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Regional Playoff Preview: 2A-4A

By HoopMIA, 02/19/20, 1:45PM EST


Regional Quarterfinals Previews 2A-4A


HoopMia is previewing all of the South Florida quarterfinal matchups. All games will be played Thursday February 20th at 7 pm and the higher seed is hosting. The winning teams will advance to the Regional Semifinals on Tuesday February 25th.  Our preview for 4A through 2A is below. 


4A Region 4


#1 University School Sharks vs #8 Mater Lakes Bears


    The Sharks went 18 and 6 this season against a brutal schedule and seem poised to capture their third consecutive state championship. They have a strong duo of seniors in 6’4 Roger Mcfarlane and 6’7 Jace Howard. In their underclassmen group they have national prospects 6’6 sophomore Jett Howard and 6’8 sophomore Taylor Hendricks. They face a young, talented, and scrappy Mater Lakes team that are led by freshmen guards Anthony Floyd and Jami Hager-Tejada who both average over 13 points per game. These two teams met in the district playoffs and the Sharks were victorious by a 17 point margain. It is tough to envision the Bears being able to shock the state and knock off the Sharks in this contest. University School is deep, talented, athletic, and seem to have all the pieces to capture another state title. 


#4 Monsignor Pace Spartans vs #5 Stranahan Dragons


Pace had a surprising run in the district playoffs and took down Miami Springs to capture  the championship. They are led by high scoring senior guard Marcus Frazier. They will face Stranahan in the first round, who are defending state champions. The Dragons lost in their district title game to University School and are the top at large team in the playoffs. They are a fast, physical, and athletic team that is one of the top defensive teams in Dade County. Stranahan is led by big man Inady Legiste, who is skilled with his back to the basket and plays with a great motor. Chayse Culpepper and Dave Herard are the backcourt for the Dragons and play with great place. Stranahan is a heavy favorite in this match-up and they seem to be a collision course for a rematch with University School in the regional semifinals. 


#3 Pine Crest Panthers vs #6 North Broward Prep Eagles


This regional quarterfinal is a rematch of last week’s district championship in which Pine Crest defeated North Broward Prep 56 to 51. The Panthers are led by two high major college prospects in 6’4 sophomore twins Ausar Thompson and Amen Thompson. They play with great poise and they make Pine Crest a state championship contender. North Broward Prep has a talented group led by point guard and Florida Southern commit Dominick Denny. They have a talented group of underclassmen in 6’8 sophomore Justin Abson, 6’6 junior MK Ashmore, and 6’3 sophomore Maximus Fuentes. The Eagles have lost all three match-ups to Pine Crest this season and will be looking to shake those demons to move on to the regional semifinals. Despite Pine Crest dominating the season series this should be a competitive game that comes down to the fourth quarter. 


#2 Gulliver Prep Raiders vs #7 Hallandale Chargers


Gulliver has had a great season under new coach Gary Decesare and their senior laden group is ready to challenge for the school’s first state championship. They are led by point guard Gabe Taylor and 6’7 Tony Sanders. Sanders and Taylor can light the scoreboard up in a hurry and are a challenge for any defense. They have a strong group of complementary players in Eddie Jackson, Diego Lamonica, Donnel Harris, Connor Sazant, and Niki Aixala. They face a Chargers team that has had a solid season and have been very competitive all season long. The Raiders are a big favorite entering this game, but at this time of year anything can happen. 


3A Region 4


#1 Chaminade-Madonna Lions vs #8 Palmer Trinity Falcons


    The Lions are absolutely loaded. They have star big man Andre Weir, who recently committed to Richmond, to dominate the paint. Johnny O’Neil is committed to American and is an athletic stretch four that does not seem to miss. They have a lot of depth on the perimeter with Thaddius Franklin, Justin Allen, Dax Kaye, Danny Neumann, and Pierce Trop. Palmer Trinity made a nice run to the district title game where they were defeated 51 to 26 by Westminster Christian. The Falcons do not have the talent on paper to compete with a Lions team that is littered with college prospects. Chaminade has the talent and skill to win the 3A state title and will have to navigate a very competitive region to reach Lakeland. 


#4 Miami Country Day Spartans vs #5 Florida Christian Patriots


The Spartans have a talented young core led by Jordan Cooke, Jasai Miles, and Ryan Richardson and have battled all season long with a tough schedule. They avenged an earlier loss to Divine Savior in order to capture the district title and are poised to keep their season going by avenging another previous loss. These two teams met earlier in the season in a game Florida Christian claimed with a 69 to 65 victory. The Patriots may be the top outside shooting team in South Florida. Ryan Ramirez, Davin Hernandez, and Jordan Guerrero are just some of their arsenal of snipers. This will be a tough game for both teams and one that is very likely to be high scoring. 


#3 Westminster Christian Warriors vs #6 Ransom Everglades Raiders


    Westminster is an extremely well coached and talented group that will be a tough out in the playoffs. They are led by junior 6’8 big man James Henderson and junior guards Joey Brown and Frankie Idlett. They play with great ball movement and have a diverse offensive attack. The Raiders have had an outstanding season and have achieved a 24 and 4 record. Junior point guard Neil Schiff is the standout player for the Raiders and has had a great year averaging over 17 points per game. The Raiders will need a great shooting night to be competitive in this match-up, but with the kind of cinderella season they put together it is tough to count them out. 


