R.M.F. Road to Lakeland: Regional Finals (1A-4A) and Semifinals (5A-9A) Preview and Predictions

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By: Jesse Nadelman (Staff Writer) and Jean Dubuisson II (Co-founder)

The regional semifinals for 1A-4A, and the regional quarterfinals – for 5A-9A – were fun in South Florida. It certainly was playoff basketball at its finest.

We had our fair share of upsets – McArthur knocking off Mater Academy, Northeast falling to Sebastian River – while also a ton of close games – Calvary and Saint Andrew’s coming down to the wire, overtime between Ely and Dwyer, triple overtime between Palmetto and Coral Gables, among a ton of other great games – and we also had some blowouts as Dillard, Westminster, Miami Christian, and University School were among schools that won big.

Unfortunately, some great seasons and careers came to a close, but that’s how it is when it’s do-or-die time.

But last week was only the first step.

In South Florida region’s in 1A-4A, there are just two teams left in each, with the winner punching a ticket to the state championships in Lakeland. For 5A-9A, there are still two more steps until Lakeland. It starts with the regional semifinals, but some key showdowns on hand. Rematches combined with crash course collisions between South Florida powers make up what is an impressive slate of games on Tuesday night.

The Road to Lakeland is in full swing, and it is fun, to say the least.

May we remind you that R.M.F. Magazine will has you covered the entire way on the road to the FHSAA state championships in Lakeland, with predictions and previews for each round of regionals.

For each regional game including a South Florida team, R.M.F. Magazine’s Jean Dubuisson II and Jesse Nadelman will predict the winner, and give reasoning.

We also have South Florida regional brackets here, which will be updated throughout regionals.

Playoff basketball is the best basketball

Enjoy.

Prediction Records:

Jesse Nadelman (28-4)

Jean Dubuisson II (26-6)

CLASS 1A-4A (Regional Finals)

*All games played Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00 P.M. unless noted otherwise.

CLASS 2A

Region 4 

Game 10- QWgeqLBw_400x400Grandview Prep at l6x-mA_N.jpg-largeMiami Christian

Jesse Nadelman: (Staff Writer):

Miami Christian wins by 26

Miami Christian – R.M.F.’s number one team in South Florida – hasn’t lost in the state of Florida all season and has played the toughest schedule in South Florida. Although Joe Dawson is an outstanding coach and will get Grandview ready, this is too far fetched of a task. New Miami Christian coach Juan Cardona has done an excellent job and the constant intensity and pressure the Victors play with will be way too much for a younger Pride team. Look for Miami Christian to win big and get to Lakeland for the second time in the last three years. 

Jean Dubuisson II (Co-founder):

Miami Christian wins by 20+

Like I’ve stated all season this Miami Christian team is on a MISSION. I don’t see The Pride slowing this group down. The Victors are focused!

CLASS 3A

Region 4

Game 10- logo-1076698Village Academy at Champagnat-Catholic-School-Hialeah-Campus-LtiA3NChampagnat Catholic

Jesse Nadelman:

Village Academy wins by 12

Terrance Atkinson has done a phenomenal job with Village Academy and has his team on a mission to get to Lakeland. The Tigers will have their hands full going on the road against a tough Champagnat Catholic team, but I think Village will get it done. The Tigers use their athleticism and speed the game up to punch a ticket to Lakeland. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Village Academy wins by 3

Champagnat had a good opening round victory vs. Berean Christian, but it gets tougher with Village Academy. Village had a slow start in the opening round having a little bit of a struggle vs Coral Springs Christian Academy until the 2nd half surge but look for Village to win in a close one.

