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SBLive Sports Florida’s Boys Basketball Power 25: Montverde Academy, Columbus lead the way at 1-2

Montverde Academy, Columbus are now the No. 1 and 2 teams in the Sunshine State in our weekly state rankings

The summer/fall sports are all coming to a close and we’re now heading into the winter season, which means basketball is upon us. The Sunshine State features a couple of the top teams in the country as Montverde Academy and Columbus are now our No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Find the complete breakdown of the SBLive Sports Florida Boys Basketball Power 25.

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1. Montverde Academy (4-1): The Eagles soared past Umatilla and The Villages in preseason action, but then lost 65-54 to the No. 2 team in the country, AZ Compass Prep (AZ). Montverde bounced back with a 85-42 win over Pleasant Grove (UT) and a blowout victory over IMG Academy. 

2. Columbus (3-1): Now that the season has tipped off for the Explorers, they have made their case in being one of the best programs in the Sunshine State. Columbus has wins over Wyatt (TX), DME Academy and Miami. Only loss has come to Duncanville (TX). 

3. IMG Academy (1-1): In what was a highly anticipated matchup between the Ascenders and Eagles turned into a rout. This IMG Academy is still one of the most talented teams in the Sunshine State. 

4. Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian (2-3): The Eagles are back-to-back state champions and are led by Memphis commitment Carl Cherenfant and Jaylen Curry at point guard. This team is loaded. Though they are 2-3, losses are to national powers Carmel Christian (NC), Prolific Prep of Nap Christian (CA) and Link Academy (MD). 

5. Orlando Christian Prep (3-1): The season started with a win for the Warriors as they edged out Edgewater 56-49 in a tightly contested matchup. Lone loss has come against Olympia in overtime.

6. Olympia (4-0): The Titans defeated Leesburg in a 72-69 nail biter and things don’t get any easier. They’ll see Evans soon and a bevy of tournament games during the holidays. Should get interesting for this Olympia ball club.

7. Sagemont (6-0): After winning 25 games in the 2021-2022 season, Sagemont has raced out to an undefeated start with wins over Somerset Academy, Boyd Anderson and Riviera Prep early on.

8. Riviera Prep (5-1): The Bulldogs started off the season with an impressive wins over South Dade, Keys Gate and Schoolhouse Prep. Riviera Prep brings back sophomore Dante Allen, who should see his stock rise this season.

9. Central Florida Christian (2-0): Whew. If the season opener was any indication for this Eagles team, they’ll have some battles with clubs in the region. Central Florida defeated Apopka 63-61 and Dr. Phillips 55-48 last weekend.

10. Mater Lakes Academy (3-1): The only loss of the season for the Bears came up against No. 7 Sagemont. Other than that, this Mater Lakes club has rolled so far through the competition. 

11. Cypress Bay (6-0): We don’t necessarily like vaulting a team high up into the rankings while being unranked, but the Lightning deserve it. They are averaging around 72 points per game and will have some challenges ahead versus Westminster Academy and Pembroke Pines Charter.

12. Southridge (6-0): The Spartans are another South Florida club that we couldn’t wait to have slowly climb up the Power 25. A recent 54-50 win over Norland proved to be the game that moved Southridge into the rankings. 

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13. Norland (5-1): A little bit of a surprise to start the season off has been Norland, who owns quality wins over Miami Country Day and Bartow. The Vikings have a tough regular season slate that includes Leesburg and Gulliver Prep.

14. Oak Ridge (4-0): Now the season has started for the Pioneers and this team is rolling. Wins over Tri-Cities (GA) and Mainland are solid, but the more impressive victories followed against Windermere and The Villages Charter. 

15. FSU High (4-1): Right out of the gates, the Seminoles have been one of the Big Bend’s top clubs. The Seminoles have wins over Florida A&M, Oldsmar Christian and Lee (AL). The Seminoles just recently lost 64-62 to Maclay.

16. Maclay (5-0): Forward Blaise Wallace has been on a tear for the Marauders, averaging a team-high 19.4 points per game. Beating FSU High played a big factor in bringing them into the Power 25. 

17. Ponte Vedra (4-0): The Sharks have begun with a few nice wins, but the Dec. 10 game versus Tampa Catholic should be a test for Ponte Vedra. Senior shooting guard Israel Nuhu leads the way with 16.3 points per game.

18. West Oaks Academy (5-2): The Flame is already off to a sizzling start to the season. Shooting guard Paul Djobet (19 points per game) is a player to watch for weekly for West Oaks. 

19. Winter Haven (5-0): An impressive tournament win in the Kevin Brown TOC in Illinois has these Blue Devils off to a strong start. Fringe state title contenders? Time will tell with this Polk County squad as they’re undefeated and rolling.  

20. NSU University (5-1): The Sharks are off to a strong start and though they narrowly lost to Sagemont, that’s not a bad thing. Leading the way scoring wise for NSU University is junior forward Anthony Ferrer at 16.4 points a contest. 

21. Westminster Academy (2-1): A loss to Mater Lakes drops the Lions down in our Power 25, but this Westminster Academy club is still a contender in Class 3A. A big tilt with North Broward Prep on Dec. 13 looms large.

22. Clearwater Calvary Christian (5-0): The Warriors have catapulted themselves into the Power Five with an undefeated run. Impressive victories over Bradenton Christian and Charlotte has this team’s stock rising. 

23. Providence School (4-0): The Stallions have been scoring the basketball just about as good as anyone, averaging around 72 points per game. This team has shown they are for real in the early going. Can they keep it up?

24. Miami Country Day (4-2): Hear us out on the newest addition to our Power 25 in Florida, the Spartans have played a tough schedule to date. Their losses are both to teams in the 25 and played West Oaks Academy and Norland competitively. Not to mention, they beat North Broward Prep.

25. Jesuit (5-0): This Tigers’ team has reeled off five straight wins to start the season and has won every game by double digits with the exception of IMG Academy White. Junior Christopher Moliere leads the team with 19.8 points per game. 

Teams on the bubble: Gibbs, Andrew Jackson, Evans, Tampa Catholic, Windermere, Lake Highland Prep, Pine Forest, Jones, Bradford, Wharton, North Florida Educational Institute, Leesburg, Pembroke Pines Charter. 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.