Posted On: 11/20/18 1:43 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

Class 3A Preview

Class 4A Preview

Class 5A Preview: Part 1, Part 2

Here is a look at Class 6A and a preview of districts 1-8.

2017-18 state champion: Leesburg

2017-18 state runner-up: Rickards

Class 6A-District 1

2017-18 winner: Rutherford finished 22-5 for the second straight year and took home in the district crown in a 57-40 victory over Bay. The Rams fell to Godby 60-57 in the region quarterfinal.

Teams to watch: Rutherford, Mosley

Other teams in the district: Bay, Arnold

Predicted district champion: Rutherford

-The Rams continue to win the district despite key seniors graduating and moving on. 2019 guard Justin Martin is a top returnee who will lead the charge for Rutherford this season. 2021 guard Brian Edwards, 2020 forward Lavar Hills and 2019 forward Daryl Bryan will be strong pieces as well. Mosley features 2020 6’5″ guard Emmanuel Echeverry.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 6A-District 2

2017-18 winner: Rickards got past Godby in the district championship 63-53 and once again in the region semifinal 67-56. The two district rivals played four times a season ago with the Raiders going a perfect 4-0.

Teams to watch: GodbyRickards

Other teams in the district: Suwannee, Wakulla

Predicted district champion: Godby

-With Rickards’ top four scorers gone (2018 guards Vincent McCray and Willem Lombe, 2019 forward Allan Jeanne-Rose (St. John Paul II) and Alic Troutman (West Oaks) transfers), this is Godby’s chance to reclaim the district. The Cougars return leading scorer, 2019 5’7″ guard Tavaris King (15.9 PPG).

Written by Jake Perper

Class 6A-District 3

2017-18 winner: Bishop Kenny (19-9) won the district over Ribault 56-47 but it was the Trojans who got revenge on BK in the region semifinal with a 62-59 victory in triple overtime. Ribault lost to Rickards in the region final.

Teams to watch: Bishop Kenny, Ribault, Paxon

Other teams in the district: Stanton, Parker, Yulee

Predicted district champion: Paxon

-Bishop Kenny has 2019 guard Brennen Solomon featured while Ribault has 2021 guard Martranius Mack at the forefront. But Paxon has two dangerous threats in 2020 forward Isaiah Adams (UMass, FAU and UNF offers) and 2021 guard Maurice Willie. This will be a tight district for sure.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 6A-District 4

2017-18 winner: Orange Park made a statement in the district championship game vs. Westside, beating the squad by 15 to earn a home game in the state tourney. Both teams would fall in the regional quarterfinal round.

Teams to watch: Orange Park, Westside, Wolfson

Other teams in the district: Baker County, Ridgeview

Predicted district champion: Orange Park

– Orange Park graduated two seniors who were top-three in scoring for their team. But their overall leading scorer from last year, John Abate (13.6 PPG), is back for his last year and trust—he is a nightmare to cover. I saw him recently at the Under The Radar High School Hoops Showcase in Jacksonville, and he was without a doubt one of the top-five players, present. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Abate lead his squad to another district crown.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 6A-District 5

2017-18 winner: Palatka went 28-3 during the 2017-18 season, so it was safe to say they were pretty dominant. Although, Ponte Vedra gave them a run in the district title game. Palatka ended up winning 58-52, and made it to the state semifinals before falling to Rickards by four. Ponte Vedra lost to Eastside in the regional quarterfinals.

Teams to watch: Palatka, Ponte Vedra, Matanzas

Other teams in the district: Clay, Menendez

Predicted district champion: Palatka

– Two of Palatka’s leading scorers are returning for their senior years. Ydontae Smith (7.5 PPG) & Mitchell McKinnon (team-leading 13.4 PPG) should be able to shoulder the burden as the younger guys learn their way. While McKinnon also leads the team in rebounding (10 RPG), the true faith I have in this team to repeat stems from their coaching staff. Simply put, they’re hard on their players, they don’t accept mistakes, and work to correct them, on-sight. The Panthers may not reach the 28-3 mark this season, but I anticipate them making another run at the trophy.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 6A-District 6 

2017-19 winner: Eastside had one of their best seasons of the decade after going 23-6, last year. They edged North Marion by six in the district championship, yet ended up falling to Palatka by three in the regional semis. Palatka beat North Marion by 25 one game earlier in the regional quarterfinals.

Teams to watch: Eastside, North Marion, Dunnellon

Other teams in the district: Belleview, Santa Fe

Predicted district champion: Eastside

– Eastside has been fortunate enough to have a few transfers coming in to fill the holes the seniors have left. One of them being Torey Buie, who played for North Marion just last year. One of their best scorers in Anthony Wright is coming back after missing most of his junior year with a knee injury. Anthony Richardson, who stars at QB for Eastside, will be a dynamic threat on the court. Definitely could see them repeating.

Written by Jerome Reed

Class 6A-District 7

2017-18 winner: Nature Coast ran away with the district posting a 26-3 overall record, beating Central 57-38. The Sharks lost to the now-defunct Ridgewood in the region semifinal.

Teams to watch: Nature Coast, Central, Crystal River

Other teams in the district:  Hernando, Lecanto, Weeki Wachee, Citrus

Predicted district champion: Nature Coast

-Expect a repeat for Nature Coast behind 2019 guard Robert Gomez (11.6 PPG) and 2020 forward Orien Adams (9.4 PPG). The Sharks have been one of the steadiest programs in the area for quite some time and I expect Gomez to lead the charge as the alpha dog for this group.

Written by Jake Perper

Class 6A-District 8

2017-18 winner: Ridgewood beat Zephyrhills 68-49 in the district title game and rode its final season into the region final before losing to Palatka. 

Teams to watch: Hudson, Zephyrhills, Anclote, Gulf

Other teams in the district:  Wesley Chapel, River Ridge, Pasco, Fivay

Predicted district champion:  Anclote

-All four teams listed as teams to watch play fast paced basketball and match up very similarly. I’m giving Anclote the nod here with 2020 duo Jakob Hester (21.7 PPG) and Jalen Cooper (13.8 PPG) leading the way.

Written by Jake Perper

A predicted state champion will be announced in Part 2

 

Photo credit: Tallahassee Democrat