The first week of the new year is officially in the books. Prep basketball teams from across the area took the floor to begin their stretch runs, and plenty of interesting storylines is what we got in return. Here are a few things we learned from the first week of 2012:
- No seed is safe in the Class 6A, Area 15 boys standings. Decatur beat River City rival Austin 52-45 on Friday, which now means the Black Bears’ only hope for the area tournament’s top seed is with a three-way tie. It also means that Decatur has emerged as a prime player in Area 15. And let’s not forget about No. 7 Florence. They’ve got skills, too.
- The Athens girls are pretty good. Don’t let the 11-7 record fool you. Eddie Murphree’s Lady Golden Eagles have played one of the toughest schedules in the area, and they’re better because of it. With a 6-foot-2 center in Alliyah Smith and a great all-around player in Destany McLin, Athens is going to be a tough out come tournament time. And that Class 5A, Area 16 win at Russellville on Friday may also be an early indicator that this Athens team will be an area champion.
- Speaking of Athens, coach Stace Teford’s boys team is enjoying the perks of that tough schedule, too. The Golden Eagles appear poised to win the Class 5A, Area 16 title after a sound win at Russellville.
- Don’t sleep on the Class 1A Decatur Heritage boys. The Eagles picked up a signature upset on Friday by beating No. 3 R.A.. Hubbard. If anything can boost a team’s confidence, it’s a win over Hubbard.
We learned a lot, but there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. Watching it unfold will be interesting.