Last week I wrote a little bit previewing about the county tournament and talked about the change to the format with the random drawing to determine the brackets.

I said that it was going to help us end up with better matchups – especially for the championship games – and both games on Saturday night helped show that was right.

On the girls’ side, I honestly believed that it could be anybody’s to win, and the games throughout the first three days showed that.

On Thursday night, Smithville gave Amory all it wanted before the Lady Panthers won in overtime to seal a spot in the championship.

The Lady Panthers might have been the favorites going in, since they had beaten Aberdeen in their first matchup in December, but the Lady Bulldogs had one of their best games of the season and a big comeback in store on Saturday.

The Aberdeen girls are certainly one of those teams that is intriguing going into division play. They weren’t healthy for most of last season and struggled but have been able to avoid that injury bug so far. They have eight losses, but some of those are by single digits and to some pretty decent teams – like Amory, Baldwyn, Booneville, etc.

Winning the county tournament is certainly something they take a lot of pride in – Aberdeen has won it three of the last four seasons, and I’m sure they are hoping Saturday’s performance is a springboard as they start division play this week.

If we thought the girls’ game was a rollercoaster on Saturday, it only got us prepared for the boys’ game to follow as there were so many ups and downs for both teams.

Smithville started out the game 8-0, and when you saw that, you thought okay, this is the Noles’ game to lose.

Then Amory picked up all the momentum, ending the second quarter on that 15-0 run, and it was easy to think if they kept it going in the third, they could run away with the win.

The third quarter belonged to Smithville, but the fourth was Amory’s, and when these two played each other earlier in the season, I hoped we would get to see another great game if they met up in the finals of the county tournament.

Both teams have had their ups and downs this season. Smithville started out with that huge 14-0 record but has picked up all three of its losses in the last few weeks. They are looking to get it back together as they start that brutal Division 2-1A schedule, and while I know they’re disappointed not to come away with the trophy on Saturday, I think they’re getting back to what they showed in the first 14 games as opposed to what they did in their two previous losses.

Amory still has a good shot in their own division with their lone division loss being to Nettleton and matching up with them again next week. Booneville also has just one loss (to Amory), so this division is still anybody’s to take and will definitely be a fun one to watch during division tournament time too.

The only thing that’s disappointing to me is that we don’t have another Amory/Smithville matchup later in the season.

Melissa Meador is the Sports Editor of the Monroe Journal. Contact her at melissa.meador@journalinc.com or follow her on Twitter: @MelissaMeador14.

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