In a wild and crazy year of 5-6 grade basketball, one thing is clear as the county tournaments tipped off Tuesday night.
The WCMS boys are going to be tough to beat.
The Pioneers (8-0) just finished their second straight undefeated regular season and are set to begin tournament play Thursday at 5:45 p.m.
The Pioneer boys are one of three teams which finished the regular season unbeaten. The Centertown girls and Irving College girls are the other two.
They all know a tournament championship is the goal to make the season truly memorable.
“You never know what can happen in the tournament, but I really like this team,” said WCMS coach Justin Adcock. “It’s an athletic group that pressures the ball really well and can score in transition. We like to play the 1-3-1 and that’s been effective for us. We run traps out of it and that gets us in transition.”
The Pioneers are led by Dyson Elam, who has shown he is a matchup nightmare who can’t be guarded off the dribble.
Thanks to earning a first-round bye, WCMS will have to win two games to finish as District 2 tournament champs. The Pioneers stiffest competition is expected to come from the winner of the Centertown-Morrison game which is set for Thursday at 8:15 p.m.
In the District 2 girls bracket, Centertown (8-0) put together an undefeated season of its own. The Lady Warriors are scheduled to begin tournament play Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
“We have depth, which is sometimes hard to get in the 5-6 grade league,” said Centertown coach Kelly Eckenrod.
Eckenrod continued, “We have some of the biggest girls in the league and we have three of them where other teams might have just one. We also have guards who can shoot so that makes us well-rounded. If they collapse on our posts, we can kick it outside. And if they extend their defense out to our guards, we can work it down low.”
The Lady Warriors are led by point guard Brinlee Griffith, who can drain buckets from outside and is also a steady free-throw shooter. Abby Fann is a post who is described by her coach as a smart player who can score when she gets the ball down low.
The league has gone to two divisions with the larger schools competing in District 2. In District 1, Irving College finished in first place in both the boys and girls leagues.
The Lady Tigers completed an 8-0 season with West Elementary being their closest competition at 6-2.
The District 1 boys tournament may be the most wide open after three teams tied atop the standings with 6-2 records – Irving College, Hickory Creek and West. Since those three teams took turns beating each other, it will be interesting to see who emerges as champion.
The winners from the District 1 and District 2 tournaments are scheduled to play each other to determine an overall countywide champion.