As we approach the final week of basketball for December, Sportspage takes a look at how each team is doing at the present time.
We look at the team's overall record, area record and county games. Plenty of games are to be this week after Christmas with the intensity to pick up for January from area games to the Cullman County Tournament that will be held January 20-27.
Cold Springs High School:
Lady Eagles 8-5, 3-2 county, 2-0 in 2A, A 13
Eagles 1-9, 1-4 county, 0-2 in 2A, A 13
This week: Lady Eagles at DAR Tournament (Thursday-Saturday)
Eagles at West Point Christmas Classic (Tuesday-Thursday)
Cullman High School:
Lady Bearcats 10-8, 2-1 in 6A, A 14
Bearcats 9-6, 1-2 in 6A, A 14
This week: Lady Bearcats at Mortimer Jordan Holiday Invitational (Wednesday-Friday)
Bearcats at Wayne Bracy Invitational at Deshler (Tuesday-Thursday)
Fairview High School:
Lady Aggies 10-4, 6-0 county, 2-0 in 5A, A 12
Aggies 7-5, 4-2 county, 1-1 in 5A, A 12
This week: Lady Aggies at DOC Classic at Decatur (Wednesday-Friday)
Aggies at Albertville Christmas Tournament (Wednesday-Friday)
Good Hope High School:
Lady Raiders 5-9, 2-3 county, 2-0 in 4A, A 10
Raiders 6-6, 3-2 county, 1-1 in 4A, A 10
This week: Lady Raiders at Mortimer Jordan Invitational (Wednesday-Friday)
Raiders at West Point Classic (Tuesday-Thursday)
Hanceville High School:
Lady Bulldogs 8-6, 2-2 county, 3-0 in 3A, A 12
Bulldogs 8-4, 1-3 county, 3-0 in 3A, A 12
This week: Lady Bulldogs are idle
Bulldogs are idle
Holly Pond High School:
Lady Broncos 3-11, 1-5 county, 1-2 in 3A, A 11
Broncos 13-2, 5-1 county, 3-0 in 3A, A 11
This week: Lady Broncos are idle
Broncos at King of the Smokies Tournament (Tuesday-Friday)
St. Bernard Prep School:
Lady Saints 2-8, 0-3 in 2A, A 13
Saints 7-3, 2-1 in 2A, A 13
This week: Lady Saints are idle
Saints are idle
Vinemont High School:
Lady Eagles 1-10, 0-5 county, 0-3 in 3A, A 12
Eagles 1-10, 0-5 county, 0-3 in 3A, A 12
This week: Lady Eagles are idle
Eagles are idle
West Point High School:
Lady Warriors 10-4, 4-1 county, 1-1 in 5A, A 12
Warriors 6-7, 4-1 county, 2-0 in 5A, A 12
This week: Lady Warriors at Keith Davis Memorial in Rogersville (Wednesday-Saturday)
Warriors at West Point Classic (Tuesday-Thursday)
Photo of Hanceville vs. Carbon Hill on December 17. Bulldogs won 48-34.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton.
Holiday basketball is ready for its second run of the 2017 prep season.
Tournaments will involve our local teams before and after Christmas.
Three varsity squads will get to enjoy taking to Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College for the Buffalo Wild Wings Christmas Challenge.
Two other schools get together in the St. Bernard Christmas Tournament with it being Cullman County and Blount County to go for the grand prize in both divisions.
Hanceville's Lady Bulldogs begin the week before Christmas participating in the Susan Moore Invitational. Cullman's Lady Bearcats close out the week in the Hoover area, as a three-day visitor of the Spain Park Pre-Christmas Tournament.
In total, five schools covered regularly by Sportspage will hoop it up, holiday style from the 18th through the 23rd.
Then the week Christmas is here, six programs will be playing at tournaments in West Point, Rogersville, Decatur, Morris, Tuscumbia and Grant.
Hoops before and after Christmas are so much different that many years ago.
Playing is more preferred by teams and the coaches than trying to get together in the holiday season and practice. You get more out of facing opponents you don't see often on a regular schedule.
St. Bernard Christmas Tournament
St. Bernard vs. Southeastern 3rd place game (G) 1:00 p.m.
Vinemont vs. Southeastern 3rd place game 2:15 p.m.
