It’s time to get focused on some hoops

After six state champions were crowned last week, it’s finally that time of the year when we can (mostly) put football behind us for the year and turn our attention towards basketball.
It’s taken me almost a month, but I’ve finally seen all of our area teams at some point or another, and several of them have started out strong so far this season with a few others looking promising.
If I’d given you power rankings for the guys, we’d probably have Amory or Aberdeen one at the top.
At 7-0, Amory is still undefeated to start out the season, including wins over larger schools West Point and Oxford and starting off division play with a win over Pontotoc. The real test of the young season will be Friday night at last year’s 4A runnerup Corinth, and a possible 3-0 start in such a tough division will be huge for Amory, whose senior leadership is really paying off.
Don’t let Aberdeen’s almost .500 record to start out the season fool you – it’s not going to be a surprise if we see them back in Jackson. And if they do make it there again, these early season tests could be a big reason why.
They’ve only had their football players, which make up a large part of their lineup, back for a little over two weeks after a big gap between games during Thanksgiving break. And they also already have a win over Corinth and barely lost to Shannon and Baldwyn.
Hamilton and Hatley are both coming off good weeks after the Hatley Tournament, and hopefully that will be a confidence builder for both.
On the girls’ side of things, Hamilton is riding high so far this season. At 9-1, they’ve already got more wins so far this year than the entire season with the only loss coming at 5A school New Hope. They have also beat county rival Hatley twice already, and before this year, Hamilton hadn’t beat Hatley once since at least 2006, which is when MaxPreps records go back to.
With the exception of the two wins over Hatley and one over Nettleton, all their wins are in double digits. Like the Amory guys, this is another team with some good solid senior leadership that’s finally coming through big, which will be key in a tough Division 1-2A with New Site and Baldwyn.
A mostly-young Hatley girls team is also starting to hit its stride. Before the loss to Hamilton in their tournament championship final, they had won three of their last four, and two of their three losses on the season have come to Hamilton. With just two seniors, they’ll continue to grow and mature over the season, and as Hamilton coach Sue Verner pointed out after her team beat them on Saturday, we know they’re always well-coached.
If we played the Monroe County Tournament today, I think it would be a two-horse race with these two rivals. This rivalry is always a fun one to watch, no matter what sport, and after Saturday’s game, I’m already looking forward to the rest of the season’s games between these two.