Sports Editor

The three girls basketball teams that made it through their district tournament and into the regional playoffs won four playoff games combined.

Full disclosure: City of Life won all four of them as they romped to the Class 2A state title.

It’s time to write the 2019 narrative, starting with next week’s district tournaments. Gateway (District 9A-7) and St. Cloud (8A-6) will host their semifinals and championships, with the Bulldogs as the No. 1 seed and the Panthers, seeking just their second playoff berth in school history, the No. 2 in theirs.

St. Cloud (21-2) ran their current win streak to 16 with a 58-27 win Wednesday over Osceola to also claim the Orange Belt Conference championship. The Bulldogs, who were tested Friday night against City of Life, won their seven 8A-6 regular-season games by an average of 43 points per game. They open against No. 8 seed Tohopekaliga on Tuesday at 7 p.m. No. 5 Celebration (7-13) will play at No. 4 Harmony (6-11) on Tuesday, and the winner will play at St. Cloud against their winner.

Bulldogs Coach Chad Ansbaugh said that despite the team's success this year, winning district will be tough.

"Hagerty is playing their best basketball of the season right now and Melbourne has the best player on our schedule," he said. "But this is my hardest working team ever, and I hope they get to enjoy a playoff run."

On the other side of the bracket, No. 7 Liberty (7-12) goes to No. 2 Hagerty on Tuesday, and will play the Melbourne-Viera winner on Thursday.

The 8A-6 championship is Saturday at 7 p.m.

At Gateway, the Panthers (15-7), who closed the regular season Thursday night at Liberty, will host No. 3 Ridge in a Thursday semifinal for the right to go to the championship on Friday to likely face top-seeded and state-ranked Haines City.

Osceola (9-13 entering their finale Friday against Lake Minneola) is the No. 5 seed in 9A-7, and travels to No. 4 George Jenkins on Monday. That winner goes to Haines City for Thursday’s semifinal.

City of Life, will begin its defense of the Class 2A state title on Thursday. Since only the Warriors and Lakeland Victory Christian fielded girls teams in District 5 this year, both are on to the regional playoffs, and will play Thursday to decide the district title and who plays at home in the regional playoffs on Feb. 14.

In the District 6A-13 bracket, No. 4 seed Poinciana will host Tavares on Monday at 6 p.m., with the winner playing at Bishop Moore on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

NO OUTDOOR GAMES SATURDAY. With rain chances higher than 50 percent forecasted for Friday (court installation) and Saturday, the Outdoor Hardwood Classic games scheduled for today at Austin-Tindall Sports Complex (Freedom vs. Tohopekaliga, Cypress Creek vs. Harmony) will instead be played at Harmony beginning at noon.