Let the games begin.
Things are about to get interesting. This week, conference play will begin in high school basketball and with it will come an up-tick in intensity as teams begin their march toward conference championships.
With that in mind, lets take a look at some interesting stories entering the conference season.
It won’t be easy to trek through the Macomb Area Conference for any local teams.
In the MAC Blue Division, Port Huron and Port Huron Northern will square off with the likes of Grosse Pointe South and Anchor Bay for conference supremacy.
The Big Reds and Huskies have already squared off this season, with Northern defeating Port Huron, 50-45 in the opening game of the Ed Peltz Tournament last month.
“I think we got better over the break,” Northern coach Brian Jamison said after the Ed Peltz Tournament. “The biggest thing for us is getting ready for league play.”
After the Huskies face Yale Tuesday in a non league game, they will host Grosse Pointe South on Thursday in an anticipated match-up.
In the MAC Gold Division, St. Clair is the lone representative from the Blue Water Area. It will face a stiff challenge from New Haven, which is the clear favorite entering the conference season.
“We are more on an every day basis,” St. Clair coach Shawn Sharrow said. “Every game matters the same to me. Whether it is us getting together for a practice or a game, us doing the little things is what matters to me.”
St. Clair will open league play at home Thursday against Lakeview.
Meanwhile in the Silver Division, Marysville and Marine City each hope to compete for a conference title. The Vikings shared the conference title last year with South Lake.
Marysville will head to Madison Heights Lamphere Thursday, while Marine City will host South Lake.
The Blue Water Area Conference might just be the most balanced and competitive conference involving local teams.
Last season, Yale, Imlay City and Richmond each won a share of the conference championship. This season however, each team is looking to win the league title outright.
It won’t be easy though with so much balance. That also doesn’t include up and coming teams such as Armada and Croswell-Lexington, which are already much improved over last season.
“Last year we had four freshmen up on the varsity,” Armada coach Russ Collins said. “It was a rebuilding that took half the season. In the second half of the season we won three games and played another five (games) that were overtime or less than four point losses.”
Armada hopes that experience will allow them to challenge the upper echelon teams in the league, namely Yale, Imlay City and Richmond.
Yale will host Imlay City on Friday in a key match-up.
The Greater Thumb Area Conference is up for grabs once again this season. Marlette, Brown City and Sandusky all have a great opportunity to make a run for a league title.
But it won’t be easy. They will have to overcome Bad Axe, Ubly and USA among others to challenge for a title.
The North Central Thumb League has been dominated by the Peck boys basketball team for several seasons. But that run could come to an end if the Pirates aren’t at their best. After losing several key players the past two seasons, Peck will need to rebuild on the fly.
That will give teams such as Deckerville and Carsonville-Port Sanilac a chance to surprise.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11. Listen to him every weekday from 4-8 p.m. on 88.3 FM.