By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Two dates are circled on Blue Mountain’s calendar this basketball season – one was Dec. 18, the other is today.
The significance of both dates is this: Division 1-1A favorites Blue Mountain (15-2) and Biggersville (13-6) each other. Enough said.
Biggersville won the first showdown, 87-83, at Blue Mountain. Tonight’s highly-anticipated 7:30 p.m. rematch will be played at Biggersville. The host Lions are 4-0 in the division while the visiting Cougars are 4-1.
“It’s an intense rivalry,” Blue Mountain coach David Mason said. “You’ve got two good teams playing, but it’s not going to be about Xs and Os.
“No, it’s going to boil down to what team wants it more.”
Biggersville coach Cliff Little knows his team will have to lace up its Nikes a little tighter for this one.
“It’s hard to beat somebody over and over, and over,” he said. “Our guys will need to rise up.”
Biggersville rallied to beat the Cougars in last season’s division tournament finals on its way to the 1A state tournament championship game.
“I hope we see each other in the (division tournament) finals,” Little added.
You can bet Blue Mountain has that date highlighted, too.
This game features three of Northeast Mississippi’s top scoring guards in Biggersville’s Daniel Simmons and Blue Mountain’s Ismael Ruedas and Jacob Girley.
Simmons scored 35 points, 29 in the second half, in the first game. He scored 34 in last Saturday’s loss to Corinth in the Alcorn County Tournament finals.
‘hard to stop’
“He’s hard to stop,” Mason said. “I’m trying to scheme him and he still scores 35.”
Ruedas and Girley scored 26 points apiece Saturday in leading Blue Mountain to a 72-66 win against Ripley in the Tippah County Tournament finals.
“Their guard play is strong like our guard play,” Little said. “We were very fortunate to beat them over there. They beat us in every aspect of the game, except on the scoreboard.”
Blue Mountain’s county tournament win was its first since 2000.
“That’s a signature win for us,” Mason said. “I told our guys we can’t get too high or too low. We need to stay balanced. We can’t be content with winning this tournament.”