Five county teams still in the playoff mix

This may all have changed on Wednesday by the time you are all reading this, but as of now, Monday afternoon, there are still five Monroe County teams in the basketball playoffs.
Hopefully when you open this paper up on Wednesday morning, that number hasn’t changed too much (or entirely), but here’s a look at each one.
Perhaps Aberdeen has the easiest first-round matchup, playing at home against a 4-seed, Independence. The Bulldogs are doing what they do best – getting hot at the right time of the year with their big win over Mooreville for the division tournament championship.
I think they will have easily beaten Independence on Tuesday to make North half, and their win on Friday also has an added bonus – it puts Booneville and Mooreville, their two biggest threats in 3A North on the same side of the bracket. It would be a complete surprise to me if we don’t see Aberdeen playing for the North championship on Saturday night, either a rematch against Mooreville but more likely against last year’s state runnerup Booneville.  Look for them to make it to Jackson once again.
Like in football, Amory has one of the better first-round matchups with Houston. I had made the lovely assumption that Houston would be winning their division tournament and already had the Panthers traveling to Noxubee County for their first round matchup.
If we see the right Amory team, they can definitely beat Houston and move on to North half where I think they have a good shot to make some noise. If we see the Panthers that we saw against Aberdeen in the Monroe County tournament and a few nights later against Shannon, the rest of 4A should look out. Hopefully that’s the team we saw on the court Tuesday against the Hilltoppers.
Smithville and Nettleton each have their work cut out for them on Tuesday against Blue Mountain and North Panola, but each have the potential to pull off an upset. We’re seeing Smithville play its best ball of the season at the right time with a strong showing in their division tournament last week.
The same can be said for the Nettleton girls who are another team that I think has a ton of potential for the future and who also play North Panola on Tuesday. Both Nettleton teams have a lot of youth – just one senior between the two teams, and if this year isn’t their year, it may not be long before they’re giving some of the top 3A teams some trouble.
On Monday, we saw our first playoff team’s run come to an end in the first round as the Hamilton girls lost to South Delta on the road.
It may not have ended the way they had planned, but the Lady Lions have a lot to be proud of this season: the Monroe County tournament championship, five wins over county rival Hatley and third place in a pretty good division. Not a shabby season at all.