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March 4, 2009 - Seth Staskey
The tournament trail in Ohio is a lengthy one for boys and girls basketball with the four final survivors showing at Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. We're not sure people truly understand the level of difficulty in making the state tournament.
Getting to the regional can be tough enough, but the state tournament is another story. Look at our area teams for instance. Here we are in the third week of girls action and we have just two team in our immediate area (Shadyside and Monroe) still practicing. They fall like flies.
On the boys side, the second week of the sectionals is here and we've got a handful more, but several face acid tests this week and their fates are in jeopardy. It's not out of the question that the immediate area could have just one team in the district next week and that's because St. Clairsville and Union Local battle each other for a spot.
It's amazing how rough of a year basketball was in the area. I enjoyed covering the games and it's no fault of anyone's it's just running in cycles and teams have good records, but their competition isn't the stiffest and when two not-so-good team meet, someone has to win.
Look at the Buckeye 8 conference for an example. I am a huge fan of the league and think it's creating tremendous rivalries. Indian Creek's girls steamrolled through the league, having just one tough game along the way. Martins Ferry was the OVAC champ and owned a 14-4 record went out in the first round. It's just teams beat up on each other and really aren't totally improving because they're not battle-tested, they are just doing enough to get victories.
It's kind of a downer, but it's the hand we're dealt and where we're at. Some hoop junkies can hardly handle it and are making trips outside of the immediate area and eastern district to fill their hoop fixation. I still, however, enjoy when two local teams lock horns in a slobber-knocker, but I am also a big fan of real good basketball and state-wide sports.
Again, everything runs in cycles. So stay tuned for seasons to come.
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