Seventeen teams will be playing for south state seedings next week. District 4AA begins tourney play at Simpson and 5AA at Centreville while district 3AA completes their round robin to determine their seedings next week also. While some fans object to the long drawn out post season tournaments, most see them as a slow elimination process which, in most cases, produces the best teams in AA south when state tournament play begins. One needs to look no further than last year’s final four at Grenada in which all four slots were filled by AA south squads. As post season draws near it’s hard to argue the fact that all three AA south districts have the three best teams in the south sitting at the top of each one. With that being the case it’s undeniable that some very good teams will get eliminated at south state in Gallman next month. Just looking at the south state bracket and the potential match ups that could occur in the first round is a basketball fan’s dream come true. While Brookhaven, Trinity and Bowling Green have separated themselves a bit from the rest of the pack none of the three can punch a ticket to the state tournament just yet. This year’s south state tournament, in my humble opinion, will be more balanced than years past and any of the top three could be sent packing after round two. With that balance comes added pressure for teams to win that second round game to advance to state. The question is, if those top three play well and advance, which team will fill that final slot for the state tournament at Brookhaven the following week? If someone would have asked me a week ago I would have said Chamberlain-Hunt without hesitation. But the great thing about high school sports is nothing is for sure. Proof being the manner in which Columbia finished out the regular season, a 30 point blowout of Parklane. What better way for team to hit post season play than with a big win over a AAA team? The other team I think has the potential to vie for that fourth slot is River Oaks. With losses to Trinity (twice), Riverdale (twice) and Chamberlain-Hunt, the Mustangs could slip up and surprise some folks. When I saw them beat Chamberlain-Hunt earlier this month I saw a versatile squad with speed and focus. This year’s River Oaks team should make a better showing than last year’s. I had Oak Forest in my sights for the last few weeks as the Jackets made a run at Bowling Green in district 5AA and up until their loss at Bowling Green I felt as though they could do some damage at south state. I still think Oak Forest has the potential to make a run but after their lopsided loss in Franklinton and a surprising loss at Central Private I’m wavering just a bit. Look for a battle royal for the #3 and #4 spots coming out of the district 5AA tournament next week. Central Private, Silliman, and host Centreville could provide for some high drama as those teams vie for a south state ticket. That leaves me with the Simpson Cougars. Simpson looked to be that strong #4 seed for a while, especially after their upset of Brookhaven, but Simpson’s game has been struggling as of late. Some surprising losses during the past few weeks have me questioning what team will emerge at south state. I think this squad has all the tools to make a run but time is growing short and not many teams have post season success if they’re struggling. Hosting the district 4AA tournament could be just what Simpson needs. They have the talent and should focus on nothing but a successful south state tournament.
The next three weeks will be great….support your team!
*Note…..my apology for the premature district tournament seedings earlier in the week. I had Columbia as the #2 seed when in fact it was Simpson. I should have just said Cougars and left it at that.
See ya somewhere………