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The Prep Zone Insider

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Ridaught_head shotBy Mike Ridaught
Twitter – @ridaught

Friday, January 16

It’s hoops galore this weekend and the following two weekends in North Central Florida.

After broadcasting a total of 43 boys’ basketball games over a two-week period during the holiday break at the Kiwanis Christmas Tournament & the Hitchcock’s Challenge, we finally have reached the much anticipated annual rivalry between Gainesville and Eastside.

About 10 years ago when I began covering this event, the games were played on campus sites in front of overflowing gyms. I remember one broadcast I had at Eastside. I arrived several hours before the tip, and there was a sign at the front entrance that read, “Sold Out.” So, the rivalry was moved to Santa Fe College to attract a bigger crowd.

There have been half-court game-winning shots, shots at the buzzer, playoff-type atmospheres and more in the Gainesville-Eastside rivalry just in the past four years. Last year, both teams went 1-1. They each made the postseason with Gainesville making the 6A state playoffs and Eastside advancing all the way to the 5A Final Four.

This year, GHS (16-2) is ranked second in the state in Class 6A, while Eastside (12-7) has been ranked in the top 10 of the 5A poll this season. Both teams have veteran clubs. Both are ranked in the top 20 of the Prep Zone Power Poll.  The Purple Hurricanes have nine players back (seven seniors), while the Rams return several players from last year’s state semifinal team.

Gainesville is led by Ike Smith, who is being recruited by Jacksonville University, South Alabama and Coastal Carolina, among others.  But it’s pick your poison with GHS.  On Wednesday, junior Ronte Oates had a game-high 17 points in a 58-50 win over Columbia (Lake City) which gave the Hurricanes (6-0 in 6A-District 2) the top seed and home court advantage in next month’s district tournament.  Last Friday, it was junior Rudy Bibb-Boyd, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter of a 68-60 win over rival Buchholz.

Eastside is led by returnees Thomas Lundy, Joseph McCray, Marquez Ross and Mike Nobles.  The Rams, on top of the 5A-District 5 standings, have been slowed by injuries, including transfer Ed Porter, who could be the missing piece in a return to the state semifinals. When I asked him in late December when he would return he told me ‘G’ – for Gainesville. The former Purple Hurricane, The Villages & Hawthorne star will be a nice compliment to the inside game of the 6’6 Nobles, who was recognized as our Trophy Shop Athlete-of-the-Week after posting back-to-back double-doubles the week of January 5.

We’ll have ‘live’ video of the game tonight, along with the rematch on Friday, January 30.  Plus, we’ll be broadcasting the Vince Murray Memorial at Trinity Catholic in Ocala next Saturday and Buchholz at Eastside on Tuesday, January 27.

There’s only two weeks left in the regular season and a lot of good games are taking place in the area.  Try and get out and support boys & girls hoops before the season passes you by.  Next week marks the end of the regular season for girls’ basketball.

Here’s a look at other girls & boys basketball tournaments coming up the next couple of weeks:

15th Annual MLK Showcase at Ribault (Jacksonville), Jan. 16-19

Friday, January 16
4:00 Stanton vs. North Florida
5:30 Terry Parker vs. Chaminade-Madonna
7:00 Raines vs. Suncoast (Riviera)
8:30 Ribault vs. Alonzo Mourning High

Saturday, January 17
8:30 Terry Parker vs. Alonzo Mourning High
10:00 Lee vs. Suncoast (Riviera)
11:30 Lake City vs. Rockledge
1:00 Eastside vs. Chaminade-Madonna
2:30 Bartram Trail vs. Haines City
4:00 Englewood vs. Melbourne
5:30 Baker County vs. Martin County
7:00 Ribault vs. Atlantic (Daytona)
8:30 Raines vs. Morrow (Atlanta)

Monday, January 19
9:00 North Florida vs. Bradford
10:30 Terry Parker vs. Lake City
12:00 Bishop Kenny vs. Haines City
1:30 Providence vs. Palm Coast
3:00 Potters House vs. Morrow (Atlanta)
4:30 First Coast vs. Atlantic (Daytona)
6:00 Ribault vs. Bolles
7:30 Ed White vs. The Rock

Corey Buie Girls’ Basketball Memorial Shootout
Saturday, January 17 @ P.K. Yonge (Gainesville)

Noon – West Port (Ocala) vs. Leon (Tallahassee)
1:3 0 p.m. – Oak Hall (Gainesville) vs. Providence (Jacksonville)
3 p.m. – Eastside (Gainesville) vs. East Gadsden (Havana)
4:30 p.m. – Buchholz (Gainesville) vs. FAMU (Tallahassee)
6 p.m. – Gainesville vs. Rickards (Tallahassee)
7:30 p.m. – P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) vs. Florida Air (Melbourne)

Vince Murray Memorial Challenge presented by Nike Team Florida

Saturday January 24th at Trinity Catholic (Ocala)

4:30 p.m. – St. Petersburg vs. Suwannee (Live Oak)
6 p.m. – Potter’s House Christian Academy (Jacksonville) vs. Elevate Academy
7:30 p.m. – Vanguard (Ocala) vs. Trinity Catholic (Ocala)

Top Players
6’10 Udoka Azubuike (PHCA) – ESPN #9 ranked junior
6’9 Kevarrius Hayes (Suwannee) – ESPN #73 ranked senior; signed with Florida
6’9 Yankuba Sima (Elevate Academy) – high major college prospect
6’8 Leroy Butts (Elevate Academy) – signed with University of Rhode Island
6’8 Oliver Joshua (PHCA) – senior D-1 prospect
6’8 Simeon Kirkland (Trinity Catholic) – highly-ranked sophomore
6’8 Jared Jones (PHCA) – ESPN #2 ranked 8th-grader
6’5 Kobie Eubanks (Elevate Academy) – high major college prospect
6’5 Darius Banks (St. Petersburg) – top rated sophomore in FL
6’3 JT Escobar (Elevate Academy) – signed to play at Ole MISS

Saturday, January 31 at Ed White (Jacksonville)
2 p.m. – Westside (Jacksonville) vs. Florida High (Tallahassee)
3:30 p.m. – Mainland (Daytona Beach) vs. Oakleaf (Orange Park)
5 p.m. – Deltona vs. Potter’s House Christian (Jacksonville)
7 p.m. – Providence (Jacksonville) vs. Jackson (Jacksonville)
8:30 p.m. – Spruce Creek (Port Orange) vs. Ed White (Jacksonville)

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