Posted: 4:09 pm Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Girls basketball: Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast regional quarterfinal preview, schedule, predictions 

By Matt Porter

The 20 area teams that survived the district tournaments are moving onto regionals. Here’s what to watch for in Thursday night’s regional quarterfinals.

If Palm Beach Central (left) and Dwyer (right) win Thursday, they will play each other in the Class 8A regional semifinals. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach Central's Kensha'dra Smith (left) and Dwyer's Kiandra Bowers battle for the ball in Central's district final win. If Central and Dwyer win Thursday, the teams will face each other again in the Class 8A regional semifinals. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

All games are 7 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $7.

CLASS 8A

Centennial (8-6A runner-up) at Orlando-Colonial (5-8A winner)

Colonial (20-5) lost to Haines City, St. Augustine and West Orange, three teams with a combined 71-10 record. The Grenadiers knocked off Orlando-University (20-5) in its district final. Meanwhile, Centennial (10-11) scored just 24 points in a district final loss to Vero Beach Pick: Colonial

Park Vista (10-8A runner-up) at Palm Beach Central (9-8A winner)

This is the first home playoff game in Central’s eight-year history, and it has a good shot at getting its first win. The Broncos should be riding the momentum of Saturday’s OT win over Dwyer. Park Vista has a strong group of forwards, but Central should be able to push them around down low. To have a chance, Park Vista has to slow down Central’s freshman wing, Crystal Primm, who scored a game-high 26 points against Dwyer. Pick: Palm Beach Central.

Dwyer (9-8A runner-up) at Boca Raton (10-8A winner)

The set-up of the quarterfinal brackets guarantees there will be at least one Palm Beach County team in the 8A regional finals. Dwyer, despite losing to Palm Beach Central in their district final, has the best shot of advancing beyond that. If fully motivated – and they should be – the Panthers enough size and skill to get to Tampa. They must stay out of foul trouble, which hampered them against Central. Boca Raton is long and lean, but not powerful enough to slow Dwyer. The Bobcats are crafty, and if they stay aggressive, they have a shot. Pick: Dwyer

CLASS 7A

Martin County (12-7A runner-up) at Port Charlotte (11-7A winner)

Martin County (18-4) can score in bunches, but the Tigers couldn’t sustain enough momentum to overtake Sebastian River in a thrilling district final loss. Port Charlotte (15-5) has played some of the state’s toughest teams and hasn’t lost at home. Pick: Port Charlotte

Lake Worth (14-7A runner-up) at Santaluces (13-7A winner)

Lake Worth (9-15) lost both its games to Santaluces during the season, scoring 32 and 21 points. The Trojans should be encouraged by how they played in losses to Boynton Beach, Jupiter and West Boca Raton, but they don’t match up well with Santaluces (21-4), which can shoot, defend and rebound. The Chiefs haven’t lost since Dec. 21 (to Miami power Dr. Krop) and upended Park Vista and Boynton Beach down the stretch. Pick: Santaluces

Palm Beach Lakes (13-7 runner-up) at West Boca Raton (14-7A winner)

An immensely frustrating season for Lakes (12-10), which has lots of talent but can’t put things together some nights. The Rams hung with Lincoln Park, Palm Beach Central and Dwyer, but lost those games. They also lost twice to Santaluces, which may not bode well for next round. The Bulls (18-9) would seem to have a home-court advantage, but they’re just 5-4 at home (10-1 on the road, 3-4 neutral sites). They’re also 3-3 in their last six. Pick: Palm Beach Lakes

CLASS 5A

Plantation-American Heritage (16-5A runner-up) at Boynton Beach (15-5A winner)

Boynton Beach (19-6) has plenty of talent and possibly the area’s best backcourt (senior Taylor Shade and sophomore Shakoa Edwards). The Tigers love to run, but tend to wear down against bigger teams (see: losses to Santaluces, Dwyer and Palm Beach Central). They haven’t lost at home (8-0), while Plantation-Heritage hasn’t lost on the road (6-0). The Patriots (18-8) have some good wins (Palm Beach Lakes, Treasure Coast), some expected losses (0-3 against powerhouse Dillard, also lost to undefeated Archbishop McCarthy) and one surprising loss to Pompano Beach, which finished 4-14. Pick: Boynton Beach

CLASS 4A

Cardinal Newman (12-4A runner-up) at Ft. Myers-Dunbar (11-4A winner)

Newman (15-11) has beat the teams it should beat, lost to the teams it should lose to and played most teams tough. Dunbar (24-1) cracked the 80-point barrier three times – scoring 93 once – and beat Fort Myers-Gateway Charter 84-0 on Dec. 1. Pick: Dunbar

Ft. Myers-Bishop Verot (11-4A runner-up) at Lincoln Park (12-4A winner)

Aggressive Lincoln Park (22-2) can tear apart teams that don’t take care of the ball. They did that against Cardinal Newman this season, winning their district final matchup by 40 points. Verot (16-10) put up a heck of a fight against Dunbar in their district final. It won’t go away, but LPA is a legitimate state title contender. Pick: Lincoln Park

CLASS 3A

Pahokee (12-3A runner-up) at Naples-Community (11-3A winner)

Pahokee (13-7) was the three-seed in its district and upended King’s Academy by one point to get to the title game. The Blue Devils played Palm Beach Central tough, losing by three points. Community (17-6) played Lakes and Santaluces well, but lost. The Seahawks romped through their district tournament, allowing 27 points over two games. Pick: Pahokee

Naples-St. John Neumann (11-3A runner-up) at Jupiter Christian (12-3A winner)

Jupiter Christian (15-4) lost to Calvary Christian, Pahokee and King’s, and beat rival Benjamin twice. The Eagles are 4-0 at home. Hard to know what to make of Neumann (19-9), which cracked the 60-point barrier seven times but managed to score just 14 points in its district final loss. The Celtics haven’t lost on the road (8-0) this season. Pick: Jupiter Christian

Ft. Lauderdale-Calvary Christian (14-3A runner-up) at Trinity Christian (13-3A winner)

Calvary (17-5) has wins over Jupiter Christian (2), Benjamin, King’s Academy and St. Andrew’s. It battled Miramar-Parkway to the end in a district final loss. Trinity Christian lost some star power from last year’s state finalist, but have young talent that plays together nearly all year. The Warriors’ last two games have been quality wins over American Heritage and Fort Lauderdale-Pine Crest, which beat the Warriors a month ago. Pick: Trinity Christian

American Heritage (13-3A runner-up) at Miramar-Parkway (14-3A winner)

Heritage (13-8) has come along nicely after losing its coach, and several players to graduation and transfer. The Stallions are hungry for a win after losing three of their last four, twice to Trinity Christian. Parkway (21-3) beat Palm Beach Central, one of the area’s best teams, and has lost only to powerful West Orange, Chicago’s Marshall High and Plantation-American Heritage. Pick: Parkway

CLASS 2A

Lake Worth Christian (12-2A runner-up) at Pine School (11-2A winner)

Lake Worth Christian (13-13) won six in a row before a humbling 69-12 loss to Grandview Prep in their district final. The Defenders beat Pine (16-9) to start its six-game winning streak, but Pine beat Lake Worth Christian by one point in the teams’ Nov. 14 season opener. Pick: Lake Worth Christian

Vero Beach-Master’s Academy (11-2A runner-up) at Grandview Prep (12-2A winner)

Grandview (20-4) beat strong teams like West Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Miami-Gulliver Prep and Weston-Sagemont and hung around with Dwyer. The Pride has far too much firepower for Master’s, which went 3-10. Pick: Grandview

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