CLASS 4A

Region 3 

Game 12- Unknown-1Westminster Academy at Angry Lion LogoSagemont

Jesse Nadelman:

Sagemont wins by 4

This is going to be one of the top games in the state Tuesday. Brilliant coach Adam Ross has Sagemont playing its best basketball of the season at the perfect time. They haven’t lost since December 18th. I know Westminster is on a mission to get back to Lakeland and reverse its fortunes this year and coach Ehren Wallhoff, too, is great and will have his team ready, but I think this one comes down to guard play and top players. Give me Tyler Polley – who will take over this game – and underrated point guard Samir Stewart to have big days. Sagemont wins at home to advance to Lakeland.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Sagemont wins by 5

These two teams in the last two years have had some classic battles. This will be no different. Sagemont will be playing inspired basketball with the recent death of Fab Melo (Sagemont Alum). Sagemont is looking to regain it position at the top in 4A. This game should go down to the wire, with Westminster Academy is looking to go back to Lakeland for the second year in a row. The difference here will be between Tyler Polley (UConn Signee) vs (Jr) standout (Pg) Zach Scott, who will lead there team?

Region 4

Game 10- QozX2WZJ_400x400Florida Christian at archbishop-carroll-bulldogsArchbishop Carroll

Jesse Nadelman:

Archbishop Carroll wins by 21

Florida Christian is a talented young group, but as the district championship between these two showed us – Archbishop Carroll won 62-20 – Juan Herandez’ teams don’t play around in the playoffs. Expect the Bulldogs to play exceptional defense and shoot the ball well, reaching Lakeland for the second consecutive season. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Archbishop Carroll wins by 20+

Rematch from the district championship. The Bulldogs have flexed their muscle several times this season vs. the Patroits, and it won’t stop now.

CLASS 5A-9A (Regional Semifinals)

*All games Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00 P.M. unless noted otherwise.

CLASS 5A

Region 3

Game 24- Sader with Sword LogoCardinal Newman at 3461581_34f3986347384325bb6f36a82deb4c00Oxbridge Academy

Jesse Nadelman:

Cardinal Newman wins by 6

This is the fourth and final meeting between these two top West Palm programs, and it should be a dogfight. Oxbridge has won two of three – including the district championship – but I think Newman wins this one. K.J. Fitzgerald is one of the best guards in the country, and will lead the Crusaders. Expect freshman 6-7 Scotty Barnes to also be a key and Newman to play good defense to secure a spot in the regional finals. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Cardinal Newman wins by 4

Oxbridge Academy has found different ways all season to come up with WINS. This will be another time where they will need a plan. I don’t think KJ Fitzgerald (Cardinal Newman) is going to allow that to happen this time around. Look for Fitzgerald to dominate early in this game.

Region 4

Game 19- photo1825Calvary Christian at alogoUniversity School

Jesse Nadelman:

University Schools wins by 1

This is by far the toughest game to pick. I know both Cilk McSweeney and Adrian Sosa will have their squads ready to go. Oddly enough, offense will be key in another district championship rematch here. Calvary Christian is one of the best defensive teams in Florida, but can they score enough to win this game? This will come down to wire – a battle of 5A titans – but I think sophomores Vernon Carey Jr. and Balsa Korprivica will come up big down the stretch, like they did in the district title game, to win it. Whichever team controls the glass and paint will be the difference. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Calvary Christian wins by 3

Another Lakeland caliber game happening right here in South Florida. Calvary Christian and University School spilt the season (1-1), with University School winning the district Championship. It’s always hard to beat a senior driven team during the playoffs, and that will give Calvary the edge in this game. U-School will be ready to play but I think the seniors of Calvary will have revenge on their minds.

Game 20- materbottom1.png.htmlMater Lakes Academy at teamlogo_1398_1337268769933Gulliver Prep

Jesse Nadelman:

Gulliver Prep wins by 7

This will be another fairly close game, and Mater Lakes Academy has had a phenomenal season, but in the end I will go with Gulliver Prep. The Raiders’ young talent has progressive played a lot better as the season has gone on, and veteran coach Manny Bloom’s teams are built for games like this. Expect home court to play a factor too, as Gulliver is 10-1 at home this year (not including tournaments).