Vinemont vs. Cleveland (G) Championship game 3:30 p.m.
St. Bernard vs. J.B. Pennington Championship game 4:45 p.m.
West Point Christmas Classic
Good Hope vs. Brewer 4:00 p.m.
Priceville vs. Corner 5:15 p.m.
West Point vs. Danville 6:30 p.m.
Cold Springs vs. Meek 7:45 p.m.
Consolation bracket game 4:00 p.m.
Consolation bracket game 5:15 p.m.
Semifinal game # 1 6:30 p.m.
Semifinal game # 2 7:45 p.m.
7th place game 4:00 p.m.
5th place game 5:15 p.m.
3rd place game 6:30 p.m.
Championship game 7:45 p.m.
Keith Davis Memorial Girls Tournament at Lauderdale County
Lauderdale Co vs. Phillips 1:30 p.m.
Haleyville vs. Athens 3:00 p.m.
Susan Moore vs. Deshler 4:30 p.m.
West Point vs. Phil Campbell 6:00 p.m.
Priceville vs. Red Bay 7:30 p.m.
Tournament continues December 28, 29, finals are on December 30
Decatur Orthopedic Clinic Girls Classic at Decatur High
Brewer vs. Bob Jones 11:00 a.m.
Homewood vs. Madison Academy 3:30 p.m.
Hartselle vs. James Clemens 5:00 p.m.
Fairview vs. Austin 6:30 p.m.
Tournament continues December 28, finals are on December 29
DAR Girls Christmas Tournament
Cold Springs vs. Scottsboro 10:30 a.m.
Photo of Hanceville PG Brendan Flanigan (2) vs. Holly Pond November 28
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
HANCEVILLE - Victory is a common item for women's basketball at Wallace State Community College.
Since 1990, the Lady Lions have become a superior program in the Alabama Community College in regards of winning seasons, division titles, deep runs into the conference tournament and being difficult to be defeated when they play at the very beautiful Tom Drake Coliseum on campus.
Former Lady Lion point guard Jessica Andrews McBrayer is handling the squad after current coach Ron Burdette took a leave of absence prior to the start of fall practice.
This was nothing new for McBrayer. She ran the show for much of the second half of th3 2016-17 season when Burdette was dealing with health issues.
After an 83-72 victory over Columbia State on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Lions stand 8-3 overall and have won four games on the Coliseum floor since the previous Saturday.
The November schedule had them playing in the state of Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi, plus one stop in Alabama at Wallace Community College Selma.
Wallace State got out of November 4-3, but had a two-game losing streak.
Then finally getting to step on the home court, things have changed.
Wallace is currently averaging 78.2 points a game at the Coliseum, clipping 83 points on consecutive assignments.
The Lady Lions blend experience and hard working freshmen that gives McBrayer a chance to go deep into the bench, regardless of what the situation is.
Win No. 9 featured a different leader in the scoring column, with it being freshman Miajah Bullock from Anniston High School.
Bullock was inserted in the third quarter and took charge, scoring three consecutive treys that served plenty of value for Wallace State to stay ahead with Columbia making a hard charge.
Another newcomer that is well known to the county, has rose to a higher level in back to games with Tennessee opponents. Former Fairview shooter Jada Golden dropped in 14 on Friday night in an 83-66 triumph over Volunteer State, then tossed in 11 on Sunday vs. Columbia.
At halftime, Golden was leading the squad with eight points as the offense was balanced and well performing, leading 42-34 at the break.
Two sophomore that impacted in 22 wins last season are playing strong. Forward Joy Sadler from Birmingham ripped the cords for 24 against Vol State while Birminghan native Sydney Powell has been very steady at the point guard position, starting for the Lady Lions.
In the home opener with Chattahoochee Valley December 2, Powell hit come clutch free throws in the final minute to preserve a 75-73 victory.
Sophomores Karlie Hudson of Camden, Tennessee, Gabby Hill of Birmingham, Marquise Cobbs of Mobile, Alexis Osteen of Dresden, Tennessee, Ahziala Wright of Detroit, Michigan have stepped up in assisting the unit in various ways from both sides of the floor.
Freshmen that have earned quality minutes with Golden and Bullock are Presley Higdon from Pisgah, DeMaurea Moore of Tuscaloosa and Channing Gafford of Lauderdale County.
