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Thu, Dec 18, 2014

Top must-see games in next 12 days

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During football season, I always tried to inform you of what I considered to be the best game to see that week.

It was guesswork, educated guesswork to be sure, but guesswork none the less.

Sometimes, I missed.

That’s one of the wonderful things about sports – you just never know.

Many times a great on paper match-up turns into a rout or a complete dud. The opposite is also true: Sometimes a miss-match yields an upset or a very entertaining game.

This was true on Jan. 4, which was the first night of district play. The evening did yield a tiny upset as the Smyrna girls beat Siegel.

The Blackman boy’s victory over La Vergne and the Siegel boy’s victory over Smyrna were both closer than I had previously thought.

The Riverdale boys did lose to Oakland but by a closer margin (eight points) than most anyone would have predicted, especially since the game was at Oakland.

I thought the Riverdale girls would win by 20 and the final margin was 17. However Oakland played great for a long time and led at the half.

Make no mistake the Oakland girls are not going away. Hopefully the Lady Patriots proved to themselves that they can play at the highest level of girl’s basketball.

I saw no fear in their eyes.

They came to play and will do so again Jan. 25.

With all of that said, here are the best 12 games to go see over the next 12 days:

• Jan. 11 – Blackman girls at Oakland and the La Vergne boys at Smyrna.

• Jan. 15 – Oakland boys at La Vergne, York at Central Magnet, and the Blackman boys at Siegel.

• Jan. 18 – Riverdale girls visit Blackman, Siegel boys at La Vergne, Moore County boys at MTCS and the Smyrna boys at Oakland.

• Jan. 22 – Central Magnet girls at Cannon County and Community at Eagleville (both games).

OK, you want one girl’s game – just one to absolutely not to miss.

I give you the Riverdale girls at Blackman.

Riverdale has been favored and lost at least three times on Blackman’s floor in the past few years. And two of those losses were in tournament play in 2009 and 2011.

So who’s to say who will win this time?

This could be the game where Blackman’s Alex Johnson gets the recognition she has long deserved, or Crystal Dangerfield explodes, or Jazz Bond gives us more than a glimpse of what she will soon be, or Micah Norris plays like the star that has been just under the surface.

It could be the game where Riverdale’s Ty Petty reminds us again why she is a superstar point guard who can lead, or Alexa Middleton or Shelbie Davenport (or both) score from everywhere, or Olivia Jones takes over the game and the boards like she did recently in Atlanta and versus Oakland.

It could also be the game where a starter or a substitute you are not expecting “steps up,” as coaches love to say, and contributes big time.

You want a boy’s game?

Don’t miss Blackman at Siegel Jan. 15. Both teams are loaded with talent.

The two best players in the county will be playing – Blackman’s Darius Thompson and Siegel’s Robert Brandon and both have talented teammates – Siegel’s Charles Clark and Blackman’s Quindell Cousin come to mind.

Both games will likely be played in front of a crowd that will rival the near sellout at Oakland last Friday.

See you there.
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