By Izzy Gould
Published February 4, 2007
(Note: This information was compiled before Friday's games.)
Class 6A-7 at Countryside
Schedule - Tuesday: No. 6 Mitchell vs. No. 3 Gaither, 6 p.m.; No. 5 Countryside vs. No. 4 Alonso, 8 p.m.; Wednesday: No. 2 Sickles vs. Mitchell/Gaither, 6 p.m.; No. 1 St. Petersburg vs. Countryside/Alonso, 8 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7 p.m.
Need to know: Mitchell has lost five straight, with its last win on Jan. 11. in a 51-40 victory over Hudson. The Mustangs are 2-7 in the new year and have not won a district game. They've lost twice to first-round opponent Gaither by an average deficit of 23 points.
Class 5A-7 at Central
Schedule - Tuesday: No. 4 River Ridge vs. No. 5 Central, 7 p.m.; Wednesday: No. 2 Land O'Lakes vs. No. 3 Wesley Chapel, 6 p.m.; No. 1 Ridgewood vs. Central/River Ridge, 8 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7 p.m.
Need to know: Ridgewood cruised through the district undefeated, winning its district games by an average of 22.5 points. Land O'Lakes secured the No. 2 spot after it overcame the loss of leading scorer Jerome Harrison, who was dismissed for breaking a team rule. Wesley Chapel has won three of its past five, though its two losses were at the hands of the Rams and Gators. River Ridge prides itself on defense and hopes to play spoiler. Despite a six-game win streak in midseason, the Royal Knights have not defeated a heavyweight.
Class 4A-8 at South Sumter
Schedule - Tuesday: No. 1 Nature Coast vs. No. 7 Hudson, 5 p.m.; No. 2 Springstead vs. No. 8 Gulf, 7 p.m.; Wednesday: No. 3 Pasco vs. No. 6 Hernando, 5 p.m.; No. 4 South Sumter vs. No. 5 Zephyrhills Friday: Nature Coast/Hudson vs. Pasco/Hernando, 5 p.m.; Springstead/Gulf vs. South Sumter/Zephyrhills, 7 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7 p.m.
Need to know: This district is led by a pair of Hernando County teams; Pasco as the No. 3 seed has perhaps the best shot of pitching an upset with Poncho Broner's up-tempo defense and perimeter shooting. Gulf has not been able to overcome the loss of Anthony Jackson, whose season ended with a felony charge and his case still pending. Hudson's Jarrod Branco could give the Cobras a boost if he can fight off an shoulder injury. And Zephyrhills has struggled to earn five wins.
Class 3A-7 at Wildwood
Schedule - Tuesday: No. 4 Umatilla vs. No. 5 The Villages, 5:30 p.m.; No. 3 Wildwood vs. No. 6 Wiregrass Ranch, 7 p.m.; Wednesday: No. 1 Ocala Trinity Catholic vs. Umatilla/Villages, 7 p.m.; No. 2 Mount Dora vs. Wildwood/Wiregrass, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7 p.m.
Need to know: Wiregrass Ranch played with freshmen and sophomores only. It traveled great distances and got beat up in the process. Its lone win was a 73-64 victory over The Villages on Nov. 28.
Class A-6 at Bishop McLaughlin
Schedule - Tuesday: No. 5 Ocala Meadowbrook vs. No. 6 Ocala St. John Lutheran, 4:30 p.m.; No. 2 Leesburg First Academy vs. No. 8 Cedar Key, 6 p.m.; No. 3 Bishop McLaughlin vs. No. 7 Hernando Christian, 7:30 p.m.; Friday: Seven Rivers Christian vs. Meadowbrook/SJL, 6 p.m.; FA/CK vs. BM/HCA, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: Championship, 7 p.m.
Need to know: The Hurricanes have enjoyed a much improved season and could advance to their first state tournament. A homecourt advantage could give them the edge they need.