After a few days of district basketball action, I have a few matchups that may be well worth your drive to check out before the week's end. These will be in no certain order, as each game has significance of it's own, and each one would be worth the four dollar admission into the gym.
Class 3 District 1 -- No. 1 Portageville Lady Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Kelly Lady Hawks:
This match-up left a sour taste in the Lady Hawks' mouths last week as they took the loss 61-28. However, their performance since the last meeting has been nothing short of spectacular.
Bouncing back from the defeat, Kelly defeated the Charleston Lady Bluejays in the opening round of the tournament 62-30. The Lady Hawks then faced-
off against a fiesty Caruthersville squad, literally scrapping their way to the victory 70-65.
It was being talked about at the boys games Tuesday night that "little No. 12", (Londyn Backfisch), was "just everywhere on defense." I was in attendance, and it was by far the most impressive showing I've seen from Kelly all season long, well, not counting the Delta defeat on Valentine's Day.
Portageville on the other hand, made light of the Kennett Lady Indians on Saturday by a final of 65-29, followed by a down to the wire showdown against NMCC, where they defeated the Lady Eagles 64-60.
The Portageville boys' coach Jim Bidewell even told me on Tuesday night that it would've been pretty tough for him to coach the boys club if his daughter's team had lost the night before. Bidewell's daughter, Mallory, is just one of the Lady Bulldog's three strong senior players. Kellye Penn and Mary Hannah Fisher round out the Portageville senior class.
Class 3 District 1 -- No. 2 Portageville Bulldogs vs. No. 4 NMCC:
The boys contest featuring Portageville and NMCC will definitely be good, quality entertainment.
I said it earlier this season, that Kony Ealy from NMCC is going to be something to watch in the future. The future is now for the sophomore, as Ealy has become a man inside the paint, and proved it against Charleston Tuesday night with two dunk tips over the top of the defense.
Throw him in the combination with the rest of the Eagles, and you've got yourself quite a mix of talent. The Bluejays could attest to the fact that NMCC could be the team to beat in the district.
On the other hand, there's the host team, the Portageville Bulldogs.
Coach Bidewell said just days ago that nearly every team in the district had defeated them lately. Lately doesn't matter anymore, as this week they've become a threat again, and now find themselves in the title game on Thursday evening.
If Byron Wright and TJ Smith keep up their tenacious defense and keep driving to the rim, the Bulldogs will be hard to put away.
I think this could be the game of the night.
Class 1 District 1 -- No. 1 Oran Lady Eagles vs. No. 2 Scott County Central Bravettes:
This may be the year of the Lady Eagles, as they received a bye in the tournament in the first round, and look to advance to their first sectional game since 2000.
Adam Friga has his club "as ready as they will be" for this season's title game, but the young core of Lady Eagles will be around for several years to come. Oran's starting five for most of the season, has consisted of two seniors, a sophomore and two freshmen.
On the other end of the floor comes in the experienced Scott Central Bravettes.
Semona Penrod knows a few things about coaching quality clubs, and this year's team will be hungry for another district title on Thursday evening.
Class 1 District 1 -- No. 1 Scott County Central Braves vs. No. 3 Gideon Bulldogs:
I haven't seen the Bulldogs play this season, but one thing's for sure, they're definitely going to have their hands full Thursday night with the Braves.
If you have the $3 per gallon gas money, Gideon is a little over 45 minutes away, and the Braves are sure to be putting on another highlight reel Thursday evening. I guessed a 52 point margin of victory in Monday's win--
sorry North Pem--Scott Central won by 57. For Thursday, I've been told the Bulldogs are more of an even matchup, so no estimated point spread, especially since I'll be in attendance. I love my life more than my job, so good luck to both schools.
In all reality, you can't go wrong at either venue you attend. Class 3 has a different look in the boys bracket, with the Bluejays falling out of the tournament with an early exit, and Class 1 features Oran's girls as the favorite for the first time in a few years.
For the adventurous spectators, Highway 162 takes you 13 miles from Gideon to Portageville, and you could spend eight bucks in admission fees and catch a little bit of all of the action. Hospitality is superb at both schools, so you can't go wrong at either.
Me, I'll be cruising down 162, and if a running clock shows itself at some point in Gideon, I'll swing by Portageville to catch the end of the boys Class 3 title game.
Good luck to all of the schools, and keep reading the sports section where we've got you covered. It's sure to be an entertaining Thursday night.