By Kyle Coppola
Who’s In Who’s Out? High School Basketball Bracketology Is Here!
Which Schools Will Make The Playoffs?
The end of the High School Boys Basketball season is looming and the district playoffs are coming up fast! Let’s take a look at the schools who are currently in good shape headed into the districts!
Mount Dora Christian Academy 17-5
The Bulldogs are in prime position to make another playoff run this year. The Dogs have been excellent and have one of the best players in the county Kycen Pruett who is committed to Marshall University. The Bulldogs head to the district playoffs as the heavy favorite to win the Championship but they do have to play Halifax Academy at some point. Halifax is currently 20-2 so that could be an incredible district final! Even if MDCA looses the District they are still assured a playoff spot with the quality wins they have. MDCA will be looking to make another run at the FHSAA final four this year!
The Villages Charter School 14-8
The Buffalo are in really good shape. They scheduled their toughest season to date and although they currently sit at 14-8 don’t let the right losses fool you! Those losses came against some amazingly talented teams and at least 2 or 3 games were winnable. They have some top tier caliber wins this year. The tail end of the schedule doesn’t provide much ranking boosting for the Buffalo but they can’t afford to lose against Trinity Catholic or Mount Dora.
Losses to either of those teams could be detrimental to their playoff rankings. The Buffalo are lead by senior Sam Walters and Freshman Chris Washington. They should be a force to be reckoned with in the districts! Look for the Buffalo to be the heavy favorites as District play begins in less than a week!
Wildwood Wildcats 16-6
The Wildcats are having an impressive year! The Wildcats don’t have the most impressive schedule in the county but they do have 16 wins and there is a very good chance they can get into the playoffs even if they don’t win a district championship! The Wildcats are lead by Sophomore Adyn Corbin who is averaging close to 15 points per game. It’s a good chance the Wildcats can make it into the playoffs.
The strength of schedule is a little bit of an underlying issue but overall the Wildcats are in a good position to grab at least a #3 seed. That could change if the Wildcats win out the rest of their games and win a District Championship which would certainly bolster their chances at a possible #2 or #1 seed in their region when the playoffs come around!
Lake Minneola Hawks 15-8
The Hawks are currently in a pretty decent position but more work needs to be done. They currently sit at 15-8 and while that’s certainly a good position this team wants to solidify a playoff spot and they can do that by winning a district championship. The Hawks finish the season against IMG Academy which is not an easy game at all. The Hawks play in a fairly weak division so they shouldn’t have an issue reaching the district championship but they would need to win against Wekiva who currently sit at 20-3. Not an easy road for the Hawks but we believe they sit in a fairly good position to have a potential playoff birth.
Umatilla Bulldogs 18-3
The Bulldogs are perhaps the best team in Lake & Sumter Counties. They are a winning machine and they aren’t slowing down. The Bulldogs are only getting better as the season wears on. Jeric Hutto is averaging nearly 13 points per game while Herly Brutus averaging 8 rebounds per game. While Umatillas schedule is weak they have a great opportunity to go into the district tournament and make some noise especially if they can defeat The Villages Buffalo. There is a strong possibility those two teams would meet in the final. If they do both schools will likely get into the playoffs but winning the championship game would increase rankings significantly.
On The Bubble
South Lake Eagles 13-10
The Eagles are on the bubble. They need to win out against Mount Dora and East Ridge and then make it to at least the District Championship game to have a shot at the playoffs. Winning the District would cement their spot in the playoffs. The Eagles have not had an easy road this year. Isaiah Pina is averaging 15 points per game and has been the backbone of the Eagles this season. They cannot lose anymore games. South Lake controls its own destiny at this point. Nothing short of winning out and making it to a possible District Championship will be effective.
Leesburg Yellow Jackets 10-9
Leesburg is in a difficult position. The season has not been what they had hoped for. They have to play Wekiva and Olympia to end the year two teams who have over 20 wins. If Leesburg ends the year with a sub 500 record that’s still ok. However there is likely only one way to the playoffs. First Leesburg needs to make it to the District Championship game.
Not a difficult feat because the division is weak this year. They will likely play Lecanto in the District Championship game. Now if Leesburg wins they will clinch a birth in the playoffs. If they lose this is where it becomes interesting. Depending on the last few games and how they play out the Yellow Jackets may or may not have the points or rankings to get in. This would mean it’s imperative to win the District Championship at all costs!
On The Outside Looking In
The Eustis Panthers 11-8
The Panthers are in a very difficult spot. Sitting at 11-8 the schedule alone isn’t good enough to get them into the playoffs. This team is going to have to make some noise in the district playoffs to have a shot at making it to the playoffs. The losses have not been pretty and the teams they’ve beaten are not highly ranked other than Cocoa.
The panthers have lost their last 4 out of 5 games and have been struggling down the stretch. They will probably end up playing Dunnellon in the first round of the districts. If they lose that game it’s likely the end of the season for the Panthers. If they can somehow make it to the District Championship it would give the FHSAA officials something to think about.
South Sumter Raiders 11-7
The Raiders are third in the standings but they are on the outside looking in. The Raiders have games remaining against MDCA and The Villages which could possibly help their rankings if they win those key games. If they lose then the road becomes very difficult. The Raiders have no choice but to try and make it to a District Championship game. Casyn Parsons and Jordan Everett have been stand out players this season and will look to keep the Raiders season alive coming down the stretch
Mount Dora Hurricanes 9-10
The Hurricanes are in some real trouble. They are second to last in the division and the only chance they have at making the playoffs is pulling a stunner and winning the District Championship. Anything else and The Hurricanes season is in jeopardy of ending in early February.
The First Academy (Leesburg) 9-9
The Eagles don’t have the strength of schedule to get into the playoffs. They will need to at least possibly make it to a District Championship to have a shot at the playoffs. Easier said than done but you never know. The Eagles season is on life support at this point. They need to make a run in the districts to extend it.
East Ridge Knights 5-16
The Knights have had a tough year. With only five wins East Ridge needs to pull a stunner and win the District Championship. They are currently second to last in the standings. They cannot possibly get into the playoffs on rankings so it’s championship or bust for the Knights. Their playoff hopes are currently at 4%.
Tavares Bulldogs 2-20
Last but not least we get to Tavares. It would be almost impossible for Tavares to make the playoffs in any way. Only a district championship could possibly help them but the odds of that happening are slim to none. But never say never we have seen amazing things happen. The odds of The Bulldogs making the playoffs are less than 1% at this point.
Photos Provided By –
The Villages Charter School
South Lake Facebook
Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.
For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.
Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.
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