Class 3A Season Preview

High School
Florida

Posted On: 11/15/18 4:52 PM

Preseason classics are underway and the regular season officially begins on November 26.

We will bring you previews on all nine classes in the state of Florida and the independent conferences.

ICYMI: 

The SIAA Preview

Class 1A Preview

Class 2A Preview

Here is a look at Class 3A and a preview of all eight of its districts.

2017-18 state champion: Orlando Christian Prep

2017-18 state runner-up: Canterbury

Class 3A-District 1

2017-18 winner: Florida A&M redeemed themselves after losing in the district final the year prior. The Baby Rattlers (20-10, 9-1) made it all the way to the state semifinal before falling to Orlando Christian Prep. 

Teams to watch: St. John Paul II, Florida A&M, North Florida Christian

Other teams in the district: Pensacola Christian, Rocky Bayou Christian

Predicted district champion: St. John Paul II

-Florida A&M graduated five of its top scorers, all seniors and lost 2021 guard A’drelin Robinson to transfer to Oldsmar Christian. North Florida Christian still has 2020 guard Victor Clark, 2021 forward Deandre McCray and 2019 forward Major Posey. However, it is St. John Paul II that should run away with this with 2019 6’7″ forward Allan Jeanne-Rose coming over from Rickards to pair with 2019 6’5″ forward Chosen Levarity and 2020 6’2″ guard Patrick Copenhaver. The Panthers should finish on top of this district.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 3A-District 2

2017-18 winner: St. Francis Catholic beat Trinity Christian Academy for the district crown. While TCA lost in the regional semis, SFC would advance to the regional final where they fell to Florida A&M by seven points.

Teams to watch: Trinity Christian, Christ’s Church Academy

Other teams in the district: Lake Mary Prep, Warner Christian

Predicted district champion: Christ’s Church Academy

– Last-year seniors & team leaders Nick Baskin Jr. & Demari Turner have graduated from St. Francis, and while 2020’s Miguel Yepez is a gritty scorer who can give defenses fits, they may be just a bit too young to repeat. CCA only lost three seniors, and are returning their two tallest hoopers from last year. They have some height and depth. They took a beating in the district semis by SFA. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles avenge that, this year.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 3A-District 3

2017-18 winner: Orlando Christian Prep took home its second consecutive state title with a 66-48 win over Canterbury. The Warriors (21-9, 4-0) graduated a deep group of seniors that included North Carolina forward Nassir Little, Buffalo guard Ronaldo Segu, Nyack College guard Jordan Rodriguez and lost 2019 forward CJ Walker to transfer to Oak Ridge and 2019 forward Kai Jones to New Hampshire Brewster.

Teams to watch: Orlando Christian Prep, Mount Dora Christian, Faith Christian

Other teams in the district: Foundation, Legacy Charter, Real Life Christian

Predicted district champion: Orlando Christian Prep

-Despite the big names leaving, Orlando Christian Prep still has what it takes to make a deep playoff run with younger prospects in place. 2020 guard Eric Butler, 2021 forward Camden Easley, 2022 guard Anthony Brown, 2022 forward Van-Allen Lubin and 2022 guard Fabio Basili are all emerging talents. The Warriors will have a tough task of winning a third straight title with a new group, but nothing is impossible.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 3A-District 4

2017-18 winner: St. Petersburg Canterbury captured its second straight district crown with a 55-42 victory over All Saints. The Crusaders lost to Mount Dora Christian in the region semifinal round to finish 15-13, 9-1 for the season.

Teams to watch: Canterbury, All Saints, Bishop McLaughlin

Other teams in the district: Universal, Keswick Christian, Academy at the Lakes

Predicted district champion: Canterbury

-I fully expect the Crusaders to win this district once again. 2020 guard Rivers Lenholt continues to improve while 2019 starters Brendan Riggs, Deondrick Harper and Akeem Glenn are all factors. The key piece coming over is 2021 guard Anthony Perkins.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 3A-District 5

2017-18 winner: Bradenton Christian snuck past St. Stephen’s Episcopal 64-59 to take home the district title. The Panthers (18-9, 9-1) lost to Canterbury in the region semifinal round.

