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The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – 2023-24 Boys Basketball Poll #1

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Mainland (Daytona Beach) edges Providence (Jacksonville) for top spot

GAINESVILLE – The 2022-23 high school boys basketball season saw eight teams from The Prep Zone Power Poll advance to the state semifinals in Lakeland.

Four teams played for state titles, with Williston taking home the 1A championship for the first time in boys basketball. Most of those teams find themselves back at the top in the first regional all-classification rankings for the new season.

Mainland (Daytona Beach), which lost in the 5A state title game last March, starts the 2023-24 season as the No. 1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll.

The Bucs, who finished No. 3 in last season’s final poll, received four of the nine first-place votes and start at the top. They are off to a 6-1 start with their only loss by one point to Dr. Phillips (Orlando), 58-57.

Providence (Jacksonville) is ranked 2nd. The Stallions, who received two first-place votes, advanced to the 3A state semifinals last spring and finished as the top-ranked team in last season’s final rankings.

This year Providence is only 6-4 to start, but the Stallions have wins over No. 3 Paxon (Jacksonville), No. 7 Oakleaf (Orange Park), and No. 16 The Villages. Three of their four losses are to teams ranked top 60 overall in Florida against No. 20 North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek), No. 27 Sagemont (Weston) and No. 57 Raines (Jacksonville), which is ranked 9th in the regional rankings.

Tied for third are Paxon (Jacksonville) and last year’s 1A state champion Williston.

Paxon is 8-2 to start with wins over ranked teams Ponte Vedra and Nease (Ponte Vedra), with the losses coming to Providence and current No. 11 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville).

The defending champs defeated Chipley 58-49 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland to win their first boys basketball state championship. This year’s Red Devils team is 8-0 in the new season with wins against Gainesville, Eastside (Gainesville), Newberry, Tampa Catholic and Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel). That start also earns Williston two first-place votes.

Rounding out the top five is last season’s 6A state runner-up, Ponte Vedra, which also received a first-place vote.

The Sharks finished 2nd in the final poll last season, as they finished 23-7. This year, Ponte Vedra is 7-3 to start with wins over Raines, Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) and Nease, and they have two losses against Paxon and one setback to North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville).

Episcopal (Jacksonville) starts off the second five. The Eagles finished last season 21-7 with a loss in the opening round of the 3A playoffs, but have started this season on fire with an 8-1 record. Episcopal has wins over Impact Christian, NFEI, Fletcher (Neptune Beach) and two Georgia teams with their only loss to Providence.

Oakleaf (Orange Park) is 7th as the Knights are 6-3 and have beaten Ribault, Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville), and NFEI and also a loss to Providence as well as Menendez (St. Augustine) and Camden County (GA).

Ribault, which was a 4A state semifinalist last spring, is 8th after starting 6-3 with wins over Andrew Jackson and Riverside and losses to Oakleaf, Paxon and Raines.

Raines (Jacksonville), who was only 7-18 a year ago, jumps into the top ten at No. 9. The Vikings are 8-2 and have wins over Providence and Ribault and a loss to Ponte Vedra.

Rounding out the top 10 is another state semifinalist from a year ago in North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville). The Eagles lost in the 2A state semifinals last March to Sagemont (Weston) and are only 4-6 to start this season but have played a brutal schedule with wins over Ponte Vedra and Sandalwood (Jacksonville).

Their losses are to state-ranked teams Oakleaf, Episcopal, No. 7 statewide St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) and 52nd-ranked Mater Lakes Academy (Miami), which won the 4A state title a year ago.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball 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 and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.

THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2023-24 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #1
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final 2022-23 record, current record through 12/19, and total voting points)
1. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (5A) (4) (25-6) (6-1) – 166
2. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (2) (28-3) (6-4) – 156
3T. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (20-6) (9-2) – 146
3T. Williston (1A) (2) (25-7) (8-0) – 146
5. Ponte Vedra (6A) (1) (23-7) (7-3) – 140
6. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (21-7) (8-1) – 139
7. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (24-2) (6-3) – 132
8. Ribault (Jacksonville) (4A) (25-5) (6-3) – 123
9. Raines (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-18) (8-2) – 104
10. North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (22-9) (5-6) – 83
11. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-13) (6-3) – 76
12. Hawthorne (1A) (11-7) (1-0) – 69
13T. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (19-8) (8-1) – 49
13T. Newberry (1A) (22-7) (7-2) – 49
15. Gainesville (6A) (23-7) (5-3) – 45
16. The Villages (4A) (23-9) (4-6) – 41
17. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (13-14) (5-1) – 39
18. Leesburg (5A) (13-13) (6-1) – 24
19. New Smyrna Beach (21-5) (8-1) – 20
20. Riverside (Jacksonville) (5A) (15-12) (5-3) – 19
Also receiving votes: Fort White (1A) (15-9) (7-1) – 18; Central (Brooksville) (4A) (22-7) (9-1) – 17; Nease (Ponte Vedra) (18-9) (5-4) – 15; Father Lopez (Daytona Beach) (3A) (15-11) (7-1) – 14; Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (20-10) (3-3) – 13; North Marion (Citra) (21-7) (4-2) – 13; Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (22-7) (5-2) – 11; Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (20-9) (3-5) – 8; Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (22-7) (2-7) – 5; Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (21-9) (5-6) – 4; Hilliard (1A) (20-5) (6-1) – 2; St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) (2A) (21-7) (4-5) – 1.

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