Thank goodness that meaningful basketball has returned.
Not to downplay holiday tournaments but, let’s be honest, heated rivalries aren’t par for the course at the Mountain Dew Jingle Jam or anything of the sort.
From here on out there will be less and less West Hall vs. Roswell and more of East Hall vs. Gainesville. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love seeing our Hall County teams go up against Class 4A and 5A competition and do well, but I enjoy moreso a good inter-county showdown.
Speaking of, let’s see what’s going on this week.
Not to downplay the, "Every game’s a challenge," cliche-like statement but, as a whole, West Hall has one heckuva week planned.
Not that the Chestatee boys won’t have a whale of a time against Lumpkin County or the East Hall boys against Gilmer but, truth be told, no other program (both boys and girls) will face a more daunting task than the West Hall program which plays host to Flowery Branch on Tuesday and travels to Gainesville on Friday.
Not boding well for the Spartans’ boys team is that Flowery Branch will inevitably be smarting from wounded pride after losing to White County in overtime Saturday night.
The Falcons are good and imaginably better with a chip on their shoulder.
As for the West Hall girls, beating Gainesville’s a tough sell but Flowery Branch is doable depending on which Lady Falcons’ team shows up.
If the team that started the season undefeated and, in the process held East Hall to 28 points in a game, show up Jayla Moon and company are going to have a tough row to hoe.
While I joked earlier about the War Eagles playing a, "gimme," game Tuesday night in Dahlonega, there is no joking about the difficulty of their match up with North Hall on Friday night.
When cancelling possible advantages out, it’s hard to decide which team will prevail.
I’ve always been of the mind that home-court advantage is just that, then again I’ve seen Chestatee play extremely well on the road.
Both teams have good point guards in Nathan Shope and Josh Haymore, advantage Haymore in the scoring department and both teams have impressive shooting guards.
Brannon Nix is really coming into his own from beyond the arc and seemingly gains more confidence each time he steps on the floor. His War Eagle counterpart, however, is Parker Smith and if I need to say anything else you need to pay better attention.
This one’s a toss up, the only certainty is that it will be good.
There are several girls games that will be worth the price of admission this week but none better than the Lady Vikings line up of opponents.
East Hall’s first game is against Gilmer on Tuesday. The Lady Bobcats began the season 10-0 and are currently 12-2 and should give the Lady Vikings a run for their money. I doubt, however, that Gilmer has a tandem quite as powerful as Tierra Benton and Sada Wheeler can be and as a result East Hall should prevail.
The week culminates in what is sure to be another standing-room only action-packed Gainesville-East Hall pair of games.
The girls game pits two quality programs with two dominant inside players against each other.
The outside shooting of Taylor Ricketts is an advantage for Gainesville as is the Lady Red Elephants defense. They are going to pressure Sonata Chester into making a few turnovers but don’t think that East Hall won’t do the same.
Gainesville doesn’t have an inside player that is as athletic or excitable as Benton and it’s guaranteed that she is going to bring her "A" game to this one.
The East Hall-Gainesville girls game has the potential to be a classic.
As far as the boys game is concerned, East Hall is clicking on all cylinders but Gainesville’s Gainesville and will make a game of it.
This particular rivalry never fails to live up to the hype but, this year, you will two incredible games for the price of one.