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Prep Hoops Playoffs: A Little Clearer

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   So, I know this was the week of Super Bowl parties and all, but we’ll touch on football in a bit.

   In turning the attention to South Mountain Athletic prep basketball, a clearer picture for the postseason is beginning to emerge and another team is peaking at the right time. However, this is the last week of regular season play.

   R-S Central’s boys (11-9 overall, 4-7 conference) captured the final 3A spot with an easy, but huge win at Patton, then followed that up with a key win at Shelby. Most of the credit goes to senior Jacob Kinlaw.

   On the ladies side, East Rutherford’s girls (10-8, 3-7) barreled past Burns to hold a two-game lead on the final 2A spot. Chase (one conference win) still has a slim chance, but they have to win out.

   And in all due respect to Chase, the Trojans boys basketball team is picking up some steam. With last year’s conference player of the year in Carlos Watkins, Chase has won three of their last four games. Chase has beat Patton, R-S Central and upset Shelby, while losing by just four-points to Burns during that stretch. Chase remains one game behind Shelby with two to go in SMAC play for the final 2A playoff spot.

   Here is how it breaks down! The SMAC has seven schools with four of them in class 3A and three in 2A. The SMAC gets three 3A and two 2A spots in hoops playoffs, which gives the boys and girls five teams each. At the moment, Rutherford County is looking at four teams from the SMAC and chances are good for two more bids out of the Western Highlands at Thomas Jefferson for a total of six area playoff teams.  

   And if all that success on the hardwood isn’t satisfying enough, East Rutherford’s boys basketball recaptured first place in the SMAC with a win over Freedom on Friday. Meaning, if East (16-1, 9-1) wins Tuesday and Friday of this week, they are the regular season champions for a second year in a row with home court advantage in the SMAC tourney from Feb 14th-18th. The Cavs firmly hold the #1 seed in the 2A playoffs.

   There is a need to mention some other well-deserved recognition among county sports in a couple of areas.

   Congrats to R-S Central’s Taylor McDaniel! The hard-working senior forward on the Lady Hilltoppers basketball team entered the 500/500 club for her career. McDaniel, who went over 500 points a week ago, posted rebound No. 500 on Friday against Shelby for her career.

   And congrats to R-S Central wrestling for claiming the regular season SMAC title by going a perfect 6-0 in conference matches this season.

   Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers turned into a pretty good game after all.

   Green Bay overcame a ton of injuries this season, but had three more key injuries (Charles Woodson, Sam Shields and Donald Driver) during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Quarterback of the Packers, Aaron Rodgers managed the game well throughout to the earn Super Bowl MVP, but Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings etc., made big plays to give the team its fourth title in history.

   Looking back, this year’s Packers were a team of destiny by using adversity when it needed too. They won three road playoff games to even make it to Super Bowl, which is an incredible feat in itself.
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