District tournament play begins today throughout the area, and each tourney looks to be competitive and entertaining.
Strasburg opens up Bull Run District play as the third seed and will host sixth-seeded Rappahannock County at 7:30 p.m.
“I truly believe we have an opportunity to do some good things in postseason play,” Strasburg coach Larry Fox said. “We’ve battled all year. We’ve competed with some really good teams. We’ve had a pretty tough schedule, and anything can happen.”
The Rams (13-9) missed out on a Region 2B berth last year, but have already clinched a berth this season. Fifth-seeded Madison County will play at fourth-seeded Clarke County tonight in the other quarterfinal of the six-team district tourney.
Strasburg beat Rappahannock County twice this season, including 64-51 win on Tuesday. If the Rams beat the Panthers tonight, they will play at No. 2 seed Central on Tuesday in the tourney semifinals.
Central (17-5) beat Strasburg twice this season, including a 60-44 victory last weekend.
“I know we’ve beaten them twice, but they’re a good ball club,” Central coach Jeff Whittle said of a possible third matchup between the Shenandoah County rivals. “You can’t go into that game lightly. I’m excited that it’s at our home court. So it will give us home-court advantage.”
George Mason is the top seed in the district tourney, and they were undefeated in regular-season district play.
The Bull Run District tournament determines seeding for regionals. Four teams advance to the Region 2B tournament and there only five Class 2 teams in the Bull Run District as Rappahannock County is a Class 1 school.
Last year Central won the Bull Run District tournament, and Whittle said he is hoping they can repeat that this season and earn the top regional spot.
“I’m excited because we got an opportunity to try and win the district tournament and get the No. 1 seed (in regionals),” Whittle said. “I like tournament time; it’s just like (NCAA College basketball’s) March Madness and all the conference tournaments. We’re looking forward to it.”
Eighth-seeded Stonewall Jackson plays at No. 1 seed East Rockingham tonight at 6 p.m.
The Generals (3-18) lost twice to East Rockingham this season.
No matter what happens in the district tournament, Stonewall Jackson will play at Riverheads in the Region 1B tournament at 6 p.m. Feb. 18. The Generals are the No. 7 seed in regionals, and the Gladiators are the No. 2 seed.
Sherando (10-11) opens up Class 4 Northwestern District tournament action on Tuesday. The Warriors will likely be either the No. 5 seed or the No. 6 seed according to Sherando coach Garland Williams.
The Warriors finish their regular season tonight at Handley. The Warriors have been up and down all season, and Williams said the team has to play much better to have a chance in the postseason.
“Our Achilles has just been turning the ball over — just bad turnovers,” Williams said. “We got to limit those 16, 18 turnovers a game. We got to cut that in half. We definitely have to do a better job defensively. Teams are getting too many easy buckets against us. And if we can do that it will give us a much better chance against the teams that’s beaten us by 20 or more. Cut those turnovers down that gives you at least a chance to shoot the ball.”
Handley and Millbrook have been at the top of the district all season, with the Judges being undefeated in district play. Only two teams advance to the Region 4C tournament with the Judges having already secured one of those spots. The other spot will be determined in the tournament.
Williams said he thinks anything can happen in the tourney.
“On any given night any of us can get hot and hopefully cause the top guys some problems,” Williams said. “I know the top guys they’re feeling that ‘hey we got to keep things rolling to advance on.’”
Warren County (7-10) and Skyline (8-10) will finish their regular season schedules on Tuesday and begin regional play on Feb. 15. Class 3 Northwestern District does not have a tournament.