Posted On: 11/16/18 4:56 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.


The SIAA Preview

Class 1A Preview

Class 2A Preview

Class 3A Preview

Here is a look at Class 4A and a preview of all eight of its districts.

2017-18 state champion: Westminster

2017-18 state runner-up: Master’s

Class 4A-District 1

2017-18: P.K. Yonge beat Maclay 57-41 in the district championship game. The Blue Wave would go on to advance to the Final Four, while Maclay fell in the regional semifinals to Jacksonville-Providence.

Teams to watch: P.K. Yonge, Maclay

Other teams in the district: Oak Hall

Predicted district champion: P.K. Yonge

-Behind the shot-heard-around-Gainesville made by senior guard Israel Wilcox Jr., the Blue Wave punched a ticket to the Class 4A Final Four. Though they fell by four points to The Master’s Academy, they left that game hungry to get back. With the growth of 2020 G Jalen Speer, returning guard and newly-signed Southeastern Louisiana prospect Byron Smith, and a bunch of familiar pieces, look for P.K. to capture the district crown, again.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 4A-District 2

2017-18 winner: Providence went on the road to beat Bishop Snyder in the district final for the second straight year. The Stallions nearly beat P.K. Yonge in a 43-42 loss in the region final.

Teams to watch: Providence, Bishop Snyder, University Christian

Other teams in the district: St. Joesph, Trinity Christian

Predicted district champion: Providence

-The Stallions are always contenders under head coach Jim Martin. 2019 6’6″ guard Ahren Freeman (New Orleans commit) is the all-around leader on both ends of the floor while 2021 6’9″ forward James Lee Repass is an emerging talent. 2019 guards Noah Mitchell and Treston Livingston are steady contributors as well. Providence beat Bishop Snyder twice a season ago. The Cardinals return 2020 forward Corey Walker (No. 3 in the state by Prep Hoops Florida). 2019 guard Jalen Nesmith, 2021 guards Austin Lewis and Justin Hicks are all pure athletes as well. This will be a chippy finish but I see Providence standing its ground.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 4A-District 3

2017-18 winner: Master’s Academy won the district title over Santa Fe Catholic and then proceeded to make it all the way to the state final against Westminster. The Eagles finished 23-8, losing 89-64 to Westminster in Lakeland.

Teams to watch: Master’s Academy, Santa Fe Catholic, Orangewood Christian

Other teams in the district: Circle Christian, Lakeland Christian, New Dimensions, Cornerstone Charter

Predicted district champion: Santa Fe Catholic

-The Hawks lost to a senior heavy Master’s Academy by a combined eight points in two meetings which included an 87-84 loss in the district championship. Master’s graduated UMBC guard Jose Placer and a deep group of seniors while Santa Fe Catholic has a trio of 2020 guards in Javon Bell, Joe Stubbs and Ray Davis that play well together. Don’t forget 2019 forward Jaylon Smith who is scrappy down low. This district is there for the taking for the Hawks.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 4A-District 4

2017-18 winner: Carrollwood Day took the district over Tampa Prep and nearly knocked off Master’s in the region final in a 71-68 loss.

Teams to watch: Calvary Christian, Tampa Prep, Carrollwood Day, Seffner Christian

Other teams in the district: Indian Rocks Christian, Northside Christian, Shorecrest Prep, Cambridge Christian, St. Pete Catholic

Predicted district champion: Tampa Prep

-Revenge is on the mind of Tampa Prep after falling to Carrollwood Day 67-48 in the district championship. With 2019 guard Jaren Phillips, 2020 guard Jaden Gray, 2019 forward Jared Walker, 2020 guard Gabriel Sharp and 2020 point man Issac Ward, the Terrapins are set for a run. 2019 forwards Jola Bankole and Owen Carlson love to attack. Carrollwood Day won’t go down without a fight with 2019 guards Malcolm Whitlow (31.8 PPG) and Edgar Ziegler. I just think the combination of revenge and depth will carry Tampa Prep in this district.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 4A-District 5

2017-18 winner: Westminster Academy, of Fort Lauderdale, handled Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin in both the district and regional championships. 

