The holidays are now just a memory, and the new year brings with it new challenges for several area boys’ high school basketball teams.
Coming back from Christmas break, the bulk of region play lies ahead for local teams. Here is a look at some of the biggest games remaining on the schedule.
The Blue Flame enter the Peach Blossom region facing some adversity. Pickens has only managed to acquire three wins in ten games so far this season, and competition only gets more difficult from here. Region play begins today (Jan. 4) with a trip to Greer. The Flame will then have a tough week ahead traveling to Blue Ridge and hosting Southside. Greer has put together a 7-3 season thus far, while Blue Ridge sits at 6-7 on the year. A matchup with the 9-2 Eastside Eagles on Jan. 22 is a game to look out for, and the Flame will also travel to showdown with 8-6 Greenville. Despite a slow start for Pickens, region games offer new life to a team that desperately needs it.
The Red Devils head into AA Region I with a 4-6 record. Liberty will get a winnable game to open region play, facing off against Powdersville, which has yet to win a game on Jan. 4. The Red Devils will then have to travel to Blacksburg, before beginning a four game home stint that may provide some security during a challenging league schedule. Liberty will face 12-1 Landrum on Jan. 22, which is sure to be a challenge. The Red Devils will also be circling a Feb. 1 matchup with 6-3 Crescent.
The 9-4 Green Wave is coming off two second-place finishes in holiday tournaments. While tournament experience can often result in success down the road, Easley has a tough region schedule to plow through first. The Green Wave opened conference play with a trip to Greenwood on Wednesday. Next week, Easley hosts the two region newcomers in Hillcrest (9-4) and JL Mann (6-3). Easley will surely be looking towards a late January rematch with Laurens (Jan. 25) where the Wave will hope to avenge a 69-61 loss suffered earlier in the year.
It is a year of unknowns for the Hurricanes. After losing nine players off last year’s roster, Wren also enters a region schedule that is quite unfamiliar. The Hurricanes are adjusting to Region AAA play and will have several tough tests, starting with 6-4 Daniel on Jan. 2. Wren will begin a tough four game stint on Jan. 12 with games against Easley, Belton Honea Path, Emerald and Seneca. The hurricanes have already dropped contests to Easley and Seneca. Wren will wrap up its regular season at home against Palmetto on Feb. 7.
The Patriots are currently mirroring the football team’s efforts in 2012 with an 0-10 start. Powdersville has yet to win a game, and will need a strong effort over the next month to have any sort of playoff hopes. Region play starts with a trip to Liberty on Jan. 4, followed by hosting Pendleton on Jan. 8. The Patriots have away games at Carolina Academy, Landrum, Blacksburg, and Crescent that will be sure to offer some challenges. The Patriots have lost most of their games by a 20-point margin or greater.