With just over a week left, things are starting shake out for the area teams. There are two big question marks left, though: Where will the Fannett-Metal boys finish, and will the Fannett-Metal girls or McConnellsburg take the No. 7 seed?
Friday and Saturday should answer some of those questions. Each of the five teams still in the playoff picture - both Southern Fulton teams are basically locked into their spots - will play league games in the next two days.
The Southern Fulton boys (11-7) will appear for the first time in the Class AA playoffs, and they are pretty much a lock for the sixth seed. Friday, they'll face McConnellsburg (5-12). Although the teams' records don't reflect a potentially close matchup, Indian coach Kent Hendershot is expecting a battle.
"You can throw records out the window because they always play us tough, especially on their floor," Hendershot said. "We need to go up there and contain their scorers, (Tyler) Green and (Tony) White. We've just gotta show up and execute like we have been."
The Fannett-Metal boys (10-7) will take on Forbes Road (4-14) on Friday, and the Tigers are in desperate need of a victory. Currently seeded fifth, they have potential to drop or gain a spot depending on the remainder of their season. But they've been struggling of late, presently on a three-game losing streak.
All of those games have been played without leading scorer Walker Bannister, who has been out with an ankle injury. Jordan Hurrell has picked it up in that span, averaging 20.7 points per game. Ben Metcalfe also had a big game against McConnellsburg last Friday, scoring 20 points.
But Tiger coach Greg Best is mostly concerned with just getting back in the win column.
"We're missing Walker's scoring and his rebounds and just his presence on the court in general, but we have to keep looking for other guys to step up," Best said.
On the girls side, Fannett-Metal (9-8) will visit Chestnut Ridge (5-13), a team that is winless in the Sideling Hill League. Like their male counterparts, the Lady Tigers need a victory - they're on a four-game losing streak. Despite that, F-M coach Jen Lauthers was very pleased with their most recent loss, a 66-61 defeat at the hands of Northern Bedford.
"We've struggled on the road, but they showed me that they can do it against Northern Bedford," Lauthers said. "They can't use it as an excuse. If we want to continue and be satisfied, then they need to be able to win on the road and win at home, just get it done wherever."
Against Ridge, the Lady Tigers plan to stress rebounding and being effective offensively.
If they manage a win, they'll also probably be watching closely Saturday's contest between McConnellsburg and Forbes Road.
Currently, Fannett-Metal is ranked No. 7, while the Spartans (9-9) are ranked eighth. Neither is looking forward to playing Southern Fulton, which is practically a shoo-in for the No. 1 seed.
The Tigers have lost to the Indians (18-1) once already and must play them again Monday. McConnellsburg has a different reason for wanting to face another team.
"We're more familiar with them, but I think we match up better with Berlin (the current No. 2 seed)," Spartan coach Dave Garland said.
McConnellsburg will host Forbes Road (6-13), which it narrowly beat on Jan. 17. In that loss, though, Shayla Carmack scored 21 of the Cardinals' 30 points.
"We have to do a better job of locating her," Garland said. "She shot a couple of threes, and we didn't even have anybody around her. It was like a shooting drill for her. So if we can hold her down and do the fundamentals right, we should be all right."
Finally Southern Fulton will play host to Tussey Mountain (14-5) on Saturday. With the top spot in their hands, the Indians will use the final week of the regular season to get some more people involved. It's obvious that junior Macey Hollenshead, who just scored her 1,000th point Tuesday, is always a threat. Now, they want to ensure others can do the same.
"We have to continue to play team basketball," Indian coach Terry Bard said. "Whoever the five girls are on the court, they have to be a threat. If (other teams) don't have to stop just one person, it's going to be tough to beat us."
Although no one wants to overlook the remaining schedule, there will some serious scoreboard watching going on, and some of those playoff questions may be resolved this weekend.
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dist. 5 games at a glance
Game data: Friday's schedule - Fannett-Metal boys at Forbes Road, 7:30 ... Southern Fulton boys at McConnellsburg, 7:30 ... Fannett-Metal girls at Chestnut Ridge, 7:30 ... Saturday's schedule - Forbes Road girls at McConnellsburg, 5:30 ... Tussey Mountain at Southern Fulton, 6:30.
Teams: Boys - The Tigers are 10-7 ... The Indians are 11-7 ... Girls - The Lady Tigers are 9-8 ... The Spartans are 9-9 ... The Indians are 18-1.
Playoff scramble: Boys - Southern Fulton is currently No. 5 in the Class AA rankings ... Fannett-Metal is ranked fifth in Class A, as of Monday ... Girls - Southern Fulton is No. 1, Fannett-Metal is No. 7 and McConnellsburg is No. 8.
Media: On Twitter, follow @liziarbogast for updates from the Fannett-Metal/Forbes Road boys game and @EdGotwalsPO from the Southern Fulton-McConnellsburg boys game.