Jason Bowen

The Jackson County Tournament is one of the biggest events — not just sporting events — in this county each season.

It brings people from all corners of the county and all points in between together in one gymnasium under one condition — a love for basketball. 

The 2020 Jackson County Tournament begins Monday at Pisgah High School, and it’s time for my annual attempt to predict the winners. Here goes:

Varsity Girls

Quarterfinals

North Jackson vs. Woodville — The third-seeded Chiefs have shaken off an 0-4 start and were since 15-2 entering Friday’s game with Randolph. North Jackson continues the surge with a first-round win over the sixth-seeded Panthers. North Jackson 55, Woodville 30.

Section vs. NSM — The Class 2A Area 15 rivals have split their regular-season meetings. NSM won the teams’ last meeting. Fourth-seeded Section, looking for revenge, gets the win to advance against the fifth-seeded Bison. Section 44, NSM 39.

Semifinals

Pisgah vs. Section — The Eagles begin their quest for a sixth straight county championship. Pisgah’s full-court press is a challenge for any team, and Section must take care of the basketball to have a chance at springing the upset. Pisgah 73, Section 50. 

Skyline vs. North Jackson — Two teams playing extremely well look to keep their momentum going. Skyline, despite a lineup lacking height, is a hard to guard team that can make you pay regardless of whether teams play man-to-man or zone defense. North Jackson’s length could be a factor on both ends of the floor. Skyline 65, North Jackson 56.

Finals

Pisgah vs. Skyline — The teams meet in the finals for fifth straight season. Both teams have been stellar and both are state-title contenders in their respective classification. They give us an entertaining game Saturday night, but in the end, Pisgah continues its county reign. Pisgah 80, Skyline 70.

Varsity Boys

Quarterfinals

Section vs. Woodville — The third-seeded Lions have played in 12 straight county title games. Their quest to make it 13 starts on a strong note. Section 68, Woodville 51.

North Jackson vs. Pisgah — Fourth-seeded North Jackson head coach Zac Barringer got his first win over his alma mater on its home court on Jan. 13. Eight days later, he gets a second one against fifth-seeded Pisgah. North Jackson 73, Pisgah 62.

Semifinals

Skyline vs. North Jackson — This game comes down to how top-seeded and defending county champion Skyline’s height and length, which has been a challenge for opponents to overcome this season. North Jackson’s pressure defense is very affective, so how well Skyline handles it will likely be a factor in determining the outcome. Skyline 63, North Jackson 55.

NSM vs. Section — Section and second-seeded North Sand Mountain have split their season series thus far, each winning at home. The pace in both have been NSM’s pace, so it comes down whose making more shots and who can come up with a few key defensive stops. NSM 87, Section 85.

Finals

Skyline vs. NSM — It’s a contrast of styles in the finals. Skyline’s half-court oriented approach meets NSM’s high-speed up-tempo pace. The team whose pace wins out likely wins the championship. Skyline 71, NSM 66.

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