More than 20 games into the season and several months of hard work have helped the Community R-VI and Van-Far boys and girls basketball teams get ready to make a postseason run in districts, which starts on Saturday, February 20.
The Community R-VI Lady Trojans enter this year’s Class 1, District 11 Tournament as the No. 1 seed with a large bullseye on their back as defending back-to-back district champions.
The Lady Trojans were 17-5 through last Friday night and are hoping their returning experience will help them leave the tournament with another title.
In the first round, the Lady Trojans will face the winner of two winless programs in Wellsville and Bevier, who participate in a play-in game on Saturday.
Community R-VI’s Monday night contest is scheduled for 5:50 p.m. at Madison.
If they win, they will take on either No. 4 seed Atlanta (10-12) or No. 5 seed North Shelby (8-13) at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22.
The Lady Trojans played Atlanta in the semifinals last season.
A victory puts them in the title game with a likely match-up against either No. 2 seed La Plata (13-9), who they beat in the finals last year, or No. 3 seed Madison (8-12).
“I think, as it has been the last two years, hopefully we’re trying to win our third straight district championship,” said Community R-VI head coach Bob Curtis.
“…It could be a rematch from a year ago in both the semifinal and final, if we all get there.”
The court is a familiar one for Curtis’ team. The Lady Trojans played in the Madison Tournament in early January, where they advanced to the championship game before falling to Cairo.
“I think we are comfortable as we play three sometimes four games a year on that floor but it has been a 50-50 time when we played on it (shooting the ball),” he said. “We definitely shot the ball better this year than last year on that court.”
If the Lady Trojans get past districts, they could be facing the same undefeated Mercer (22-0) team that ended their season last year with a 15-point win in Sectionals.
Community R-VI Trojans
While this may not be the same Community R-VI boys basketball team that was expected to win districts last season, this year’s Trojans are not going to be an easy match-up for Class 1, District 11 teams in a field where rival Wellsville-Middletown is the No. 1 seed with a 14-6 record.
The Trojans (4-17) are the No. 5 seed and will battle No. 4 seed Bevier (10-10) at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23 in Madison.
With a win, the Trojans will get a chance to battle rival Wellsville-Middletown at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 25.
Another victory moves the Trojans into the district finals to likely play either No. 2 seed La Plata (13-8) or No. 3 seed Marion County (12-7).
Community R-VI head coach Ken Jett said while Bevier has a nice .500 record, he’s hoping his own team’s strength of schedule might help the Trojans advance.
“We play districts to be in the championship but will have to go through a couple of good teams to get there,” he said. “We will have to play well but that’s the way it should be.”
In a very talented Class 2, District 5 Tournament that starts on Monday in Monroe City, the Van-Far boys basketball team is a dangerous No. 6 seed.
The Indians (11-11) will open districts on February 22 at 8:30 p.m. with No. 3 seed Canton (12-8). A victory moves the Indians into the semifinals to face either No. 2 seed Monroe City (13-8) or No. 7 seed Paris (5-13) on Wednesday, February 24 at 6:45 p.m.
If they advance to the finals, they will likely take on No. 1 seed Louisiana (15-5), a team coached by Van-Far graduate Matt Smith.
Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway said he wasn’t shocked his team received the No. 6 seed after a couple tough January losses. He also said his team will have to play its best ball of the season, needing wins over the top three seeds to win a title.
“Canton is probably playing better than anyone in district right now; however, if you want to be the man, you have to beat the man and the road to Columbia has gone through Canton the last two years,” he said. “I think we match-up well against them and know we will be ready to play.”
Connaway said he expects his team to be a “tough out.”
“I really think we have a great shot to play for the district title this year,” Connaway added. “As a 6-seed, I don’t think very many teams want to face us. We create a lot of match-up problems for other teams. It will come down to how well we shoot the basketball, if we shoot it well from behind the arc, and keep having success attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line we’ll be just fine. We are playing some of our best basketball right now and you want to be peaking heading into districts.”
Van-Far Lady Indians
The Van-Far Lady Indians (4-16) enter the Class 2, District 5 Tournament as the No. 8 seed and drew the top seed, Northeast Cairo (16-2), in the first round. The two teams will play on Tuesday, February 23 at Monroe City.
If Van-Far wins, they will battle either No. 4 seed Canton (9-12) or No. 5 seed Sturgeon (11-9) in the semifinals on Thursday, February 25 at 5 p.m.
Another win puts them in the title game on Saturday, February 27 at 1 p.m.
Van-Far head coach Kelly Orf said she expected the No. 8 seed after her squad lost to four of the teams in the district.
She does expect her team to play hard in districts, with the hopes of pulling off an upset.
“My expectations for districts are the same they have been all season,” Orf said.
“I want my team to go out there and play good team basketball and give it their all for all four quarters.”