Friday, December 8, 2017

The most important 8 days of the regular season begins today for Glenn Hills, Butler, Laney, and Josey

Region play begins tonight for the area's class AA region, which includes the #1 ranked AA team in the state on both the boys (Glenn Hills) and the girls (Laney) sides. Here are the things I'll follow closely during the first week of league action:

See @AugBball on Facebook for bonus coverage from #1 Glenn Hills's matchup with Butler tonight.

The most important 8 days of the regular season begins today for Glenn Hills, Butler, Laney, and Josey

The four boys teams listed above are the favorites to grab the 4 state playoff spots at stake in this 7 team region. If it seems premature to say that the first 8 days are the most important for these teams, consider all of the prime time matchups that will impact the teams' 12 game record come February when the region tournament begins:

Friday, December 8
Glenn Hills at Butler

Tuesday, Dec 12
Laney at Glenn Hills
Josey at Butler

Friday, Dec 15
Laney at Butler

The same teams played the same schedule in the same sequence last season, and both the regular season region champ, Butler, and the tournament winner, Laney, finished the 8 day gauntlet with 2-1 records over the span. On the other side of the spectrum, Glenn Hills dropped 2 of the 3 games before going on to finish fourth in the regular season standings and fifth in the region tournament, surprising many by missing the state playoffs.

The lesson here is that it is difficult to have a great region record if you don't have a great start to region play. That is especially true when close to half of your most important games come in the first 8 days of league play.

Much is at stake because the regular season champion gets a bye in the first round of region tournament play and therefore an automatic spot in the state playoffs.

If this season's version of the Glenn Hills vs Butler rivalry game is anything like last season's (see below), you'll want to tune in to the @AugBball Facebook page to follow along:

On the girls side, Laney looks likely to blitz the competition, but Josey is riding high

De'sha Benjamin has scored 34 points in back-to-back games

I believe nobody will stop Laney's Lady Wildcats (3-0) this season. Tuesday's 90-55 win over Richmond, which included a 57-14 run over a span of 16 minutes to blow open the game, is the latest evidence for that theory.

The Lady Wildcats visit Westside (2-1) tonight.

But Josey (7-0) is off to its best start in a long time, recently earning wins over AAAA state tournament hopefuls Burke County (highlights below) and Cross Creek.

The Lady Eagles probably will not have trouble tonight against Harlem, and shouldn't Tuesday against Glenn Hills. But next Friday's visit to Butler will require Josey's full attention, because the Lady Bulldogs proved in a recent near win at Cross Creek (highlights below) that they can compete against the better teams.

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