Jean Dubuisson II:

Mater Lakes Academy wins by 6

Mater Lakes Academy is probably biggest surprise coming out of Dade County this year. The small charter school in the northwest corner of Miami Lakes sits with no gym to practice or play a home game. Juan Urbina (HC) hasn’t let that stopped his bears from the best season in the schools short history. (Soph) (G) 6’5 Cyrus Largie has been leading the way. Gulliver Prep is another surprising Dade County team of young talent as well, lead by Jamal Mashburn, Jr. Manny Bloom will have his troops ready!

CLASS 6A

Region 4 

Game 20- hsdm16Suncoast at ic7G8ilX_400x400Hallandale

Jesse Nadelman:

Suncoast wins by 8

Suncoast was ousted last year by Coconut Creek in this exactly spot, and will be fired up to not let it happen again. Hallandale is talented, but wins games offensively. I think Suncoast will try and turn this into a slow paced defensive game and take away Hallandale’s threes. Give me Suncoast to go on the road and clinch a spot in the regional finals. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Hallandale wins by 8

Suncoast has been one of your better teams out of Palm Beach this year and in recent years has established a culture. Hallandale coming off one of its best seasons in recent history, including winning the district championship. The Chargers have the talent and the depth to make it to Lakeland and add the fact that it’s a senior bunch that’s trying to leave a LEGACY!

CLASS 7A

Region 4 

Game 19- high-school-football-player-SebastianRiverLogo_7361446_ver1.0_640_480Sebastian River at logoDillard

Jesse Nadelman:

Dillard wins by 25

Sebastian River impressively upset Northeast at home in the regional quarterfinals, but going on the road against Dillard will be a whole other animal. The Panthers’ starting five are all committed to play division one, and when Dillard needs to turn it on, it turns it on, as depicted by a 43-point win in the regional quarterfinals. Dillard cruises in this one. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Dillard wins by 20+

Game 20- miami-norlandMiami Norland at 7bab56e03af3fc8140d576ddb3b2603d_400x400Doral Academy

Jesse Nadelman:

Miami Norland wins by 15

Doral Academy has enjoyed a surprise good year, but Norland — although young this season — will be too much. Lawton Williams’ teams come to play this time of year, and the Viking’s interior presence will be a key factor to go along with senior Kenneth Rolle’s ability to score the rock.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Miami Norland wins by 13

CLASS 8A

Region 4

Game 19- images-1Palm Beach Lakes at Unknown-1Blanche Ely 

Jesse Nadelman:

Blanche Ely wins by 5

Don’t bet against Melvin Randall. The legendary coach has Blanche Ely looking for its third straight state title. In the regional quarterfinals, Dwyer was up as much as 12 on Ely but the Tigers still fought back to win in overtime. Palm Beach Lakes is very good, and underrated. The Rams will also put up a major fight, but I think Ely got a wakeup call against Dwyer and will get out to a quick start on their way to a close win. Tigers take another step towards a three-peat. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

Blanche Ely wins by 2

This is arguably the best game of the night. The Tigers just got out of a overtime thriller vs Dwyer and The Rams coming off a high scoring victory vs Ft. Lauderdale. This will be an instant classic!

Game 20- mustang7.jpgMcArthur at NT Logo drop shadow TransparentNova

Jesse Nadelman:

McArthur wins by 4

How about head coach Warren Gale? Every time one of his team falls, they get right back up. Gale again has his Mustangs overachieving and in the regional semifinals, but they face a Nova team that clobbered them in the district title game. But McArthur was also beat bad by Nova when the two teams first met in the regular season, and the Mustangs came back and won the second showdown. I say the same happens here, as Gale and McArthur come prepared and go on the road to clinch a spot in the regional finals for the third straight year. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

McArthur wins by 3

This will be a tough task for The Mustangs. The Titians of Nova have been a sleeper team all season in Broward County. They won the district, and they beat The Mustangs by 35+ earlier in the year and are a solid team. But I think with that being said Coach Warren Gale will have this Mustangs team focused and drive.

