The 2016-17 Sunshine State Athletic Conference Boys Basketball league will feature 17 teams from throughout the state divided into four regional divisions, the Central, South, West and North. Teams stretch south to Pompano Beach, west to Tampa and North to the Lecanto area and beyond.
The highly competitive Central Division will consist of International Community School, Faith Christian and City of Life Christian. Tony Medina leads the Lions from Faith Christian into their first year of league play in the SSAC. Coach Medina will look to improve upon last season’s 9-13 record behind Senior Kaleb Buchfold (13 ppg) and Junior Jonah Wilson (12 ppg). Key matchups in the Central Division include an early season date when Faith Christian hosts City of Life Christian on December 3. International Community School hosts both of their divisional games, with Faith Christian on January 6 and City of Life Christian on January 12, only one day before the start of the SSAC tournament.
The Central Division will matchup with the South Division in the first rounds of the tournament held at Saint Edward’s School on January 13-14. The deep South Divisions features six teams, including five of whom had double digit win totals last season. Defending league champion Saint Edward’s School (14-12) is led by Senior point guard Thomas Bockhorst (6.9 ppg/3.1 apg), backcourt mate Junior Brandon Succes (5.9 ppg/2.1spg) and Senior James McGuire. The Pirates will look to make up the scoring loss from graduating senior Nick Succes (17.6 ppg), the 2015-16 SSAC tournament MVP. Coach Keith Feit’s FAU HS Owls (22-3) return Senior Dylan Bradley (11.5 ppg/3.5rpg/1.6asp), Senior Gabriel Alexis (7.7 ppg/4.2 rpg/1.4asp) and Senior Remy Brown (7.0 ppg/5.7 rpg/1.5 asp). The Owls meet the Pirates in Vero Beach for a December 27 game. Last season the Owls edged the Pirates for a thrilling 37-35 win. Under Coach Jim Good, Highlands Christian (10-12) joins the SSAC South Division as a new member as well and will feature Senior point guard Herman Robinson (15 ppg/6.2asp), Senior Kyle Lassen (11.6 ppg/5.5 rpg) and sharp shooter Matt Veynovich (8.9 ppg), who connected on 60 made three point goals last year. Highlands Christian will travel to the Kennel at Berean Christian on December 6. Berean Christian, led by Coach John Lantz, return a prolific scorer in Senior Jaye Morgan (18 ppg) and Senior Hunter Axtell (8 ppg). The Bulldogs host rival Jupiter Christian on December 9 and travel to Saint Edwards for a January 6 matchup. Last season, the Pirates edged the Bulldogs 44-41 in West Palm Beach. Jupiter Christian will look to build on last season’s 13-11 mark under new Head Coach Brian Mullican. The Eagles feature Senior guard Isaac Sellers (13 ppg) and will travel to Pompano Beach to face Highlands Christian on December 13. Boca Raton Christian, under Coach Randy Reed, went 15-13 last season. Leading the high-powered offense for the Blazers is Michael Walsh (21 ppg) and Jordan Nitto (12 ppg/3 asp). Boca Christian will face cross-town rival FAU HS for an early season match up on November 23.
The three team West Division includes All-Saints Academy, Peppin Academy (Tampa) and Bell Creek Academy. Coach Scott Robinson, who achieved career win 100 last season, will look to continue his winning ways after going 18-8 last season. Leading the way is a trio of juniors, including: Jack Garcia (9.8 ppg/5.5 rpg), JT Meade (11.3 ppg/3.3 rpg) and Jake Smith (6.7 ppg/4.0 apg). Coach Ryan Morton leads Peppin Academy Tampa in SSAC play for the first time this season. Under Morton, the team went 9-6 last year and return seniors Nate Diaz, Alex Ayers and Jordan Sierra as well as junior Joshua Jerimiah. Bell Creek rounds out the West Division and will travel to Peppin Academy on December 6 and All Saints on January 6. All Saints Academy and Peppin Academy will meet in a key league game on December 15 in Winter Haven.
The West Division will play the North Division at Bishop McLaughlin in opening round play of the SSAC Tournament January 13-14. Bishop McLaughlin, who finished 11-15 last season, is leading by the dynamic scoring of Senior Drew James (17.7 ppg/5.7 rpg/1.4 apg) and Sophomore Shafer Magee (8.9 ppg/5.7 rpg/2.1 apg). Seven Rivers Christian (6-17) will look to build from last season behind Sophomore Ben Kuntz (8.2 ppg/3.3 rpg/2.8 apg) and Junior Coy Phillips (5.1 ppg/5.5 rpg/1.2 spg). Seven Rivers Christian will host Bishop McLaughlin on December 6 for early season league match up. Coach Spence Jones will lead Zephyrhills Christian Academy (9-6) to First Academy-Leesburg for an opening day match up on November 22. On January 6, all teams in the West Division will be in action in what will be a key night for division standings. That night Seven Rivers will travel to Zephyrhills Christian and Bishop McLaughlin will host First Academy-Leesburg.
The weekend of January 13-14, the Central and South Divisional seeds will square off at Saint Edward’s School in Vero Beach and the North and West Divisional seeds will meet at Bishop McLaughlin. The league championship will be held Saturday January 28 at the International Community School in Winter Park.