Greater Valley Area teams prepare for playoffs
The end of the 2020-21 regular season is quickly approaching. The four Chambers County teams that are in the AISA wrap up their regular seasons this week, while the eight AHSAA teams finish their regular season officially on Tuesday. All four AISA teams are in the playoffs, two of which will have a first-round bye.
Of the eight AHSAA teams, four have a chance to host an area tournament game, while three have a chance to finish as the No. 1 seed in their area.
Below is a breakdown of the teams in the Greater Valley Area:
The Bobcats have faced a couple of shutdowns this season that has made it tough to get and keep momentum this season. With those shutdowns, the Bobcats finished 3A Area 7 play 3-1 and will host the tournament. Since there are only three teams in the area, Beulah will play for the area championship.
The Beulah boys team was in a transition period this year. Along with a new coach, the Bobcats started at least three freshmen in most of their games this season. Like the girls’ team, the boys’ faced several shutdowns. Beulah finished 0-4 in 3A Area 7 and will travel to Reeltown for the first round of the area tournament.
The Rebels finished their regular season against Springwood. Last year, Chambers finished with the area championship and was awarded a first-round bye in the playoffs. Its route to Montgomery starts in LaFayette on Monday, when it hosts Hooper at 7 p.m. CT. Chambers has played Hooper in its first playoff games the previous two years.
The Rebels had two close calls against Macon-East, winning both games by a combined two points, but claimed a first-round bye by winning the AISA AA Region 1 Area 1 championship. The Rebels will play their first playoff game on Feb. 6 in the Crampton Bowl. It will either face South Choctaw or Escambia at 10 a.m. EST.
The LaFayette girls are primed to host the area championship. Entering Thursday, the Bulldogs are 5-0 in 2A Area 7 play with two of their biggest area tests coming up. On Thursday, they hosted Ranburne, who they split with a year ago, and travel to Lanett on Friday. The Bulldogs will finish their area play against Ranburne on Tuesday. Two wins would give LaFayette a first-round bye in the area tournament.
Entering Thursday, the Bulldogs are 3-2 in 2A Area 7, which is a game behind Ranbure for the second seed. The Bulldogs face three area opponents in their next three games (Lanett once and Ranburne twice). With a sweep against Ranburne, the Bulldogs would host a first-round playoff match against Ranburne instead of traveling in that first game.
The Panthers are currently 4-3 in 2A Area 7, losing to Ranburne and LaFayette this season, meaning the best they can finish is third in the area. Lanett will travel to either Ranburne or LaFayette in the first round of the area tournament. The Panthers will wrap up area play on Friday when they host LaFayette.
The Lanett boys have dominated 2A Area 7 to this point in the season. The Panthers are 7-0 and have won the five played games by 38.4 points (two wins were by a forfeit). They have won the regular-season area championship and will have a first-round bye in the area tournament.
Springwood finished winless in its AISA AA Region 1 Area 1this year, but because of teams having to drop out due to COVID-19, the Wildcats will have a first-round bye in the playoffs. It will travel to the Cramton Bowl for its game against Tuscaloosa Academy (No. 4 AISA team). The two teams will face off on Feb. 8 at 12:30 EST in Montgomery.
The Springwood boys took a step this season but struggled in AISA AA Region 1 Area 1 play. Springwood finished 2-4 in its area, which made it the three seed. The Wildcats will travel for their first-round playoff matchup for the second straight year. They will travel to Success Unlimited on Feb. 2.
After a hot start to the season, Valley has struggled in the latter part of its season. The Rams are winless in 6A Area 4 play, which means it will have to travel to Eufaula in the first round of the area tournament.
As of Thursday, the Rams are 2-2 in 6A Area 4. They swept Russell County in two close games but have dropped a game against Opelika and Eufaula. Eufaula has already wrapped up the first seed, while Russell County is the No. 4 seed.
Because of COVID-19, the AHSAA is trying to limit the number of teams gathered in one arena. Because of that ruling, the second seed will host an area tournament game, making that second seed more important than in most other years. If Valley pulls out a win on the road at Opelika on Friday, the Rams will host the first round of the area tournament. If they lose, they will travel back to Opelika.
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