Varsity Weekly: FHSAA boys basketball district drama; soccer, cheer, weightlifting playoffs

District tournaments aren’t the pressure-cookers they were before the FHSAA adopted a power rankings system that assures top boys basketball teams such as Oak Ridge, Olympia and Windermere reach the regional rounds. But there’s still drama for bubble teams that had region rankings in the 6-7-8-9-10 range going into district playoffs this week.

Hagerty (19-7) for instance, might have to knock off top seed Orlando University (19-5) in a Thursday night Class 7A District 4 semifinal at home to make the cut.

The Huskies, who have won eight games in a row as a youthful team that is maturing, were No. 8 in the Region 1 rankings going into the final week of regular-season play. Those numbers will be updated after district tournaments conclude with championship games on Saturday night.

“Even if we win Thursday, is that enough?” Hagerty coach Josh Kohn wondered on Wednesday. “Whatever happens to Winter Park and Apopka matters a lot. I think what we’re all thinking is, ‘Go out and win the district championship.’ ”

Four district champions per region earn automatic regional berths. They will be joined in Feb. 15 region quarterfinal play by four at-large qualifiers based on the power ratings.

University was No. 5 in Region 1 as of Jan. 29 and will certainly be an at-large qualifier if it fails to capture the District 4 title. Four other area teams are jousting for two at-large berths.

Winter Park (15-10) was No. 6, followed by No. 7 Boone (13-12) and Hagerty. Apopka (15-11) was No. 9 but ascending with five wins in a row going into its 7A-5 district semifinal.

Boone is going to slip after losing a Tuesday 7A-4 quarterfinal to Timber Creek.

Sanford Seminole (19-6), the 7A District 2 favorite, is No. 1 in the region and a lock to make the playoffs. Ditto for three teams in 7A-3: second-ranked Evans (15-9), third-ranked Lake Brantley (19-6) and fourth-ranked Ocoee (18-8).

Check here at for district tournament schedules

King of the diamond

Bob King, who retired from coaching Winter Park baseball in 2015 after 32 seasons, is back in the game at age 73. He was recently named head coach for Father Lopez, a Daytona Beach Catholic school.

King, who compiled a 597-328-4 record at Winter Park, including a 1998 state runner-up finish, now lives five minutes from Lopez and volunteered to help the Green Wave last season.

“When the situation opened, we jumped on Bob. The kids love him,” said Lopez athletic director Brad Ridenour.

“I don’t know what 73 is supposed to feel like but I feel great,” King said in a phone interview. “I feel really good about coaching these guys.”

Rodney Beatty, another retiree who was a head coach at West Orange and Orlando University, is one of King’s assistants.

King was an assistant coach at Lake Highland Prep for four years after leaving Winter Park but later had to overcome serious health issues after suffering a (hemorrhagic) stroke in 2022.

“I had a bacterial infection in my heart and that went into my brain,” King said. “Doctors didn’t think I had much hope but here I am. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Hornets haven

Bishop Moore boys and girls soccer teams are home again Friday for 4A regional semifinal matches after breezing past the quarterfinal round Tuesday by a combined 14-0 score.

The girls back-to-back defending championship team faces Titusville at 5 p.m. The boys play The Villages at 7 p.m.

Montverde Academy, the defending 3A girls champion, is home against Lake Highland Prep. The Eagles won 2-1 in the district-championship game on Jan. 30 to improve to 7-1-1 vs. the Highlanders since 2012.

Orangewood Christian hosts Foundation Academy in a 2A boys semifinal. The Rams have won the past three meetings vs. Foundation, including a 3-1 decision last week.

Here is Friday’s schedule:

Boys soccer

Class 4A Region 2

No. 4 The Villages (12-3-0) at No. 1 Bishop Moore (21-2-0)

No. 3 Davenport (14-4-0) at No. 2 Satellite (11-1-6)

Class 3A Region 2

No. 5 Tampa Berkeley Prep (7-6-4) at No. 1 Tampa Prep (15-1-2)

No. 3 Bishop Verot (11-5-1) vs. winner of Wednesday’s No. 2 Lake Highland (9-6-1) vs. No. 7 Clearwater Calvary Christian (7-4-5) game.

Class 2A Region 2

No. 4 Circle Christian (8-5-1) at No. 1 Lakeland Christian (16-3-2)

No. 3 Foundation Academy (11-5-0) at No. 2 Orangewood Christian (13-3-1)

Girls soccer

Class 4A Region 2

No. 4 Titusville (12-5-1) at No. 1 Bishop Moore (11-6-2)

No. 6 The Villages (10-4-0) at No. 2 Satellite (17-4-1)

Class 3A Region 2

No. 5 Lake Highland (9-5-2) at No. 1 Montverde (14-4-1)

No. 3 Berkeley Prep (15-4-0) at No. 2 Bishop Verot (17-1-1)

Class 2A Region 1

No. 4 University Christian (11-2-2) at No. 1 St. Johns Country Day (13-2-5)

No. 3 Mount Dora Christian (15-3-0) at No. 2 Christ’s Church (9-5-1)

Class 2A Region 2

No. 4 Jupiter Christian (14-3-0) at No. 1 Lakeland Christian (19-3-1)

No. 3 Geneva School (14-2-0) at No. 2 Santa Fe Catholic (16-3-4)

Cheer champs

Five Orlando area schools captured competitive cheer championships in Lakeland over the weekend.

Winter Park dominated the Class 2A Medium Division with a 90.20 score after setting a school record with a 94.6 grade at the Region 2 meet. That marked the Wildcats’ 12th state title, which is tied for second best in FHSAA competitive cheer history dating to 2008. West Nassau owns the record with 13 followed by Winter Park and Bishop Moore.

Lake Mary posted a stellar 90.40 score in the 2A Extra Large Division to claim its seventh consecutive cheer championship.

Foundation Academy won its third in a row after earning a 90.10 score to run away with the 1A Large Non-Tumbling title.

West Orange won the 2A small division for its third championship.

Lake Brantley returned most of its 2023 state runner-up squad and claimed its second title as the 2A Large Non-Tumbling winner.

Hagerty was runner-up to Plant City in a 2A Non-Tumbling category. The First Academy placed second in a 1A Non-Tumbling final.

Weightlifting winners

Hagerty, Leesburg and Winter Springs claimed girls weightlifting region championships.

Leesburg hosted the 2A Region 2 meet and won both the Traditional (bench and clean & jerk) and Olympic style (C&J and snatch) team titles.

Winter Springs won the Traditional title in 3A Region 2, marking the Bears’ seventh consecutive region championship season. But Hagerty’s depth showed as the Huskies beat the Bears with a big 59-point showing in the Olympic style.

The FHSAA state meets are Friday, Feb. 16, for 3A and Saturday, Feb., 17, for 1A and 2A at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

Extra points

Dylan Labuhn, a 6-foot-3 senior guard for The Master’s Academy, surpassed 100 3-point shots made for the boys basketball season in a Senior Night win against Harmony last week.

Dr. Phillips sophomore London Hatch had 34 points, including a school-record 8 3-pointers, and 9 rebounds in a 73-62 win against West Orange.

Varsity Content Editor Buddy Collings can be reached by email at