Teams to watch: Sarasota Christian, Bradenton Christian, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal, Community Christian

Other teams in the district: The Imagine Schools North Port, Out-of-Door

Predicted district champion: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal

-Sarasota Christian and Bradenton Christian lost a plethora of seniors to graduation, which included most of its leading scorers. Saint Stephen’s Episcopal was highly competitive a season ago and have 2020 forward Ty Barker (13.9 PPG), 2019 guard Cade Westberry (11.3 PPG) and 2019 guard Jordan Edwards (11.2 PPG) back to lead the way. Community Christian is a darkhorse in this district with 2019 forward Sam Battle and 2021 forward Brandon Hill at the forefront.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 3A-District 6

2017-18 winner: Canterbury lost to First Baptist 81-62 in the district championship but rattled off three wins to reach the state final against Orlando Christian Prep. The Cougars finished 24-8 overall.

Teams to watch: Fort Myers Canterbury, First Baptist, Southwest Florida Christian, Evangelical Christian, Seacrest Country Day

Other teams in the district: Moore Haven, Everglades City, Marco Island

Predicted district champion: Canterbury

-This is a tricky district. Canterbury and First Baptist have battled as of late, but Evangelical Christian certainly has something to say while Southwest Florida Christian and Seacrest Country Day employ some talent. I can see Canterbury getting past First Baptist behind 2019 forward Simon Wilbar and 2021 guards Alan Cedeno and Chase Garrett. First Baptist has a scrappy senior in Preston Urbancic while Seacrest Country Day has Arkansas Little Rock commit Jovan Stulic. Other names to know: 2019 Evangelical Christian forward Logan Pearlman and 2020 Southwest Florida Christian forward Cayden Baker.

Class 3A-District 7

2017-18 winner: Brian Mullican-led Jupiter Christian (23-6) claimed the district title with a 64-56 victory over Village Academy. The Eagles had not won the district crown in 18 years. Jupiter Christian made it to the regional semifinals where it lost to Champagnat, 67-61.

Teams to watch: Jupiter Christian, Boca Raton Christian, Lake Worth Christian

Other teams in the district: Village Academy, Berean Christian, Highlands Christian, Odyssey Charter, St. Edward’s, LW Trinity Christian

Predicted district champion: Jupiter Christian

– Jupiter Christian went 23-6 a season ago and is led by senior guards and identical twins Jethro and Gedeon Germinal. Jethro averaged 18 points a year ago and Gedeon 13. The Eagles also added Palm Beach Gardens 6-6 transfer Jake Thrift. Boca Christian has the top post in the league in Brandon Brivio and Lake Worth Christian brings back about everybody. 

Class 3A-District 8

2017-18 winner: Somerset Prep North Lauderdale took down Hialeah Champagnat in both the district final (63-57) and regional final (74-65). Somerset Prep lost to Fort Myers Canterbury in the 3A state semifinals in Lakeland.

Teams to watch: Somerset Prep, Posnack, Champagnat

Other teams in the district: Dade Christian, Doral Divine Savior, Hebrew Academy, Somerset Academy Key

Predicted district champion: Somerset Prep

– Seniors Dawson Jean, Josiah Brown and Kervens Herman lead Shantel Haye’s Somerset squad. “A lot of teams underestimate us,” Haye said. “We are a pretty young team, a young school.” Somerset did lose 2020 Michal Antoine to transfer. Champagnat is led by 2020s Julio Rodriguez (6-1) and Lian Lopez (6-3).

Predicted state champion

St. John Paul II...Hear me out. I know the Panthers weren’t a playoff team last year, but the addition of Jeanne-Rose paired with Levarity and the athletic guards they have in place will make for a deep group. Canterbury and Orlando Christian Prep (even with a new young core) should have a say in the 3A outlook. – Jake Perper

Canterbury…Darrin Wallace’s crew won 24 games a season ago and lost to Orlando Christian Prep in the 3A finals. Now OCP’s C.J. Walker has moved on to Orlando Oak Ridge. Canterbury returns to cut down the nets. I like Somerset-North Lauderdale to return to the final four. – Pat Lammer

Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel