Basketball rises to the top

By Clif Knight

Basketball has risen to the top in college athletic competition as the nation’s top seeded teams battle for recognition during NCAA’s March Madness.

Sixty-four teams were selected as participants two weeks ago based on their level of work against opponents in the pre-season and during their respective conferences. Conference tournament winners received an automatic seeding based on their whole body of work with the remainder of the 64 slots awarded based on their overall accomplishments.

Geanell and I were locked in on the seven SEC conference teams that earned a seed, especially last week when all 14 teams competed. Our interest level skyrocketed when either Alabama or Auburn were playing. Both teams claimed wins in opening round competition, with Alabama advancing to the Sweet 16 round following wins over Southwest Missouri and Maryland. Auburn lost in the second round to a top-ranked Kansas team. Alabama is the number one seed in the South Region and is scheduled to play San Diego State on Friday. The Tide was crowned the regular season and SEC tournaments champion, whose overall 31-5 season mark included wins over two nationally ranked teams in December, and a number 5 national standing.

The Tide won both away and home games against the Tigers during the regular SEC season. The Tide features the all-around talents of a freshman player who led the conference in scoring and was named to the all-SEC first team and selected as an all-American player. He is also picked as a first round selection in the NBA forthcoming draft.

Morgan County also had two post-season basketball winners. The girl’s and boy’s teams representing the county received post season honors. Priceville High’s girls team and West Morgan’s boy’s team won Morgan County Tournament honors, with Priceville finishing the season as runner-up state champion in the 4A class.

The game has changed a lot since Geanell and I played on junior high teams more than a half-century ago. Our gym was similar to the old gym still being used at Danville High. It had only two rows of bleachers on each side, and a goal at both ends. The game was played on a rougher scale with fewer penalties called. Girls played on half court with five player on one end and five players on the opposite end. The girl’s game was not played in high school. Games were played in the afternoon after school. Admission was 10 cents for students and 25 cents for adults.

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