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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Game of the year takes place Friday night

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Ever dream of the ultimate matchup?

In comic books, it's Superman versus Batman. In the movies, Rambo would take on Commando, and Michael Myers would square off against Jason Vorhees.

In local high school basketball this season, it's Poplar Bluff versus Charleston.

The game we've been waiting all year for will happen Friday night when the Bluejays host the Mules in a battle between the area's top teams.

There have been some high-profile matchups this season, but none of them hold a candle to this one.

Poplar Bluff is 22-2, ranked No. 1 in the regional boys basketball poll. Charleston is ranked No. 2 with a record of 21-3.

Both schools have proven themselves against quality opponents. Now after a season of speculation, we will finally get to see who has the better team.

Man-for-man, I think Charleston has a better starting five with Kewain Gant, Ashton Farmer, Trentez Lane, Deshaundray Hamilton and Marcus Biles.

Don't get me wrong, Poplar Bluff has an outstanding starting lineup also.

They could beat most teams in the state with Tyler Hansbrough, Cheron Pearson, Tyler Lance, Desi Higgs and Tony Webb alone.

What makes the Mules such an outstanding team is their depth situation. Head coach John David Pattillo has the luxury of going 10 deep, pulling quality players like Devon Brown and Anthony Gilberto off the bench.

Beyond bragging rights, whoever wins Friday's game will also claim the SEMO Conference title. Both enter the game with 6-0 league records.

So will it be Bluff or Charleston?

I'll go with the home team. Either way, this game should live up to the hype.

Final score: Charleston 52, Poplar Bluff 50

Beating Kennett on the road is never an easy task, but Sikeston should be up to the challenge. A win over Oran tonight and the Indians on Friday would give the Bulldogs a .500 record and some momentum heading into the Class 4, District 1 Tournament. They'll get it done.

Final score: Sikeston 70, Kennett 63

The Battle of New Madrid County isn't as attractive as it was last season, but it's still an interesting matchup. NMCC is a much better team that its 8-14 record indicates, and Portageville has played two of the area's top teams, Charleston and Dexter, down to the wire.

It may not be as well-played, but it could be just as exciting as last year's game.

Final score: NMCC 50, Portageville 48

Last night Bell City suffered its fifth loss of the season. That's not good news for the Kelly Hawks.

The last time Bell City was defeated, they responded with an 86-point victory three days later.

Final score: Bell City 75, Kelly 55

Chaffee has made a remarkable turnaround down the stretch, winning four of its last five games. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, Oran is on tap Friday night.

Final score: Oran 87, Chaffee 58

Back in the seMissourian tournament, Jared Ritter shredded Scott Central with 27 points in a 75-58 win.

The Braves have improved since then, beating Scott City and competing with Kelly, but the Hornets are still a better team.

Final score: Advance 70, Scott Central 64

East Prairie was off to its best start in several years, but they've fallen on hard times lately, losing six straight. Hayti has been inconsistent throughout, mostly due to its poor shooting. A win for either team would be huge at this point.

Final score: Hayti 63, East Prairie 56

Alex VanGennip has been playing well for the Cardinals all year, averaging 19 points, six assists and four steals per game. He will lead Woodland to its eighth victory of the year Friday night over struggling Richland.

Final score: Woodland 70, Richland 55