GAINESVILLE — As we head to the end of the regular season and towards district tournaments in boys basketball, there is still one constant in the Prep Zone Power Poll – that Providence (Jacksonville) is still at the top.
The Stallions (18-5) had another 3-0 week and is once again a unanimous choice as the #1 team. Among their wins last week was an 85-55 whitewashing of #18 Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) and an 80-41 romp over Ponte Vedra, who was ranked two weeks ago. The Stallions picked up another first place vote from last week and once again have garnered all eight first-place votes.
Remaining second is Gainesville (20-2). The Purple Hurricanes won by 20 at district rival Forest (Ocala), then rallied past #8 Vanguard (Ocala), 51-48. The win over the Knights tied Gainesville for the #1 seed in District 4-7A, and the Purple Hurricanes won the ensuing coin flip and will host the district tournament next week.
GHS, which is ranked 4th in Class 8A and 22nd overall in the state according to MaxPreps, finished off the week by rallying past 8A Kathleen (Lakeland) 64-54 in overtime Saturday at the Bobcat Shootout at Buchholz High School.
Moving up to #3 this week is the only undefeated team remaining in the poll, Nature Coast (Brooksville). The Sharks were challenged last week with a 55-53 win at Mitchell (New Port Richey), but ended up with another 3-0 week to improve to 23-0 on the season.
Also moving up a spot this week to fourth is Atlantic (Port Orange). The Sharks (21-3) easily defeated Mainland (Daytona Beach) by 25 points and Pine Ridge (Deltona) by 37 last week.
Falling two spaces to round out the top five this week is Creekside (St. Johns). The Knights will be the #1 seed in District 4-8A and will host the tourney next week, but were routed at district rival Oakleaf (Orange Park) 56-35 last week. Creekside (20-3) slipped past Buchholz (Gainesville) 57-55 earlier in the week, and that was enough for the Knights to stay in the top five.
Leading off the second five is Terry Parker (Jacksonville). The Braves (19-2) went 3-0, included in that a 59-47 win over #14 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) to clinch the top seed in District 3-6A over the Crusaders and #10 Ribault (Jacksonville).
Dropping one position this week to 7th is The Villages. The Buffalo dropped only their second game of the season, 68-58 at 2A #3 Central Florida Christian (Ocoee), but at 22-2 easily remain in the top 10.
As stated above, Vanguard dropped a spot to #8. The Knights (16-6) sandwiched wins over Columbia (Lake City) and North Marion (Citra) around the loss at #2 Gainesville, but do drop one spot this week.
Fernandina Beach (20-3) only played one game, a 48-41 win at Hilliard, but is back up two spots this week into the top ten at #9
Rounding out the top ten is Ribault (Jacksonville). The Trojans (17-6) also only played one game last week, a win over Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville), but also moved up two spots back into the top 10.
Hawthorne (20-4) leads off the second 10, but three places out of the top ten after an 81-70 loss at #16 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville). The Blue Wave (16-7) also defeated Eastside (Gainesville) and Santa Fe (Alachua), and that was enough to vault them back into the top 20.
P.K. Yonge is the only team new to the poll this week. The Blue Wave replace Bell, who dropped out after losing at Trinity Catholic (Ocala) and Hamilton County (Jasper).
This is the final week of the regular season for boys basketball in the area. District tournaments get underway next Monday, February 6.
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 – 2016-17 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #7
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 1/29, and total voting points)
1. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (8) (18-5) – 160
2. Gainesville (7A) (20-2) – 152
3. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (6A) (23-0) – 138
4. Atlantic (Port Orange) (7A) (21-3) – 137
5. Creekside (St. Johns) (8A) (20-3) – 133
6. Terry Parker (Jacksonville) (6A) (19-2) – 116
7. The Villages (5A) (22-2) – 113
8. Vanguard (Ocala) (7A) (16-6) – 96
9. Fernandina Beach (5A) (20-3) – 92
10. Ribault (Jacksonville) (6A) (17-6) – 83
11. Hawthorne (1A) (20-4) – 74
12. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (16-6) – 70
13. First Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (19-5) – 69
14. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (6A) (18-6) – 63
15. New Smyrna Beach (7A) (16-4) – 61
16. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (4A) (16-7) – 27
17. Raines (Jacksonville) (5A) (15-8) – 26
18. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (5A) (14-8) – 20
19. Wildwood (1A) (20-2) – 15
20. Madison County (1A) (18-3) – 12
Also receiving votes: Englewood (Jacksonville) (7A) (14-8) – 6; Mount Dora Christian Academy (3A) (17-6) – 5; South Sumter (Bushnell) (5A) (16-5) – 4; Eustis (6A) (15-8) – 3; Palatka (6A) (14-8) – 2; North Florida Educational Institute (2A) (14-5) – 1; DeLand (9A) (16-8) – 1; Leesburg (6A) (16-6) – 1.