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Boys basketball region quarterfinal preview

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All games start at 7 unless noted

Class 7A

Durant (22-5) at Alonso (20-5) 

This is a rematch from a regular season game the Ravens won 66-57. Alonso rebounded from a two-game losing streak at the end of the regular season to win the Class 7A, District 7 tournament. The Cougars had their 10-game win snapped with a loss to Sarasota Riverview in the 7A-8 tournament final. 

Wharton (21-5) at Sarasota Riverview (20-6)

The Wildcats have a difficult matchup against the Rams, who are undefeated (6-0) against Hillsborough County teams this season.

Class 6A

Largo (11-10) at East Lake (24-1)

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in 6A and 10th overall in the state by MaxPreps, are trying to reach the state semifinals for the second straight season. The first step is tonight when they take on Largo, a team East Lake beat by 22 points last month. 

Wiregrass Ranch (15-7) at St. Petersburg (17-5)

The Green Devils rebounded from a 1-6 stretch at the end of the regular season to win the 6A, District 10 title. The Bulls, meanwhile, went 9-2 down the stretch to make the playoffs as the 6A-9 runnerup. 

Bloomingdale (12-4) at Lakeland Kathleen (11-9)

After a 2-5 start, the Bulls turned things around to make the playoffs as the 6A-8 runnerup. They have done it with defense, holding each of their last five opponents to 45 points or less. 

Plant City (16-6) at Hillsborough (11-11)

This is a rematch from a game two weeks ago the Raiders won 71-69. In that regular season meeting, Plant City had a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Terriers made a furious rally, scoring a whopping 37 points in the fourth, but the comeback fell short.  

Class 5A

Boca Ciega (11-8) at Blake (12-4)

Pirates coach Randy Shuman won his 600th game during the 5A-10 tournament. To keep the postseason run going, Boca Ciega has get past the Yellow Jackets, who are on a five-game win streak. 

Jesuit (22-4) at Clearwater (17-2)

The Tornadoes, ranked No. 5 in 5A by MaxPreps, reached the region final last season and are trying to take the next step and get to the final four. The Tigers had to sit their varsity squad during last week’s 5A-9 district tournament. The junior varsity squad played admirably, winning a semifinal game against Sumner before losing to Blake in the final. 

Land O’ Lakes (17-10) at Leesburg (13-4)

The Gators, who had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Fivay in the 5A-6 district final, travel to take on the Yellow Jackets, one of their premier programs in the state. 

Orlando Jones (10-13) at Fivay (22-2)

The season of superlatives continues for the Falcons. After recording its best regular season record in school history, Fivay went on to win its first district title at the 5A-6 tournament. And the Falcons have a good shot at extending their postseason debut for another game. 

Class 4A

Cocoa (11-12) at Tampa Catholic (18-6)

The Crusaders had to reload after graduating the bulk of last year’s roster. But the new faces, led by freshman guard Karter Knox, the younger brother of Tampa Catholic Kevin Knox, are playing well. In fact, the young lineup might be able to get the Crusaders back to the state semifinal for the sixth straight season. 

Central (14-12)  at Alachua Santa Fe (16-5), 7

The Bears are 3-1 this month, which helped push their record above .500 and make the playoffs as the 4A-6 runnerup. If the game is close, the Raiders have the edge. Three of their last four wins have been decided by four points or less. 

Wesley Chapel (20-7) at Lake Highland Prep (11-7), 7

The Wildcats have a tough task with a road to take on the Highlanders, who are ranked 10th in 4A and among the top 60 overall in the state by MaxPreps. 

Eustis (9-11) at Nature Coast (18-9), 7

After some mid-season struggles, the Sharks put it together at the right time last week. Nature Coast beat Hudson and Wesley Chapel at the 4A-6 tournament to win their eight district title in school history. That gives the Sharks some much-needed momentum heading into tonight’s region quarterfinals. 

Class 3A

St. Petersburg Catholic (17-8) at Carrollwood Day (17-4)

The Patriots, led by two-sport star Mike Trigg, know they could end up facing Bishop McLaughlin in the region semifinals. First, Carrollwood Day has to get past the Barons, who had a nine-game streak snapped with a loss to Calvary Christian in the 3A-6 district final. 

Bishop McLaughlin (18-6) at Calvary Christian (15-12) 

This matchup features a pair of stellar guards in the Warriors’ Tristan Gross (19 points per game) and the Hurricanes’ Emanuel Sharp (23.8 points per game).  

Class 2A

Brandon Academy (8-10) at Academy at the Lakes (13-6)

Don’t let the record fool you. Though the Scorpions are 8-10, they have played a considerably tough schedule. That helped them make the playoffs for the first time. To make this postseason trip last, Brandon Academy will have to find a way to stop Jalen Brown, who is averaging 24.7 points per game. 

Zephyrhills Christian (9-11) at Cambridge Christian (14-5) 

The Lancers have won seven of their last eight heading into the playoffs. A big reason for their success is the play of their offense, which has put up 70 or more points in the last four wins. 

Southwest Florida Christian (14-11) at Bayshore Christian (10-7)

The Faith Warriors’ quest to make their second straight state semifinal appearance starts tonight. CJ Crews has been the leader. The senior is averaging 22 points and nine rebounds in his last three games.  

