players from last year.
Other newcomers include unbeaten Wolfson (Jacksonville) (7-0), which jumped all the way to No. 14 after receiving votes in the preseason poll, along with 8A Flagler Palm Coast (7-1), which is 16th, and 7A East Ridge (Clermont) (3-1), which defeated previous No. 16 Eustis, and Class 1A Hawthorne (5-0), who are both tied for 20th
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 BASKETBALL POLL #2
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification, and current record through 12/8)
1. Providence (Jacksonville) (5) (3A) (8-0) – 138
2. Lake Minneola (2) (6A) (6-1) – 135
3. Ed White (Jacksonville) (6A) (6-0) – 126
4. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (6-1) – 118
5. Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-1) – 105
T6 Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (5-0) – 98
T6 Eastside (Gainesville) (5A) (6-2) – 98
T8 Gainesville (6A) (4-1) – 86
T8 Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (6-0) – 86
10. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (5-1) – 83
11. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (5-0) – 68
12. Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (5-0) – 66
13. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (5-1) – 52
14. Wolfson (Jacksonville) (7-0) – 41
15. Citrus (Inverness) (5A) (5-1) – 40
16. Flagler Palm Coast (8A) (7-1) – 33
17. Deltona (6A) (7-2) – 20
18. Eustis (5A) (5-1) – 16
19. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (5-2) – 11
T20 Hawthorne (1A) (5-0) – 10
T20 East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (3-1) – 10
Also receiving votes: Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) (6A) (4-1) – 8; Hamilton County (Jasper) (1A) (3-3) – 7; Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (4-1) – 5; Fort White (4A) (26-3) (2-1) – 5; Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (3-3) – 3; Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (1-1) – 2.