Posted On: 02/20/18 6:32 PM
The opening round of the FHSAA regional tournament is set.
There will be 112 games, all coming on Thursday.
Class 1A-4A will start in the semifinal round while Class 5A-9A will be in the quarterfinal round.
Below, I break down the top opening round regional matchups.
Region 3-District 9/Region 3-District 10 – Boca Raton at Wellington
Boca Raton fell in overtime to Atlantic in a back and forth battle. The Bobcats will have their hands full with an undefeated Wellington group. Senior guard Cade Long and junior guard Maxime Demeus must do everything in their power to pace seniors Bryan Williams and Jon Philistin.
Region 2-District 7/Region 2-District 8 – Bartow at Wharton
For a district runner-up Bartow is no slack off. The Yellow Jackets feature senior guard Rodrick Rose and freshman guard Alex Vigo. Senior guard Jalen Borders is sound offensively as well. Wharton slipped past Plant last week on a DJ Henderson layup with 29 seconds left to win 59-56. The Wildcats are led by Henderson, junior guard/forward Darin Green Jr. and senior forward Ryan Anders.
Region 2-District 7/Region 2-District 8 – Plant at Winter Haven
This should be an enjoyable matchup with Winter Haven showcasing senior athletes Keyshawn Bryant, Dorian James and Bryson Birdsong. Plant has been a tough group all season long. With senior guard Ronald Boyd, senior forward Dylan Wilson, sophomore forward Reagan Weiss and junior Logan Morrissey, the Panthers have plenty to pull off the upset.
Region 3-District 9/Region 3-District 10 – St. Pete at Plant City
One of my favorites of this entire list is here between St. Pete and Plant City. The Green Devils just missed out on a district crown with Countryside defeating them. With senior Ole Miss commit Serrel Smith, senior Tai Strickland and a cast of athletes, St. Pete is going to be playing angry. Plant City has earned consistent performances from seniors Matt Simpson and Triston Evans and junior Justyn King.
Region 4-District 13/Region 4-District 14 – Forest Hill at Blanche Ely
Blanche Ely cruised over St. Thomas Aquinas in the district title game while Forest Hill fell to Dwyer by one point, 61-60. Senior guard Phillip Lyttle has been everything and more for the Falcons. Also, senior Tristan Stephens has been solid as well. Seniors Michael Forrest and Anthony Byrd and Joshua Scott have been the leaders for the Tigers.
Region 2-District 5/Region 2-District 6 – Ponte Vedra at Eastside
Eastside beat North Marion by seven points to win the district and Ponte Vedra lost to Palatka by six in its district final. Senior center Jack Johnson and junior guard Reese Russi are the top offensive weapons for Ponte Vedra. Eastside has seniors Malik Robertson and Jimmy Johnson and sophomore forward Anthony Richardson on its side.
Region 3-District 9/Region 3-District 10 – Lake Wales at Jesuit
Lake Wales lost to Booker by five points while Jesuit took down Robinson. Lake Wales has a nice trio of Donte Armstead, sophomore Gervon Dexter and freshman Walter Clayton. For Jesuit, seniors Thierry Moliere and Nick Weir and junior Jack Cooper. Lake Wales is athletic but Jesuit is as sound as they come.
Region 2-District 5/Region 2-District 6 – The Villages at Lake Highland Prep
It was a legitimate upset last week as The Villages lost to Trinity Catholic. The Buffalo must travel to Lake Highland Prep, who is fresh off a district final win over Windermere Prep. Junior guard Tre Mann will be on a mission to take down Lake Highland Prep by himself. Seniors Nick Honor and Jaxson Strates are the top pieces for the Highlanders.
Region 1-District 1/Region 1-District 2 – Bishop Snyder at P.K. Yonge
Bishop Snyder lost to Providence by eight points in the district final. This is a rematch of last year’s region semifinal that P.K. Yonge won 56-55. Sophomore Corey Walker has been superb all year for the Cardinals while junior guard Jalen Nesmith has been an impact transfer. For P.K. Yonge, sophomore Jalen Speer and senior forward William Banks have been steady all year.
Region 2-District 3/Region 2-District 4 – Santa Fe Catholic at Carrollwood Day
These two teams met in the preseason and it was a back and forth battle then. Santa Fe Catholic lost to Master’s Academy 87-84 last week. The Hawks will be looking to stay alive against a Carrollwood Day group fresh off a convincing district title win over Tampa Prep. Santa Fe Catholic has a trio of sophomores in Javon Bell, Joe Stubbs and Ray Davis that get it done. Carrollwood Day has juniors Malcolm Whitlow and Edgar Ziegler and senior Owen Mixon playing at a high level.
Region 2-District 3/Region 2-District 4 – Mount Dora Christian at St. Pete Canterbury
Mount Dora Christian had a really tough district title game against Orlando Christian Prep. Now, the Bulldogs must travel to St. Pete Canterbury on Thursday. Junior Taylor Trudeau and senior Joseph Martz are the top offensive pieces for Mount Dora Christian. Canterbury has sophomore Rivers Lenholt and seniors Nate Levi and Zion Channer playing well.