CLASS 9A

Region 3 

Game 23- wellington logoWellington at 1663Lake Worth

Jesse Nadelman:

Wellington wins by 10

Lake Worth is one of the best defensive teams in Palm Beach County, and the game being at home will help the Trojans. But I just think Trent Frazier is on a mission. The Wellington senior guard is truly very tough to stop and when he is getting it going it opens things up for the rest of the Wolverines offense. If Wellington is able to score – which I think Frazier will make sure they win – the game will stray away from being defensive and I believe Wellington will definitely be able to outscore Lake Worth. Coach Colin’s Wolverines head to the regional finals again.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Wellington wins by 8 

Game 24- DeerfieldDeerfield Beach at CoralSprings1Coral Springs

Jesse Nadelman:

Coral Springs wins by 2

I’ve learned you should never doubt Colts coach Devin Barta, who has now won three district championships in just his four years as coach (Before he arrived, they hadn’t won in nearly 40 years). Barta is quietly becoming one of the top coaches in South Florida, and his teams play with a passion and intensity that can’t be duplicated. I know Deerfield Beach is motivated to get revenge and senior guard Edwin Louis is one of the top scorers in the county, but I like Coral Springs to come up with another good defensive game-plan, and somehow – although the Colts lost all but two players from last year’s state championship team – make it back to the regional finals.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Coral Springs wins by 1

Deerfield Beach vs Coral Springs part four will be a battle. The Bucks looking to avenage the district championship game and the Colts looking to repeat as state champions. Who will more hungry ? The Colts are a tough bunch at home.

Region 4 

Game 19- LfBe_x0qNorth Miami at Unknown-3Pembroke Pines Charter (Game played at Flanagan)

Jesse Nadelman:

Pines Charter wins by 5

Another tough game to pick. Both North Miami and Pines Charter went on the road in the quarterfinals and beat district champions. North Miami did it by 36 points at Miramar. But what I’ve learned is that backcourts are huge in the playoffs. I think Pines Charter’s guard duo of Malik Hardy – a Player of the Year candidate – and Eddani Brithwaite comes up big and helps the Jaguars edge a tough North Miami team.

Jean Dubuisson II:

Pines Charter wins by 5

Game 20- huii_fTXSouth Miami at Georgia State Panthers Logo Iron-on Transfers (Heat Transfers) N4489Miami Palmetto

Jesse Nadelman:

South Miami wins by 12

This is the second time in the last month these two teams have faced off after meeting in the G.M.A.C. finals. South Miami closely won that won, and I believe they will win this one also. Palmetto nearly pulled it off last time, and Marcos Molina will have his team ready, but I feel that Oklahoma State signees Zack Dawson and Latravian Glover will step it up and be too much for a young Panthers squad. 

Jean Dubuisson II:

South Miami wins by 4

his is going to be a very competitive game, Oklahoma St Signee (Pg) Zach Dawson is a player. Palmetto will be in the game but Dawson will be the difference.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jesse Nadelman

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Jesse Nadelman is a 17-year old reporter for R.M.F. Magazine who currently is a senior at North Broward Prep. Growing up in South Florida, Jesse has grown an intense passion for sports media. He covers all of South Florida’s top high school basketball teams and events for R.M.F. In addition to contributing to R.M.F, Jesse also writes for FloridaHSFootball.com, covering South Florida High School Football, and contributes to a variety of other outlets.

You could follow Jesse on twitter: @Jessenadelman

Jean Dubuisson II

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Jean is the co-founder of R.M.F. Magazine and the head coach for ASA Miami College.

You could follow Jean on twitter: @DoobieRMF

You could follow R.M.F. Magazine on twitter: @RMFMagazine

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