#2 Riviera Prep Bulldogs vs #7 Divine Savior Sharks


    Riviera has been one of the top teams in South Florida this season. They are led by freshman wing Osmar Garcia Araujo, sophomore point guard Esteban Luberes, and senior combo guard David Perez. They have great shooting around their main players due to senior AJ Hoynack and junior Lucas Brenner. They have their sights set on a return trip to Lakeland. Divine Savior has had a great season and has a very solid group of guards each capable of big scoring nights. They face a tough match-up against Riviera who has faced a much tougher schedule and is ready for big games. The Sharks will need a herculean effort to keep this game competitive, but they have the shooting and skill to make a lot of games interesting. 


3A Region 3


#1 Santa Fe Catholic Hawks vs #8 Somerset Prep Hurricanes


Santa Fe Catholic is ranked as a top 3 team in the state and the number 1 team in 3A. Seniors Javon Bell and Joe Stubbs both average over 16 points per game and lead a loaded Hawks’ squad. The Hurricanes were the last team to make the playoffs and had a 9-12 season record. Somerset plays with a lot of energy, but Santa Fe is an overwhelming match-up for them. The Hawks are poised to win a state title and will have to navigate a loaded region after this game to clinch a spot in Lakeland. 


#4 Holy Trinity Tigers vs #5 Calvary Christian Eagles


Holy Trinity enters the playoffs off the strength of a 42 to 40 win in their district championship game. They will have to face a loaded Calvary Christian squad, who dropped their district final to Westminster Academy. The Eagles are led by nationally ranked sophomore Gregg Glenn who averaged 15 points per game this season. Calvary also features talented junior guard Noah Tovar and strong athletic wing Dylan Canonville. The Eagles are a favorite entering this contest despite being on the road and it will take a tremendous effort from the Tigers to defeat them. If Holy Trinity can control the Eagles’ size and athleticism they will have a chance to be in a competitive game till the end. 


#3 Saint Andrew’s Cardinals vs #6 Sagemont Lions


The Cardinals face a Sagemont team that has had a great season that has the program with tons of positive momentum. Saint Andrew’s has a loaded frontline that features Yale commit Yussif Basa-ama and supremely talented junior Joshua Minott, who both average over 15 a game. Jackson May is a solid stretch 4 for this group and junior Devin Hines is an above the rim wing that provides perimeter scoring. Sagemont is led by sophomore Rickey Ballard, junior Ralphael Houssou, and senior Jurguen Ramos. If the Lions can control the Cardinals frontline they have the talent and skill to make this game a thriller. Saint Andrew’s will look to establish Yussif and Minott early and take control of this regional quarterfinal. 


#2 Westminster Academy Lions vs #7 Cardinal Newman Crusaders


The Lions were very impressive in a district title win against Calvary Christian. They are led by 6’10 sophomore Ben Middlebrooks who is a major division 1 recruit. Stephan Swenson, who is committed to Stetson, is the point guard and leader for this group. The Lions are looking to add yet another state championship and seem to be rolling at the right time. The Crusaders have a young and talented group, but this match-up is a tough one for them. Cardinal Newman will compete and be ready for the game, but the task of knocking off Westminster Academy is a daunting one for them. 


2A Region 4


#1 Schoolhouse Prep Wolfpack vs #8 Hebrew Academy Warriors


The Wolfpack are the heavy favorite in Region 4 and are led by the talented guard trio of Jose-Luis Benitez, Jimel Cofer, and Anthony Lopez. They faced Hebrew Academy in the district championship and won the game in dominant fashion 87 to 46. Hebrew has had a nice season and it is a big achievement for them to be able to qualify for the regional playoffs, but it is hard to envision them competing in this game. Schoolhouse is too talented and athletic to be challenged in this contest. The Wolfpack made it to Lakeland last year and have their sights on the school’s first state title this season. 


#4 Lake Worth Chrisitan Defenders vs #5 Village Academy Tigers


The Tigers are led by star guard Shane Allen and captured the top at large bid in this region. Lake Worth entered their district tournament needing to win it all to clinch a playoff spot and they were able to do just that. They will host Village Academy and are led by guard Logan Migliori, who averaged 16 points per game this season. The Tigers are more battled tested due to a tougher schedule, but it will be interesting to see if Lake Worth can keep up their winning ways and upset Village Academy to reach the semifinals. 


#3 Champagnat Catholic Lions vs #6 Miami Christian Victors


This regional quarterfinal will be a rematch of an earlier regular season game, in which Champagnant defeated Miami Christian 68 to 56. The Lions have a talented and deep group led by high flying wing Melvin Diaz. Champagnat also features knockdown shooter Justice Galezo and talented lead guard Brandon WIlliams. The Victors are led by senior big man Lorenzo Baldera and have been very competitive all season. If the Victors are to pull off the upset in this game, they will need to slow down Champagnat who thrives playing in transition. Champagnat will look to use their athleticism and depth to overwhelm Miami Christian and put down any hopes of a Victors’ upset. 


#2 Grandview Prep Pride vs #7 Avant Garde Academy Sharks


Avant Garde has gone 19 and 3 this season and it has been a breakout season for this program. They faced a formidable Champagnat team in their district final and were defeated in lopsided game 82 to 46. They will have face a talented Grandview team that seems too much for the Sharks to overcome in the quarterfinals. The Pride are led by star guard Harry Santiago, who can light up a scoreboard in a hurry. Micah Octave is another talented Grandview scorer who has had a great year. Look for Grandview to overwhelm Avant Garde with their size, skill, and playmaking abiliy.