Posted: 2:09 pm Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Updated to reflect regional quarterfinals results
Once again the regional playoff brackets make it difficult to imagine Palm Beach County sending multiple teams to Lakeland for the state tournament.
Palm Beach County (and Martin County) has several teams talented enough to make a run to state. But in nearly every bracket that features a local team, an even bigger fish appears likely to be the South Florida representative in the state’s final four. Of course, anything’s possible, but in the world of high school hoops, powerhouses truly are powerhouses.
In 8A, Jupiter and Wellington both played well enough to warrant some mention as state contenders. Deerfield Beach, though, looms as not only the Region 2 favorite, but also the frontrunning candidate to win state.
Palm Beach Lakes, Atlantic, Lake Worth and Royal Palm Beach each put together great seasons. Lakes is ranked third in Class 7A, but the Rams (or any of the other three 7A Palm Beach teams) likely have to get past Blanche Ely to get to Lakeland. Ely’s the 18th-ranked team in the nation, according to USA Today.
In 4A, St. Andrew’s played good ball this season. Berkeley Prep’s the likely regional final opponent — and it reached the state semis last year.
The best shots come in 3A and 2A. Grandview Prep (2A) is the best team in its class not named Orlando Christian. The Pride has Ivan Canete, who’s the MVP of Palm Beach County this season, and some nice complementary players. Pahokee has a favorable region, and could end up surprising some folks and reaching the state semifinals.
Alas, strap up. February Madness is here. Good basketball, especially this week and Tuesday’s regional semifinals, will fill area gyms. It’s the best time of year if you’re a hoops fan. Below, you’ll find the schedule for all the local teams in the playoffs, plus my predictions for each class tournament and the players to watch.
All games 7 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is $7.
Wellington at Jupiter
Orlando-University at Treasure Coast
Royal Palm Beach at Palm Beach Lakes
Punta Gorda-Charlotte at Martin County
Fort Myers-Bishop Verot at St. Andrew’s
Naples-Community at Pahokee
Lake Worth Christian at Grandview Prep
8A (full bracket here)
Jupiter 46, Park Vista 35
Wellington 62, Boca 50
Treasure Coast 52, Winter Park 46
7A (full bracket here)
Palm Beach Lakes 74, Lake Worth 55
Royal Palm Beach 40, Atlantic 38
Punta Gorda-Charlotte 78, Fort Pierce Central 72
Martin County 67, Port Charlotte 58
5A (full bracket here)
Fort Lauderdale-Dillard 69, Suncoast 60
Plantation-American Heritage 75, Jensen Beach 27
4A (full bracket here)
Fort Myers-Bishop Verot 81, Cardinal Newman 45
St. Andrew’s 63, Dunbar 56
3A (full bracket here)
Naples-Community 75, Benjamin 60
Pahokee 54, Naples-St. John Neumann 53
Coral Springs Christian 60, Summit Christian 53
Weston-Sagemont 59, American Heritage 25
2A (full bracket here)
Lake Worth Christian 76, Vero Beach-Master’s 56
Grandview Prep 75, Pine School 36
Regional semifinals: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Regional finals: Saturday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.
State tournament (in Lakeland): Feb. 26 through March 2
Favorite: Deerfield Beach
Top contenders: South Miami, Orlando Boone
Area’s best shot: It’s Jupiter, though Wellington can be scrappy enough to get to the regional final. Deerfield Beach is the likely regional final opponent. Jupiter appears to be a better match in the potential game and could surprise Deerfield Beach, but DB is the 8A favorite.
Favorite: Blanche Ely
Top contenders: Bartow, Palm Beach Lakes
Area’s best shot(s): Martin County has a great shot at the state semifinals, with the weakest of the four regions in 7A. Meanwhile the Palm Beach County 7A pod is just brutal. Lakes is the third-ranked team in the state in 7A, but the Rams know they have their hands full with Atlantic, Lake Worth and Royal Palm Beach. Lakes is 3-1 against Atlantic and Royal Palm, with the loss coming at Royal Palm, but the Rams didn’t play Lake Worth in the regular season. Whoever gets through that four-team pod likely will play Pompano Beach-Blanche Ely, one of the state’s top teams.
