Girls high school basketball playoffs begin Thursday. A look at the first-round matchups.
Girls high school basketball playoff capsules. All games Thursday at 7 p.m. unless indicated.
Fleming Island (23-5) at First Coast (18-7): A rematch of last year’s playoff opener which went down to the wire in a 64-59 Golden Eagles win. First Coast has a stronger offensive lineup than last season. Moriah Steele (18.4 ppg) has been one of the area’s top scorers this season. Alexus Bryant is averaging a double-double (14.7 ppg, 13 rpg). Tia Robinson (16.2 ppg)and Aubrey Burke (13.7 ppg) lead the Golden Eagles. Fleming beat First Coast early in the regular season (61-46).
Lee (12-12) at Bartram Trail (17-10): The Bears upset Fleming Island to win the district title and are well-positioned for a win here. Bella Weary has been one of the area’s top freshman (13.6 ppg), with steady G Reedy Davenport averaging 11.7 ppg. The Generals are strong on the boards, but have struggled all season to put up consistent points. Freshman Jerzy Johnson (8.3 ppg) leads Lee on offense.
Ocala Forest (18-7) at Nease (24-3): The Panthers have their deepest team in years and enough firepower to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1999. They’ve won 12 straight entering the playoffs and are diverse in scoring. Camille Hobby (14 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is on the cusp of averaging a double-double, but Kiya Turner (14 ppg), Peyton Carter (10.7 ppg) and Karissa Niles (8.6 ppg) are all capable of taking over a game.
St. Augustine (15-9) at Gainesville (21-7): The Yellow Jackets upset Middleburg in the district tournament to reach the postseason and they get an immediate hurdle. Brianna Green (14.3 ppg), Kyra Stauble (11.2 ppg) and Brooke Reed (7.4 ppg) lead St. Augustine. Gainesville enters on a nine-game winning streak.
Orange Park (16-11) at Bishop Kenny (16-9): The Crusaders won their first district title since 2014 last week with a victory over Ribault. Kenny isn’t an overpowering offensive team, but it hasn’t needed to be. The Crusaders are among the best defensive and free-throw shooting teams around, holding teams to just 35 ppg and shooting 63 percent from the foul line. Rose Dolmovich (10.6 ppg) leads the offense, but the potential for production runs about seven players deep. Dyronna Harris (12 ppg, 7.6 rpg) leads the way for OP.
Ribault (13-14) at Westside (16-7): An odd sight to see with the Trojans on the round in the playoff opener, but it’s a young lineup. Junior Peris Starks (10.5 ppg) and senior Shania Edgecombe (9.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg) lead the Trojans. These teams have met once this season, with Ribault winning 62-36. The Wolverines upset top-seeded Orange Park to win District 4-6A.
Belleview (18-8) at Ponte Vedra (20-5): The Sharks, one of the area’s most consistent programs all season, are in a very good position to return to the state semifinals. Channing Chappell (15.3 ppg), Tess Tibbits (7.9 ppg), Jackie Wagner (7.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Riley Mayer (7.3 ppg) lead Ponte Vedra.
Menendez (15-7) at Gainesville Eastside (15-9): The Falcons, led by Darrnisha Varnes and Darralela Tobler, are in the state playoffs for the third time in school history and in search of their first victory.
Bradford (11-12) at Fernandina Beach (23-4): The Pirates, winners of 12 consecutive games entering the playoffs, reached the regional finals in 2017, but it’s state semifinals or bust this year. The three-headed machine of Alexis Schulz (16.9 ppg), Sydne Caddy (14.4 ppg) and Anna Arato (12.3 ppg) should give Fernandina Beach more scoring than any team it sees in the regional rounds.
Bolles (16-9) at Newberry (19-6): The Bulldogs lost a tight game to Fernandina Beach in the district final, but upset Raines with a monster 30-point game from Fatima Samb in the semis. This is still a very young team, but this same unit nearly reached the regional finals last year. Wouldn’t at all be a surprise to see a Bolles-Fernandina Beach clash next week.
St. Joseph (12-9) at P.K. Yonge (18-7): The Flashes upset Providence in the district tournament last week to punch their playoff ticket. Next up, trying to notch their first postseason victory since 2007. Kayla Mansell (15.8 ppg) and Jessamy Gaetanos (10.5 ppg) lead the Flashes.
Tallahassee Maclay (9-17) at University Christian (19-7): The Christians played for a state championship a couple seasons ago and would like nothing more than a return trip there. UC should be positioned to advance here. Glenisha Harkless (15.7 ppg), Nigeria Harkless (13.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and Rhiana Yeomans (10.9 ppg) lead UC.
St. Johns Country Day (12-9) at North Florida Christian (14-9), 6 p.m.: The Spartans’ first state playoff trip since the 2001 season. Leading scorer Kendall Sage (22.2 ppg) has missed the latter half of the season due to injury, but the Spartans have solid options in Maggie Kent (7.5 rpg) and Kinley Hall (5.5 rpg).
Eagle’s View (0-10) at Aucilla Christian (20-5), 6 p.m.: Rematch of last year’s playoff opener, won 64-6 by Aucilla.
Tallavana Christian (5-7) at First Coast Christian (5-10): A rematch of the 2017 opener, with Tallavana winning 47-25.
North Florida Educational (4-6) at Bayshore Christian (19-1): The playoff trip for the Eagles is the first in program history.
Hilliard (10-15) at Mayo Lafayette (19-7): The Red Flashes are better than their record indicates, and have a solid recent tradition when it comes to the state playoffs. They've won two games in each of their last three trips to the postseason.