Gafford has been a part of AHSAA state championships at Lauderdale County and also known to play with the famous Wallen triplets, who are now playing at the University of North Alabama.
Higdon got to participate in the Class 3A title game last March for Pisgah vs. Locust Fork. Their background to success is a plus of going from the AHSAA to the NJCAA.
Chemistry is a bond for this team that has been seen by Sportspage in their four games at the Coliseum this month.
McBrayer, getting help from former Cullman and Wallace State standout Morgan Smith has been a reward with the effort putting the Lady Lions second to arch rival Shelton State in victories (8 to 11), by far much better than Chattahoochee's 5-3 overall mark for the best team from the ACCC South.
"The girls are responsive," McBrayer said after the victory Sunday. "They might not do it perfect, but they do it. They are buying in to what we are wanting them to do.
This was a gut check performance for the Lady Lions with three competitive opponents from Tennessee to face them in a span of five days.
McBrayer was very grateful that Friday's game with Volunteer State remained on schedule, even with school closing before noon due to a winter weather advisory for Cullman County.
The team executed its scoring Sunday, with numerous assists that pleased McBrayer and a hard fought effort on the defensive side in the fourth quarter, keeping Columbia State from having many second chance opportunities.
As the Lady Lions prep for the final week of the regular season before Christmas arrives, they were to be rewarded for the hard work, getting Monday off. They also are fully involved in the classroom with this being the final week for fall exams.
With former Lady Lion coach Larry Slater among those attending the game Sunday, he and others applauded the job by McBrayer and the team as another victory was recorded. Slater coached McBrayer at Wallace and will remain fully close to the team after McBrayer recently signed Slater's granddaughter, Keely Nelson, to a scholarship.
Yours truly invites the passionate basketball fan to come December 17 (A Sunday) and see a very spirited, hard working group that enjoys putting on the orange and blue and continue a great condition that spans 27 years.
Yours truly salutes the Wallace State Lady Lions.
Photo 1: Wallace Lady Lions during the national anthem Sunday afternoon.
Photo 2: Channing Gafford (24), DeMaurea Moore (14), Miajah Bullock (21) and Jada Golden (12) line up for an out of bounds play vs. Columbia State.
Photo 3: WSCC assistant coach Morgan Smith in a pregame drill with the Lady Lions.
Photo 4: Wallace State coach Jessica McBrayer patrols the sideline in Sunday's win.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
Due to a winter weather advisory for Cullman County, extracurricular activities in the county school system for Friday night have been cancelled.
The following basketball games will not be played this evening:
Carbon Hill at Hanceville
Holly Pond at J.B. Pennington (rescheduled for Monday)
Vinemont at Oakman
Good Hope at Dora
Cold Springs at Winston County
Fairview at Curry
West Point at Hayden
Albertville at Cullman (rescheduled for Saturday)
Volunteer State at Wallace State is still scheduled for tonight at Tom Drake Coliseum
Lady Lions play at 5:30, Lions game at 7:30.
AHSAA Super 7 football championships still on at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Photo of Vinemont coach Todd Johnson (in red) and Hanceville coach Daniel Wakefield during game December 5 in Vinemont.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton.
No one has been able to defeat the West Point Lady Warriors. Through 10 games, a perfect record, coming off a 48-28 victory Tuesday at Cold Springs.
Leading 16-11 at halftime, Richie Penn's Lady Warriors extended the lead to 35-19 after the third quarter and held the Lady Eagles in check in the final 8:00 to win by 20 at a difficult venue for a road team to be victorious:
Trying to stay undefeated will be a challenge every time the Lady Warriors step on to the hardwood for upcoming assignments.
Friday, West Point heads to Hayden for 5A, Area 12 play, get Hartselle to visit Jim Boyd Gym on Monday, go to Cullman Tuesday and have an area game at Fairview next Friday.
Parity in county varsity basketball:
Plenty of parity currently in county basketball for the varsity division. After Tuesday night's results, four teams have just one loss in county play. The teams will be seeded for the Cullman County Tournament on January 10.
Each team plays one another once prior to the pairings to determine who is seeded 1st through 7th.
