When the varsity basketball schedules this season began trickling in to my inbox, one game that caught my eye takes place on Monday.
The defending Class 3A girls state champion Pisgah Eagles will trek down Sand Mountain to take on Scottsboro, last year’s Class 5A Northeast Regional champion and state semifinal team.
We are used to big-time matchups on the basketball court in Jackson County, which each year features a number of teams that are state-championship caliber squads.
But this game seems to be a click or two above the normal anticipation level for such showdowns. Since the start of last season, Scottsboro and Pisgah were a combined 70-6 heading into play Friday night.
On paper, it’s just the next game for each team. But to fans, and this sports writer, it’s a matchup you can’t wait to see. The game has no area ramifications or postseason impact, but it will likely have the feel of a posteason game. Being played on a Monday, when most other teams are off, will likely attract fans from all across the county.
Scottsboro is currently riding a 15-game home winning streak that dates back to the 2016-17 season. Meanwhile, Pisgah would carry a 27-game winning streak dating back to last season into the game if it was able to post a win at Plainview late Friday.
On Thursday, I called both teams’ head coach about the game. As I expected, Pisgah’s Carey Ellison and Scottsboro’s Brandon Childers were focused on the area games their teams were scheduled to play Friday night.
They can’t afford to look ahead. But I get too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what unfolds at Hambrick Hall Monday night (6 p.m.).
Childers and Ellison will begin their prep work for that game starting today. They’ll dive deeper and learn more about the other.
But both told me Thursday they know Monday’s game — and the rematch Jan. 17 at Pisgah — will provide a challenge that will benefit their teams once post-season play rolls around in February.
“I know they’re good, they’re going to put [defensive] pressure on you the whole game,” Childers said of Pisgah.
“I know what they did last year and I know they’re going to have another great year,” Ellison said of Scottsboro. “A lot of talent, so it’ll be a challenge. I haven’t seen them much, but I think [our teams] are a lot alike. It’ll probably be a one of those games where the team that makes one more play than the other wins.”
› Jason Bowen is the sports editor of the Sentinel. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jason on Twitter at @jbo_sports12