As of press time, we had one girls’ basketball team left alive in regional play. Lapeer was slated to face St. Johns at Owosso in the Class A title on Tuesday. All of the area hockey teams in our coverage area had been eliminated from regional play, too. That leaves just one more sport left — boys’ basketball.
Districts opened up for the boys’ basketball teams on Monday and Lapeer hosts one of the hottest districts that could once again turn into a Hill versus High finale with Saginaw (14-5) and Arthur Hill (14-5) as favorites. Lapeer (9-10) has the next best record, while the rest of the field has below .500 finishes on the season. Davison is 4-5, Clio 6-13 and Kearsley 3-16. Lapeer will face Saginaw after it dismantled a young Davison squad in the district opener and the Hill kicked Kearsley to the curb. It will oust Clio. My prediction only, of course. That sets up Lapeer to watch a long storied rivalry between the Hill and the High as they see who gets bragging rights. That’s going to be a high-flying, up tempo clash.
The other districts are likely going to see the majority of our remaining teams fall by the wayside. Grand Blanc and Holly boys should end up going toe to toe for the Class A title. Both are 14-6 on the season. Ortonville Brandon could be the spoiler against Holly, though. They were slated to face off in the semis yesterday after we went to press. Grand Blanc handled Fenton in the district opener 76-59 on Monday, setting the table for a clash with Holly in the finals. Linden will surely had its hands full with Grand Blanc in the semis.
Goodrich finds itself in a similar boat in Class B and had to get by Southwestern in the semis yesterday. If the Martians played their cards right, they have a great shot at a title against Corunna or Flint Powers.
Flushing gets my nod in the Class A district at Flushing. At 18-2, only Carman-Ainsworth at 17-3 has a chance against the Raiders. The remaining teams have less than five wins on the season. Swartz Creek is 3-17 and faces an uphill battle in this one drawing Carman-Ainsworth in the semis.
Class C, typically a battle between Hamady and Beecher, both at 17-2, will have to have a plan against 17-3 Bendle this time around. Bendle dispatched a promising Atherton squad 74-66 in overtime on Monday. Bentley at 6-14 and IAF at 6-5 are clearly the underdogs. I hope Bendle gets the upset in this one.
In Lapeer County, our pre-season prediction remained intact with Imlay City as the favorite to have the best chance of winning a district title in Class B. Dryden ended up as a sleeper this season and could be the spoiler in Class C. Its road to the title is littered with some staunch opponents though, namely Sandusky and Marlette. Dryden stands at 15-4 entering the district and will most likely see Sandusky in the semifinals The Redskins face a 6-12 Capac team in the district opener. On the other side of the bracket sits 3-16 Memphis, which will watch two Greater Thumb Conference-East rivals go toe to toe in the other district opener. Marlette has the edge in this one.
The Class B district has a lot of parity at the top with 15-3 Imlay City awaiting Yale (16-3) or Richmond (15-3). Armada is expected to rise to the occasion on the other side with a 12-7 mark that certainly puts it well ahead of 5-3 Almont in the district opener. Cros-Lex at 7-12 gets the winner. We still think Imlay City walks away with that title.
It’s been another long season across the sports and just as our publisher asked us at the start of the year, schools will be asking themselves the same hard question. Are we going to continue down the same path or is it time to take a good hard look at ourselves and see what we can do to continually get better. That’s going to mean some coaching changes and some hard, hard evaluations to see if some of the sports are just not viable anymore.