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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 3 years ago

February Madness: Boys basketball district tournament previews

Seasons will be on the line beginning Feb. 1 as district tournaments get underway for varsity boys basketball.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

Things are set to get real for local varsity boys basketball teams in the first week of February.

District tournaments will begin Feb. 1, with six programs covered by the Windermere Observer participating in a total of four district tournaments. District champions and runners-up advance to the regional playoffs of their respective classifications, so area teams will need to advance to their respective district finals to keep their seasons going beyond next week.

Regional playoffs for Class 2A through Class 8A begin Feb. 11 with the quarterfinal rounds to be hosted by district champions.


Decary Croaker and the West Orange Warriors will look to surprise as the No. 4 seed.

Class 8A, District 3

TEAMS (in order of seed): Evans, Wekiva, Apopka, West Orange

TOURNAMENT LOCATION: Wekiva High School, 2501 N. Hiawassee Road, Apopka

SEMIFINALS: Feb. 3: Evans vs. West Orange, 5:30 p.m.; Wekiva vs. Apopka, 7:30 p.m.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: West Orange will lean on seniors Decary Croaker (12 ppg, 5 rpg) and Sam Mingledoff (12 ppg, 2.4 spg), with Ian Lopez (10 ppg) providing some additional firepower.

THE BUZZ: Although the Warriors finished last in district standings, competing in a four-team district means that West Orange will need to score just one upset in the semifinals to return to the playoffs. The Warriors will face Evans, whom they were swept by but played well against in two regular-season meetings (lost in double-overtime Dec. 3, 92-87; lost Jan. 21, 65-59).


Mykarri Hodges and the Olympia Titans played well in January.

Class 8A, District 5

TEAMS (in order of seed): Oak Ridge, Olympia, Dr. Phillips, Freedom, Cypress Creek. 

Editor’s note: Oak Ridge, Olympia and Dr. Phillips finished in a three-way tie for first place during district competition, leading to a blind draw to determine the seeding for the tournament.

TOURNAMENT LOCATION: Dr. Phillips High School, 6500 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando

NO. 4 VS. NO. 5: Freedom vs. Cypress Creek, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 

SEMIFINALS: Feb. 3: Oak Ridge vs. Winner (No. 4 vs No. 5), 6 p.m.; Olympia vs. Dr. Phillips, 7:30 p.m.


Senior Justin Tucker is averaging a double-double for the Panthers this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dr. Phillips has been led all season by double-double machine Justin Tucker, who is averaging 16.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Part of the Panthers’ success, though, has been anchored by someone such as Daniel Love, who does a little of everything — 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game — and then junior Nick Smith stepping up to average 11.5 points per game. Olympia’s Ronaldo Segu has averaged 14.3 points per game and has the ability to get 30 on any given night, while DeJuan Lockett is nearly averaging a double-double himself, at 12.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest.

THE BUZZ: Talk about an entire season coming down to one game — the Titans and Panthers, rivals regardless of circumstance, will meet with a playoff berth on the line. If that’s not enticing enough, this matchup could become a recurring theme, because both teams are anchored by strong underclassmen. The victor of this winner-take-all affair likely will face Oak Ridge, which should have little problem with the winner of the Freedom-Cypress Creek contest.


Damerit Brown will lead the way for Ocoee.

Class 7A, District 5

TEAMS (in order of seed): Lake Minneola, Ocoee, East River, East Ridge, Lake Howell

TOURNAMENT LOCATION: East Ridge High School, 13322 Excalibur Road, Clermont

NO. 4 VS. NO. 5:  East Ridge vs. Lake Howell, 7 p.m. Feb. 1

SEMIFINALS: Feb. 3: Ocoee vs. East River, 5 p.m.; Lake Minneola vs. Winner of 4-5 game, 7 p.m.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Although Ocoee will need a total-team effort from Elie Cadet and Eisley Porter, senior Damerit Brown (21 ppg, 5.7 rpg) will have to be at the top of his game to return the Knights to the playoffs.

THE BUZZ: As of Jan. 25, Ocoee had won seven of its past eight games and has played well in district after a shaky start to the season. If the Knights can edge East River in the semifinal, they will secure a playoff spot for the first time since 2007. Ocoee split its two regular-season meetings against East River, winning the most recent game Jan. 19, 84-58.


Adam Puebla is Legacy's leading scorer.

Class 3A, District 5

TEAMS (in order of seed): Windermere Prep, Lake Mary Prep, Orangewood Christian, Foundation Academy, Legacy, Circle Christian

TOURNAMENT LOCATION: Lake Mary Prep, 650 Rantoul Lane, Lake Mary

QUARTERFINALS: Feb. 2: Foundation vs. Legacy, 5:30 p.m.; Orangewood vs. Circle Christian, 7 p.m.

SEMIFINALS: Feb. 5: Winner (Foundation-Legacy) vs. Windermere Prep, 5:30 p.m.; Winner (Orangewood-Circle) vs. Lake Mary Prep, 7:30 p.m.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Lakers senior Parker Davis leads his team with 16.3 ppg. Meanwhile, Foundation relies on point guard Jaime Rivera for a little bit of everything, and Legacy’s Adam Puebla has carried most of the scoring load, averaging 19 points per game.

Jaquan Patterson and the Foundation Academy Lions are hopeful for an upset.

THE BUZZ: Windermere Prep was dominant in going 10-0 in district play, beating each opponent by at least 12 points. Lake Mary Prep defeated all of its opponents except for the Lakers, meaning it will be an uphill battle for either Foundation Academy or Legacy Charter to advance out of district play. A bright spot for the Lions was playing LMP close in their most recent meeting Jan. 16, falling 65-55 in a strong showing.


Junior Jacob Newman has played a big role in CFCA's success this season.

Class 2A, District 6

TEAMS (in order of seed): Orlando Christian Prep, CFCA, Agape Christian, International Community School, Geneva School

TOURNAMENT LOCATION: Orlando Christian Prep, 500 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando

NO. 4 VS. NO. 5: ICS vs. Geneva, 7 p.m. Feb. 1

SEMIFINALS: Feb. 2: Winner (No. 4 vs No. 5) vs. OCP, 5 p.m.; No. 2 CFCA vs. No. 3 Agape, 7 p.m.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: CFCA’s trio of Jacob Newman (18.8 ppg), Dante Treacy (17 ppg) and Jerred Treacy (10.6 ppg) has accounted for the lions’ share of the Eagles’ scoring production, averaging 46.5 points per game of the team’s 64.6 average. 

THE BUZZ: After a breakout season last year, CFCA’s 14-10 record may be deceiving — the Eagles have played a much tougher schedule this season and played OCP well in the regular season, falling 78-64 Dec. 10. While OCP should be a lock to advance to the final, CFCA cannot overlook Agape in the semifinals — the Eagles won the regular-season game Dec. 15 by just three points, 53-50.

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