Much like Michael Jordan in 1995, we're back!
After two weeks of celebrating the holidays, the boys basketball column returns.
There was plenty of action during the holidays, involving a lot of area teams.
If we can get Mother Nature to cooperate, this could be an exciting month of play as teams jockey for positions in the OVAC standings and begin to take a look at the possible seeds in the sectional tournament, which are just over a month away.
It's going to be an interesting rest of the season. Normally, after the holidays, you start to see the teams really kick it up a gear because the players - and coaches - are back in more of a groove. Whether it be in terms of playing twice a week or school being back in session, there are fewer distractions to deal with.
We think you're going to see the level of play and competition improve as the second full month of the season kicks into high gear.
With the holidays in the past, basketball teams can begin to really start to get into a rhythm as most will play and some will play three times a week in the coming weeks as the OVAC cut-off date will be here before you know it.
Several interesting contests are on the docket this week, starting with tonight's Harrison Central at Buckeye Local encounter. This game always brings out the best in both teams. It'll be interesting to see how the Huskies bounce back after their loss to St. C. last week.
Shadyside visits Monroe Central this evening as well. The Seminoles have been playing at a high level all season. They've been beaten just once and that was in the finals of the Meadowbrook holiday tourney. The Tigers are one of the area's biggest enigmas. They're just a tough team to figure out because they play well one day and not the next.
Wednesday's a light card, but the Steubenville at St. C. game should be a dandy. It actually could be a preview of the OVAC 4A final down the road.
Friday's Buckeye 8 encounter between Martins Ferry and Indian Creek has the makings of a dandy. The Riders seem to be putting it back together after a three-game skid. Indian Creek just finds ways to get it done.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE
There are different points during the season when the basketball hoop looks like an ocean. A team just can't miss. Obviously, there are also times when teams 'can't throw it in the ocean,' either.
The River Pilots have been on fire of late and knocking down shots from distance with regularity.
Coach Mark Romick's squad, which got off to a slow start, is coming alive. It just knocked Magnolia from the ranks of the unbeaten and in the process drilled 15 3-point goals.
The Pilots received 40 points from senior standout Brett Price.
In its last three games, River has connected on 37 3-point goals.
St. Clairsville senior Dan Monteroso is already the all-time leading scorer in Red Devils' basketball history. He's closing in on another milestone plateau. He's 178 points from the coveted 2,000 point barrier. On his 26.5 points per game average, Monteroso should surpass the mark later this month.
He could do it even quicker if he maintains the pace of his last two games when he scored 33 and 35.
In Monday's edition, we printed the latest Ohio Valley Athletic Conference standings, which are used to determine the playoffs for the annual Wheeling Hospital OVAC Basketball Championship.
As has been in the case, each of the first five years of the event, a handful of schools have opted not to take part in the tournament. That's still a surprise especially since the state of Ohio expanded to 22 games this winter and the required number of games is extremely minimal.
Regardless, four girls teams and five boys teams opted to fill their schedules rather than leaving the two required dates open for the OVAC event.
The schools are: Beaver Local (both), Cambridge (both), Wellsville (both), Tyler (both) and Meadowbrook (boys).
So, when you're checking out the standings, which are able to found on the T-L website, if you see one of the above schools above your school, bump your school up one notch.
All of the other schools are eligible and will take part in the event.
Dublin Scioto captured the KSA Events Holiday Basketball Tournament in Orlando, which was held Dec. 28-30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Irish won by virtues of victories against Casa Roble, Ca. (50-47); Bishop Shanahan, Pa. (56-38) and Brooke, 61-48, in the title game.
Junior Zac Brown, who is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Grimm of Bridgeport, scored five points, grabbed five rebounds and had three assists in the championship game.
His younger brother, Carter, is seeing action on the frosh and jayvee squads. He dressed varsity during the trip to Florida.
For Brooke, Austin Schambach is a contributor for the Bruins this season. He's the son of Bridgeport graduate Randy Schambach.
If you know of any others making noise around the state or nation, feel free to drop us an email.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com