High school basketball action is in full swing now in Conecuh County and throughout the state, and things are looking good locally as three of the four varsity teams in our county are ranked in their respective classifications.
As of Monday, Hillcrest girls were undefeated and the varsity boys at Hillcrest had only lost one game to a team they’d beaten earlier in the year. Both of Hillcrest’s teams were ranked in the Top 10 in Class 3A, and if they keep winning, they’ll continue to climb in the polls.
Sparta’s girls were also steaming along and ranked in the AISA’s Top 10. Sparta’s boys weren’t ranked, but they are improving game by game. Just this past Saturday, they added the Wilcox Academy Invitational Tournament championship trophy to the school’s trophy case.
Aside from a few tournaments, basketball will slow down locally during the holidays, but they’ll be back to full speed after Jan. 1 when all four varsity teams will really get into the meat of their area schedules. It seems like football season just ended, but the reality is that basketball’s regular season is halfway over.
If all four of our local teams continue to improve and get their game legs under them, sports fans in the reading audience will have a lot of good basketball to look forward to.
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The college football bowl season will officially kick off on Saturday, and we’ll have eight bowl games to watch between Saturday and next Thurs., Dec. 22. Here are my predictions for how I see those games shaking out.
Saturday’s games will include the New Mexico Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN), the Las Vegas Bowl (2:30 p.m., ABC), the Camelia Bowl (4:30 p.m., ESPN), the Cure Bowl (4:30 p.m., CBSSN) and the New Orleans Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN).
I look for New Mexico to beat UT-San Antonio in the New Mexico Bowl, and for Houston to defeat San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl. In the Camelia Bowl, which will be played in Montgomery, I predict Toledo will beat Appalachian State. I expect Central Florida to beat Arkansas State in the Cure Bowl, and for Southern Miss to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl.
The only game set for Monday is the Miami Beach Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN), and I look for Central Michigan to beat Tulsa in that game.
The only game scheduled for Tuesday is the Boca Raton Bowl (6 p.m. ESPN), and I predict Western Kentucky will beat Memphis in that bowl game.
The only game set for Wednesday will be the Poinsettia Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN), and I think that BYU will beat Wyoming in that one.
Looking down the rest of the bowl schedule, Troy and Ohio will play on Fri., Dec. 23, in the Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN) in Mobile. One week later, on Fri., Dec. 30, South Alabama will play Air Force in the Arizona Bowl (4:30 p.m.) in Tuscon.
The following day, Sat., Dec. 31, Alabama will play Washington in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (2 p.m., ESPN) in Atlanta. Two days later, on Mon., Jan. 2, Auburn will play Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl (7:30 p.m., ESPN) in New Orleans.