Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hillcrest-Bayside rivalry reached new heights during 2015-2016 season

Evergreen was well-represented by a host of local hoops fans at Hillcrest’s basketball game against Bayside Academy Saturday morning in Dothan, and Hillcrest’s five-point win was icing on the cake.

Hillcrest and Bayside have developed an intense rivalry this season, and it was nice to see the Jags pay back the Admirals for eliminating them from the state football playoffs last season. Many in Saturday’s audience were also in the stands last Nov. 27 when Bayside beat Hillcrest, 36-0, in the state football semifinals, and it was hard not to notice some of those same fans smiling as Bayside got a dose of their own medicine in the basketball playoffs.

Needless to say, it’s nice to see Hillcrest have all this success on the basketball court, and I think that you can make the argument that Hillcrest is perhaps having the finest sports year in the school’s history. With their deep run in the football playoffs, coupled with a possible appearance in the state basketball tournament, it’s hard to come up with another year when they’ve had so much overall success.

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Alabama and Auburn’s men’s basketball seasons are also winding down, and as of Monday both teams had just four games left on their regular season schedules. Alabama, 16-10 overall and 7-7 in SEC play, were scheduled to play Kentucky in Lexington on Tuesday night, and a win there would be just what Alabama needs to shore up their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. The Tide will play Auburn on Saturday, Arkansas this coming Wednesday and their regular season finale against Georgia on March 5.

Auburn was 10-16 overall and 4-10 in conference play as of Monday and they were scheduled to play Georgia yesterday (Wednesday) in Auburn. After Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa, they’ll play Texas A&M on Tuesday before wrapping up their regular season on March 5 at Mississippi State. If Auburn takes care of business in those games and does well in the SEC Tournament, I feel they’ll at least make the NIT.

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High school baseball officially got underway locally last week when Hillcrest started their season against Goshen and McKenzie. The Jags played their first home game of the season last Thursday against McKenzie, and a good-sized crowd gathered to watch the action. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that it looked like Hillcrest had more kids than usual on the baseball team, not counting the kids playing basketball who have yet to join the team.

Sparta will begin their season today (Thursday) against South Montgomery County Academy in Grady.

Another thing that can be said for the start of baseball season is that it signals the coming start of spring weather, the approach of spring football and the end of another school year. It also won’t be long before Major League Baseball holds its Opening Day slate of games, and before you know it, we’ll be trying to figure out which team will win this year’s World Series. Only time will tell, and we’ve got all of that to look forward to.

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