For the purposes of division tournaments, I think we can all agree to assume that an upset is when a lower-seeded team beats a higher-seeded team, right?
That happened a few times this week as everyone played in their division tournaments, and we had some teams who came out of those with a higher standing than they went in, thanks to some upsets. There were also a couple of games where we had teams that nearly shocked some of the top teams in their tournaments, only to come up just short.
Two of these involved a pair of teams in our coverage area playing each other on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
I knew that the third meeting between Aberdeen and Hatley would be a good one, and it was another tight one as the Bulldogs pulled it out in the end to claim that playoff spot. Then they turned around and improved their standing on Friday, taking down Choctaw County in the consolation game to finish third, which was on the heels of going into overtime and nearly beating Noxubee County, the division’s No. 1 seed in the regular season.
In Division 1-3A, it was the Wednesday games, the ones I missed, that ended up bringing the excitement. First you had Amory’s girls nearly beating Belmont, having a three-point lead with just 11 seconds to go before falling in overtime, then you had Nettleton’s boys taking down No. 2 seed Amory to claim a home playoff game.
When these two play each other, it feels like it’s always going to be close. I know last year in the regular season it was a pair of one-point games, and while it wasn’t as close when they split their two meetings this season, it was still a win at home for each team. Nettleton also hung with division champ Booneville on Friday night. This division is so strong, I can see both teams coming out of the first round and giving some people fits down the road.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Panthers will also be tough to deal with as well. That’s twice that they have had close losses to Belmont, and they had a shot to beat Kossuth as well in the second meeting. It’s going to be interesting to see if they too have some road upsets left in them.
Perhaps one of the most exciting games I saw this week was the Smithville boys against Ingomar in the Division 2-1A championship game. It was a ten-point game in the end, but one of those cases where the score doesn’t indicate how close it really was.
The Noles had an early lead and battled hard the entire time, despite some foul trouble and having a handful in the post with Ingomar’s Tyson Smithey. The Falcons are one of the better teams I have seen this season, and just like I said about Amory a couple of weeks ago, anyone who can hang with them should be able to win some playoff games.
Hopefully by the time you are all reading this, we have made it through the ice storm of 2021 and have some of these first-round games under our belts. Despite the fact that no one came away with the trophy during division tournaments, some of our teams still have some fun roads ahead in potential playoff runs.