The winter sports season keeps winding down as soccer teams continue region play, and girls basketball teams kick off their district tournaments this week.
Only three local teams remain alive in the girls soccer postseason — two of which will face off in a highly anticipated rematch.
The District 1-4A champion Pace Patriots will host runner-up Navarre at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Region 1-4A semifinals. The winner secures a spot in the region championship game.
The squads have been evenly matched so far this season, with Pace taking the district championship 2-1 on penalty kicks against the Raiders.
Also playing Tuesday, District 1-3A champion West Florida High will host Lynn Haven Mosley in another region semifinal. The teams play at 6 p.m. at Ashton Brosnaham Park.
Boys soccer teams will return to the pitch Thursday as four area teams compete in region quarterfinals.
The Navarre Raiders will try to erase the sting of losing the District 1-4A title game 2-0 to Niceville last week when they travel to face 2-4A champion Tallahassee Chiles at 6 p.m.
Also Thursday, District 1-3A champion Choctawhatchee will host Panama City Bay, while district runner-up Gulf Breeze travels to Lynn Haven Mosley. Finally, District 1-2A champion Catholic will host regional rival Tallahassee Florida High.
All three games are at 7 p.m..
Girls basketball district tournaments start
After a wild year, area girls basketball teams will get their chance to shine in the postseason as district tournaments begin this week.
The bad news for some fans — many of the games are going to be played out of town.
The District 1-7A tournament (Tate and Navarre) will take place in Fort Walton Beach, while the District 1-5A tournament (Gulf Breeze) is held at Panama City Bay.
The District 1-4A tournament (Catholic and West Florida HIgh) will be held at Walton and, in addition, the District 2-3A tournament (Jay and Northview) will be held at Holmes County — with the exception of the opening round which will be hosted by the district’s higher seeds.
Washington, however, will host the 1-6A tournament, which boasts the largest number of local teams — the Wildcats, Pace, Milton, Escambia, Pensacola High and Pine Forest.
Central High also will host the District 1-1A tournament, although the opening round will be hosted by the district’s higher seeds.
Area squads shine at cheer competition
Seven area cheerleading squads had commendable finishes at the FHSAA Region 1 competition on Saturday at Orange Park.
Jay High School was the region runner up in the small non-tumbling category, followed by Northview in third, while Escambia placed 11th.
In the medium varsity event, Tate finished in second place as the region runner-up.
Pine Forest placed fourth in the small varsity category, while in the small coed competition, Gulf Breeze placed third and West Florida High placed eighth.
The state meet is Thursday through Saturday in Kissimmee.
Simmons is player of the week
24 points. 23 rebounds. 10 assists.
Makayla Simmons is the News Journal Player of the Week after recording her first triple-double of the season during Monday’s 50-42 win at Baker.
Simmons has been nearly unstoppable this season, recording double-doubles left and right before finally coming away with Tuesday’s impressive stat line.
The junior’s game is peaking at just the right time as the No. 5 Jaguars travel to No. 4 Ponce de Leon in the first round of the District 1-1A tournament on Tuesday.