I love this time of year because things are about to get interesting when it comes to high school sports.
Basketball, soccer and bowling are quickly approaching the regular season finish line with division tournaments around the corner followed by the state tournament in each sport.
Well, kind of.
Join me for a few minutes as I break down what lies ahead in the short and longer terms for area prep teams.
Basketball has four weeks remaining
Crossroads area hoops squads, just like all others across the Magnolia state, are now jockeying for post-season position hoping to end their seasons on top of their sport.
Counting this week, basketball still has four weeks of games remaining before division tournaments begin on Feb. 9. Following are locations and dates for each division tourney in the Daily Corinthian coverage area. Keep in mind none of these dates or locations are plastered in cement due to the ongoing COVID issue.
The Division 1-1A tournament, featuring area schools Biggersville and Thrasher, along with fringe schools Wheeler and Pine Grove, will be hosted once again by Booneville High School with the projected dates being Feb. 9, 11 and 12.
The Division 1-2A tournament, featuring Walnut, will be staged at East Union High School from Feb. 9-13. Division 1-3A, featuring Alcorn Central, Booneville and Kossuth, will return to Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College. The only uncertainty at this point is the exact dates. The event is set to tip on Tuesday, Feb. 9, but with Northeast hosting a pair of games on Thursday, the format could shift to a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday schedule or a Tuesday, Friday and Saturday schedule. That announcement will be made before the end of the regular season, which officially ends the weekend of Friday, Feb 5.
The Division 1-4A tournament, including Corinth and Tishomingo County, will be held at Ripley Event Center on the Ripley High School campus on Jan. 9, 11 and 12.
Three local teams are currently sitting atop their respective division standings and control their own destiny as they seek to capture the region title and likely host the first two rounds of the North Half Tournament based on how things shake out in division tournament play.
For instance, the Corinth Warriors finished third in the regular season to Ripley and New Albany a year ago before catching fire and winning the Division 1-4A Tournament at New Albany and advancing all the way to the North Half finals where they lost to eventual state champion Greenville on a last second lay-in by the Bulldogs.
Then there’s the case of the Biggersville Lions. Coach Cliff Little’s squad enjoyed another 10-0 run through the Region 1-1A schedule before falling to Pine Grove in the division tournament finals, which relegated them to the number two seed for the North Half. After a first round home win over Myrtle, Biggersville dropped a low-scoring 44-39 decision at Coffeeville, a team they had beaten by nine earlier in the season.
The Tishomingo County Lady Braves, now the No. 1 class 4A girls team in Mississippi, also enjoy a division lead right now and are the current favorites to finish on top.
There are other local squads that could possibly win their division or at least finish second, including the Kossuth Lady Aggies, the Booneville Blue Devils and the Alcorn Central Golden Bears. The Walnut Lady Wildcats were scheduled to play their first division game Tuesday at Potts Camp and just happen to be in the same region as New Site. That should be a fun race to watch.
By the way, the MHSAA, specifically new director Ricky Neeves, announced this week that both the state semifinals and finals will be held at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson again this season due to COVID. They did the same thing with football, moving the championships back to Mississippi Veterans Stadium after six years away.
Soccer playoffs begin in two weeks
High school soccer teams are in the final two weeks of their regular seasons and, at this point, it appears the Corinth Lady Warriors will be the only team to make it in.
The Warriors are on the outside looking in with just the slightest of hopes of squeezing into that coveted second place slot as only the top two teams from each division advance.
It appears that both Booneville and Tishomingo County will come up short of the playoffs this season although both have had their moments.
Prep bowling playoffs begin Jan. 25
The Alcorn County Bowling Tournament will be held at Plaza Lanes next Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 19-20. The girls squads will bowl on Tuesday followed by the boys on Wednesday.
Then the playoffs begin.
Area teams in classes 1A, 2A and 3A will participate in the Class I Tournament on Jan. 25-26. That event is being hosted again this year by Plaza Lanes. The Class II teams (4A and 5A) will travel to Cleveland for their division tournament.
Good luck to all area teams in their quest for a state championship.