One year ago, Sikeston pulled off the biggest upset of the regular season, beating Poplar Bluff at the Field House on homecoming night.
The Mules were on a roll at the time, entering the game with a record of 18-2, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.
They had just beat New Madrid County Central and were heavily favored over Sikeston, who was inconsistent at 10-9.
But the Bulldogs outdid Bluff, thanks to a rarely used zone defense and a career night from Lavar Morgan, who scored 26. Sikeston never trailed, leading by as much as 30-12 in the third quarter, and holding on for a shocking 48-46 victory.
This Friday, the two teams meet again under basically the same circumstances.
The Mules are a powerhouse again, currently 20-1, ranked second in Class 5.
The Bulldogs have been inconsistent this year and check into the game with a record of 8-10.
Can Sikeston stupefy the area again this year and pull off another gigantic upset?
If this game were played in the Field House, I would say they have a chance. The two teams met earlier this year in the Sikeston tournament, and the Bulldogs gave Bluff all it wanted in a 52-48 loss.
But Friday's game is at E.T. "Pete" Peters gym. The Bulldogs have a good track record there, winning eight games in a row, including district games, dating back to 1993.
But I don't think there is any way Coach Pattillo and his boys will let Sikeston get out of that pit with a win this time.
If the Bulldogs can pull it off, it would be an even bigger upset than last year. Final score: Poplar Bluff 54, Sikeston 50
For small school basketball fans, this is one of those games you circle on your calendar at the beginning of the season. Bell City has one of the best Class 1 teams our area has seen in several years, but Oran matches up well with them.
They split last year in four meetings and are tied this season after two games.
Oran has quietly put together a record of 16-4. Another win over Bell City would validate the Eagles and give them a leg up in the race for the top seed in Class 1, District 2.
Bell City is 17-3 and wouldn't mind a shot in the arm heading into next Tuesday's rematch with Dexter. A win over Oran on the road would provide that.
Bell City is better, by a hair. Final score: Bell City 64, Oran 63
The Eagles have played one of the most challenging schedules around. All 19 of their games have been against quality teams, and all but four of them have been played on the road.
NMCC desperately needs a game like this. Look for the Eagles to break the 70-point barrier for the first time. Final score: NMCC 73, Scott Central 65
Can anybody slow down the Bluejays? If Doniphan can't, nobody will until Poplar Bluff takes a shot on Feb. 21.
After the Dons, Charleston will take on Hayti, Portageville, Cape Central and then the Mules.
I expect the Bluejays to win out, including Bluff. You heard it here first.
Final score: Charleston 82, Doniphan 69
The Hornets will have to play over their heads to compete in this one. Dexter is playing like the Bearcats of old, winning with ease. Unless Thursday's game against NMCC takes a toll, Advance shouldn't be much of a problem on Friday.
Final score: Dexter 77, Advance 62
The Hawks have lost three straight, but should snap the skid on Friday against lowly Puxico. In the new Lanpher era, this has been the time of the year Kelly turns it up a notch. Expect the same this year.
Final score: Kelly 62, Puxico 55
Chalk up another win for Greg Landers, Luke Carter and first-year coach Brandon Blankenship. Risco is much improved and controls its own destiny in the Tri-County Conference. Final score: Risco 68, Richland 59