Top contenders: Orlando-Edgewater, Pembroke Pines Charter, Miami Norland
Area’s best shot: We don’t have any 6A teams here.
Top contenders: Plantation-American Heritage, Lake Wales
Area’s best shot: Can Suncoast pop Dillard and then American Heritage? Heritage is the third-rated team in 5A, with 6-foot-5 guard Kobe Eubanks, a top Florida 2014 recruit, leading the charge.
Favorite: Orlando-Lake Highland Prep
Top contenders: Miami-Ransom Everglades
Area’s best shot: While St. Andrew’s is probably the best bet, don’t sleep on Cardinal Newman, either. Newman did edge St. Andrew’s in one of their three matchups. St. Andrew’s has the talent for a state run.
Top contenders: Weston-Sagemont, Melbourne-Florida Air
Area’s best shot: The area’s best 3A team is Summit Christian. The Saints beat Palm Beach Lakes earlier this season and finished second in the Post rankings. But Summit and American Heritage are in the same pod as Sagemont. Not good. That makes Pahokee and Benjamin very interesting options in a much weaker region.
Favorite: Orlando Christian Prep
Top contender: Grandview Prep
Area’s best shot: Grandview Prep should get through the first two rounds with relative ease. Naples-First Baptist, the Pride’s potential regional final opponent, poses the biggest threat to Grandview’s return to state for the seventh consecutive season.
Top contenders: Greensboro-West Gadsden, Hawthorne
Area’s best shot: We don’t have any 1A schools.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
G BJ Taylor (6-2, 185) — Boone — 18.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.4 apg — uncommitted junior
C Schuyler Rimmer (6-9, 230) — Boone — 13.7 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 4.8 bpg — Stanford signee
C Antravious Simmons (6-9, 240) — South Miami — 13.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg — VCU signee
G RaShawn Powell (6-1, 160) — Dr. Phillips — no stats available — committed to Memphis
C Grant Pelchen (6-11, 250) — Jupiter — 10.1 ppg — FAU signee
F Malik Price-Martin (6-8, 190) — Northeast — 14.3 ppg — uncommitted junior
C Chris Perry (6-8, 250) — Bartow — no stats available — USF signee
G Steven Haney (6-6, 185) — St. Thomas Aquinas — no stats available — UCF signee
F Khalil Thomas (6-7, 185) — Blanche Ely — 12.9 ppg, 13 rpg, 3 bpg — Rider signee
G Jamal Palmer (6-3, 195) — Atlantic — 19.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg — uncommitted sophomore
G Douglas Brooks (6-4, 175) — Lake Wales — 11.3 ppg — uncommitted senior
G Kobe Eubanks (6-5, 185) — Plantation-American Heritage — no stats available — uncommitted junior
G LaTerence Butts (6-3) — Suncoast — 13.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg — uncommitted sophomore
G Sam Singer (6-4, 185) — Ransom Everglades — no stats available — Cal signee
G Joel Berry (6-1, 180) — Lake Highland Prep — 25.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.9 apg — North Carolina signee
G George Andino (5-10) — St. Andrew’s — no stats available — uncommitted senior
F Egor Koulechov (6-5, 185) — Sagemont — no stats available — Arizona State signee
G Grayson Allen (6-4, 185) — Providence — no stats available — uncommitted junior
G Josue Levy (6-3, 190) — Summit Christian — no stats available — uncommitted senior
G Ivan Canete (6-4, 180) — Grandview Prep — 24.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.8 apg — uncommitted senior
F Dre’Kalo Clayton (6-5, 230) — Orlando Christian — no stats available — USF signee
F Andonys Henriquez (6-6, 180) — Orlando Christian — no stats available — committed to Miami (Fla.)
G Dmitri Thompson (6-4, 185) — Orlando Christian — no stats available — uncommitted junior