Posted: 6:53 pm Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Girls basketball: playoff preview for Palm Beach County 

By Matt Porter

The road to Lakeland starts Monday, as district tournaments tip off all throughout the state. Let’s break down the playoff picture in Palm Beach County:

District 10-8A
at Boca Raton
Tuesday

John I. Leonard (4) vs. Seminole Ridge (5), 7 p.m.
Wednesday
Park Vista (2) vs. Spanish River (3), 6 p.m.
Boca Raton (1) vs. John I. Leonard/Seminole Ridge winner, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Boca Raton
Contender: Park Vista
Breakdown: Boca (16-8) has a strong presence inside in 6-foot-2 senior Lauren Janka, with smart guards in Abby Bukovich and Gabby Daniels. Park Vista (15-9) has rugged forwards Caitlin Hayes and Emily Lochten and will play Boca tough, but the Bobcats won both meetings in close fashion. Don’t sleep on Ridge (14-10) as a five-seed.

District 9-8A
Tuesday

Wellington (5) at Jupiter (4), 7 p.m.
at Wellington
Thursday

Palm Beach Central (2) vs. Palm Beach Gardens (3), 6 p.m.
Dwyer (1) vs. Jupiter/Wellington winner, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Dwyer
Contender: Palm Beach Central
Dark horses: Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens
Breakdown: It’s Dwyer’s district to lose. The Panthers (18-4) have been No. 1 in the Post’s rankings from wire-to-wire, and haven’t lost in the county. Too much size, skill and depth. Central (16-7) upset Dwyer in last year’s regional semifinals, making it all the way to Lakeland. But the Broncos lost two big forwards from that state semifinalist team and while still talented, they’ve been inconsistent. Jupiter and Gardens are two defensively responsible teams that can be trouble if shooting well. Wellington had a two-point loss to ninth-ranked Park Vista last week.

District 14-7A
at West Boca Raton
Wednesday

Lake Worth (1) vs. Olympic Heights (4), 5 p.m.
Atlantic (2) vs. West Boca Raton (3), 7 p.m.
Friday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Lake Worth
Contender: Atlantic
Breakdown: Lake Worth (20-3) has lost to Dwyer (expected), Pahokee (surprising, but Pahokee’s tough) and Martin County (while missing two starters). While the Trojans’ depth is a concern, they should reach the final. Atlantic has two fine scoring options and gave Lake Worth a game last week, but the Trojans’ horses ride a bit faster.

District 13-7A at Forest Hill
Thursday

Royal Palm Beach (2) vs. Santaluces (3), 6 p.m.
Palm Beach Lakes (1) vs. Forest Hill (4), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Palm Beach Lakes
Contenders: Royal Palm Beach, Santaluces
Breakdown: Despite a few hiccups, Lakes (15-7) earned the No. 9 spot in the statewide Class 7A poll and has a decisive edge here. Royal Palm should have the edge on Santaluces (6-11), which has rebounded after allowing 70-plus points in three of its first four games, all losses.

District 15-5A at Boynton Beach
Thursday

Boynton Beach (1) vs. Fort Pierce Westwood (4), 5:30 p.m.
Jensen Beach (2) vs. Suncoast (3), 7 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Boynton Beach
Contenders: Jensen Beach, Suncoast
Breakdown: Third-ranked Boynton (19-5) should cruise here, but the race for second is interesting. Suncoast (13-11) has plenty of offense but will not take Jensen (16-8) lightly – their Jan. 15 meeting was a double-OT, 67-65 win for the Falcons.

District 12-4A
at Cardinal Newman
Monday

Glades Central (4) vs. Inlet Grove (5), 7 p.m.
Tuesday
St. Andrew’s (2) vs. Cardinal Newman (3), 6 p.m.
Lincoln Park Academy (1) vs. Inlet Grove/Glades Central winner, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Lincoln Park Academy
Contenders: St. Andrew’s, Cardinal Newman
Breakdown: No one in this group can stop Lincoln Park (18-4) and Auburn-bound senior Brandy Montgomery. St. Andrew’s (14-4) has a much better record than Cardinal Newman (12-10), but their semifinal should be a toss-up.

District 13-3A
at American Heritage
Tuesday

Village Academy (3) vs. Pope John Paul II (6), 6 p.m.
Summit Christian (4) vs. American Heritage (5), 7:30 p.m.
Thursday
Yeshiva (2) vs. Village Academy/Pope John Paul II winner, 6 p.m.
Trinity Christian (1) vs. Summit Christian/American Heritage winner, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Trinity Christian
Contenders: Yeshiva, Village Academy
Breakdown: Trinity (12-6) is a step down from the state-title contender it has been in recent years, but is by far the class of this bracket.

District 12-3A
Tuesday

Jupiter Christian (5) at Berean Christian (4), 7 p.m.
at King’s Academy
Thursday

Benjamin (1) vs. Berean Christian/Jupiter Christian winner, 5 p.m.
Pahokee (2) vs. King’s Academy (3), 7 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Benjamin
Contender: Pahokee, King’s Academy
Breakdown: Eighth-ranked Benjamin (18-6) has the top seed, but Pahokee (17-4) may have more momentum after last week’s upset of second-ranked Lake Worth. King’s (14-9) is another strong, balanced team with potential to win the title. Pahokee beat King’s 59-57 in overtime two weeks ago.

District 12-2A
Tuesday

Donna Klein (5) at Glades Day (4), 6 p.m.
Wellington Christian (7) at Lake Worth Christian (2), 6 p.m.
FAU (6) at Boca Raton Christian (3), 6:30 p.m.
at Boca Raton Christian
Thursday

Grandview Prep (1) vs. Glades Day/Donna Klein winner, 5:30 p.m.
Lake Worth Christian/Wellington Christian winner vs. Boca Raton Christian/FAU winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday
Final: Teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Favorite: Grandview Prep
Contender: Lake Worth Christian, Boca Raton Christian
Breakdown: A cakewalk for Grandview (20-2), ranked No. 2 in Class 2A. Boca Christian (13-5) held one opponent, Davie-American Prep, to two points last week, but won’t do that against Lake Worth Christian (12-10).