Teams to watch: Westminster Academy, Benjamin

Other teams in the district: John Carroll, Yeshiva

Predicted district champion: Westminster Academy  

– Two-time defending state champion Westminster Academy has played in the past three Class 4A state championship games. The Ehren Wallhoff-led Lions downed SLAM by 12 in the semifinals and Master’s Academy by 25 in the finals in Lakeland to finish off 2017-18. Senior guards Chase Johnston (Purdue Ft. Wayne) and Sam Griffin (Texas-Arlington) are both Division I commits. Benjamin will go as far as American-commit Ben Lubarsky will take it. 

Written by Pat Lammer

Class 4A-District 6

2017-18 winner: Miami Country Day took down Hillel (North Miami Beach), 53-39, for the district championship. 

Teams to watch: Sagemont, Miami Country Day

Other teams in the district: Doctors Charter, Hialeah Educational, Hillel, Somerset Central Miramar

Predicted district champion: Sagemont

– David Roe’s 2017-18 squad finished under .500. But the return of talented senior transfer Isiah Kirby makes all the difference. The 6-4 Southeastern Louisiana commit spent his junior campaign at Class 9A Cypress Bay after attending Sagemont from 8th to 10th grade. Sagemont will also count on 6-5 senior Vini Jorge and sophomore guard Raphael Houssou. Country Day lost to Benjamin, 56-54, last season in the regionals.

Written by Pat Lammer

Class 4A-District 7

2017-18 winner: Sports Leadership & Management Academy (SLAM) defeated Florida Christian for the district crown (63-51) and regional title (67-54).

Teams to watch: SLAM, Florida Christian, Riviera Prep

Other teams in the district: Archbishop Carroll, International Studies, Archimedean 

Predicted district champion: SLAM Academy

– SLAM went 29-3 a season ago, falling to eventual Class 4A two-time defending state champ Westminster Academy, 76-64, in the state semis in Lakeland. Senior guards Luis Pacheco and Issad Solano are drawing college interest. Of Pacheco, an opposing head coach said, “He’s, in my opinion, one of the best guards in Dade County.” Senior big man Bryan Allan (6-5, 275) headlines the Florida Christian squad. Florida Christian lost 2020s Markhi Strickland (IMG Academy) and John Square Jr. (St. John’s in D.C.) to transfer.

Written by Pat Lammer

Class 4A-District 8

2017-18 winner: Marathon defeated Palmer Trinity, 55-49, for the district crown before falling to Florida Christian, 78-72, in the regionals.

Teams to watch: Palmer Trinity, Marathon, Palm Glades Prep

Other teams in the district: Everglades Prep, Somerset Academy-Homestead, Somerset Charter Silver Palms

Predicted district champion: Marathon

– This will be a competitive district. Senior combo guard Jamal Qualls leads a Marathon program, which went 20-8 a season ago. Palm Glades will look to 6-4 Ben Smith to carry the load, while Palmer Trinity will be very young and led by Zachary Friedland, Saiyn Marley and Andrew Waldman. Palmer Trinity went 14-10 in 2017-18 and lost to SLAM in the regionals.

Written by Pat Lammer

Predicted Class 4A champion

-Westminster Academy may have lost 2020 guard Dudley Blackwell to Somerset Pines, but the Lions still have 2019 guards Chase Johnston and Sam Griffin along with 2019 forward Anthony Atkinson, freshmen forwards Ben Middlebrooks and Charles Anyichie on its side. A well coached program, Westminster is a fast and scrappy group. – Jake Perper

-Westminster Academy. The Lions made it through to the past three 4A state championship games, winning two. I smell a 3-peat coming from coach Ehren Wallhoff and company. Westminster Academy lost Division-I prospect Dudley Blackwell to transfer (Somerset Pines), but returns three starters — including two D1 signees & the younger brother of Paul Atkinson (Yale) — and added 6-7 freshman Ben Middlebrooks and 6-7 Charles Anyichie. – Pat Lammer

Photo credit: Miami Herald