Canterbury (13-11) at Naples First Baptist (19-2)

The Crusaders will rely on Percy Pederson III (21.7 points per game) to knock off the Lions, who are ranked No. 6 in 2A by MaxPreps. 

Boys Basketball

Schedule for Kevin Durant National Hoopfest released

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The Kevin Durant National Hoopfest series will make its way to the Tampa Bay area on Jan. 28-29.

The tournament, now being held at St. Petersburg High, is the last of four stops that have already been announced.

What makes the event noteworthy is that it matches teams from the area against nationally-ranked teams from across the country, giving fans a chance to root on their local school as well as check out players who will be playing for major colleges and NBA teams in the future.

Here is the schedule, which was released this weekend.

Jan. 28

AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.) vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 5

IMG Academy vs. Oldsmar Christian, 6:30

St. Pete vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 8

Jan. 29

Windemere Prep vs. Wasatch Academy (Utah), 1

Orlando Christian Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 2:30

Oldsmar Christian vs. Ischool of Lewisville (Texas), 4

Tampa Catholic vs. AZ Compass Prep (Ariz.), 5:30

IMG Academy vs. St. Petersburg, 7

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Boys Basketball

Dillon Mitchell transfers to Montverde Academy

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Dillon Mitchell, a four-star recruit who helped Bishop McLaughlin reach the state final for the first time this past season, has transferred to boys basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy. 

Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 senior small forward, made the announcement Thursday night on his Twitter account. 

In 2017, Montverde was named the nation’s top basketball program of the decade by USA Today. Several current NBA players went there, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and R.J. Barrett. Two more notable alumni, Oklahoma’s Cade Cunningham and and FSU’s Scottie Barnes, are expected to be among the top five picks in this year’s NBA draft. 

The ability to mold such high-profile stars prompted Mitchell to make the move. 

“They have developed great players to be successful at the next level,” Mitchell said of Montverde. “The competition is awesome,and being able to play against the best even at practice will help me become better. I believe it’s a great move.”

This is Mitchell’s third school in as many years. 

During the 2019-20 season, Mitchell played at Sickles, averaging 12.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game with the Gryphons.

He left this past season to attend Bishop McLaughlin, where he teamed with another four-star prospect, Emanuel Sharp, to form a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch. Mitchell (featured photo above by Willie Kelly) finished the season averaging 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while leading the Hurricanes to the Class 3A state final. 

Mitchell is rated fourth in the state and 29th nationally in the Class of 2022 by ESPN. He has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, FSU, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee, among others.  . 

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Boys Basketball

FHSAA releases boys basketball class and district assignments

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The Florida High School Athletic Association released the classifications, districts and regions for boys basketball this coming season. The assignments are based on student enrollment numbers from October 2020. This is a one-year cycle that the FHSAA board of directors voted on. There likely will be a two-year cycle starting with the 2022-23 calendar year. The classifications and districts for the other sports will be released at a later date. Below is the list for area teams. For the full  boys basketball list click here.  

Class 7A, District 6

Alonso

East Lake

Palm Harbor University

Plant 

Sickles

Steinbrenner

Class 7A, District 7

Durant

Lakewood Ranch

Newsome

Plant City

Riverview

Class 6A, District 9

Gaither

Land O’ Lakes

Largo

Leto

Mitchell

Pinellas Park

Sunlake

Class 6A, District 10

Armwood

Hillsborough

Strawberry Crest

Tampa Bay Tech

Wharton

Wiregrass Ranch

Class 6A, District 11

Bloomingdale

Bradenton Manatee

Braden River

East Bay

Lennard

Palmetto

Sumner

Class 5A, District 5

Belleview

Citrus

Lake Weir

Lecanto

Leesburg

Ocala Vanguard

Springstead

Class 5A, District 6

Cypress Creek

Fivay

Gulf

Pasco, River Ridge

Wesley Chapel

Zephyrhills

Class 5A, District 8

Blake

Brandon

Freedom

Jefferson

Jesuit

King

Middleton

Robinson

Class 5A, District 9

Clearwater

Countryside

Hollins

Osceola

Seminole

Class 5A, District 10

Boca Ciega

Bradenton Bayshore

Bradenton Southeast

Northeast

St. Petersburg

Class 4A, District 9

Central

Crystal River

Hernando

Nature Coast

South Sumter

Weeki Wachee

Class 4A, District 10

Anclote

Chamberlain

Dunedin

Hudson

Tarpon Springs

Class 4A, District 11

Gibbs

Lakewood

Parrish

Sarasota Booker

Sebring

Wauchula Hardee

Class 3A, District 5

Bell Creek

Bishop McLaughlin

Brooks DeBartolo

Carrollwood Day

Seffner Christian

Tampa Catholic

Tampa Prep

Class 3A, District 6

Admiral Farragut

Berkeley Prep

Calvary Christian

Clearwater Central Catholic

Shorecrest

St. Petersburg Catholic

Class 2A, District 9

Academy at the Lakes

Classical Prep

Hernando Christian

Seven Rivers Christian

Zephyrhills Christian

Class 2A, District 10

Bayshore Christian

Brandon Academy

Cambridge Christian

Foundation Christian

Lakeside Christian

Universal Academy

Class 2A, District 11

Bradenton Christian

Bradenton Gulf Coast HEAT

Canterbury

Indian Rocks Christian

Keswick Christian

Port Charlotte Community Christian

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