Here is how the front runners stand with county record and county games left to play:
Fairview: 4-1, Vs. Cold Springs Dec. 12
Holly Pond: 3-1, Vs. Vinemont Dec. 12, at Good Hope Dec. 14
Good Hope: 3-1, Vs. Holly Pond Dec. 14, Vs. Hanceville Jan. 9.
West Point: 3-1, Vs. Fairview Dec. 15, Vs, Vinemont Jan. 8
Losing streak will end for one team:
Vinemont Lady Eagles invade the Fazi-Richard Athletic Center Thursday for a regular season game with St. Bernard. The Lady Eagles are 0-6 on the season with the Lady Saints 1-5, losing five straight after a season opening win over Athens Bible.
The Eagles will try and slow down the Saints. St. Bernard has back to back wins over Winston County and Addison, with Vinemont 0-6 on the season.
Tip time is set for 5:30 p.m. with the varsity girls game, then the Eagles and Saints take to the floor.
First place at stake in 3A, Area 12 play:
First place will be up for grabs Friday in 3A, Area 12 basketball between Carbon Hill and Hanceville at Lane Horton Gym.
Carbon Hill's teams are 1-0 in the area while the Hanceville squads have a 2-0 record, by defeating Oakman last Friday and one-sided wins Tuesday night in Vinemont.
Both area games will be carried live on WKUL-FM, with the girls to tip around 6:15 p.m. The Hanceville girls have won 5 of their last 6 games coming in with the Bulldogs on a 2-game winning streak and 4-2 in games played at Lane Horton Gym.
Plenty of road travel for county teams Friday:
Only Hanceville and Cullman will have home assignments on Friday. Everybody else goes outside the county for area games:
Cold Springs at Winston County, Fairview at Hayden, Good Hope at Dora, Holly Pond at J.B. Pennington, Vinemont at Oakman, West Point at Curry. St. Bernard is the only local team that will December 8 off.
The county will have teams playing in Winston County, Blount County (2) and Walker County (3).
Cullman hosts Albertville, while Hanceville entertains Carbon Hill Friday evening.
Photo 1: West Point girls vs. Jasper Nov. 27. West Point won 59-35.
Photo 2: Good Hope vs. Cold Springs Nov. 30. Raiders won 59-35.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
It's never going to be easy when you have selection committees in collegiate athletics to pick and choose a playoff formula.
In conclusion, someone is going to be left out in the cold every time.
Ohio State University is experiencing that moment, with it very painful because Alabama is in the final slot of the four-team college football playoff.
Ohio State's narrow 27-21 win over previously undefeated Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship Saturday was not enough in the formula by the CFP committee to take a one-loss Alabama team, that didn't win a division title or play in the SEC championship, sending them right to the Sugar Bowl to face No. 1 seed and defending national champion Clemson.
Losing hurts. When you get thumped 55-31 as OSU did in November to an Iowa team that was 4-5 in the conference and 7-5 for the season, the Buckeyes can only blame themselves for the beat down.
Alabama felt like that a week before in suffering a 26-14 setback to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, propelling the Tigers to Atlanta for the SEC title and the Crimson Tide to watch the championship on television.
Like I said earlier today on twitter, the selection process is not full proof, it's fool proof.
The college football playoff is a fashion show at best.
What makes it easy is when teams that are expected to win, do so and all the committee has to do on selection Sunday, just write in their name and hand it to the chairman.
But you had this to happen after Thanksgiving weekend. Alabama got dropped to fifth, giving them life support, knowing anything was possible on conference championship weekend.
Had Wisconsin followed the course, this story would not be appearing, because everything would have fell into place by the CFP group.
Wisconsin was questioned all year as a soft, undefeated squad. Only Northwestern was some challenge in the Big Ten West with the Badgers, but a distant challenge.
The drama of the last berth into the playoff is the fact it's Alabama vs. Ohio State, Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer, the SEC vs. the Big Ten.
The SEC is the first to have two qualifiers for the playoff since it began back in 2014 with Georgia the outright champion and Alabama getting enough love from the committee.
Ohio State remembers last year when they got invited as a non-champion of the Big Ten over Penn State, then was torn apart in the playoff game to Clemson 31-0.
We know that Ohio State, plus Southern California, who won the Pac 12, with two losses like the Buckeyes are foaming at the mouth and will for the rest of the college football season.
Let's get this straight. Going to an eight-team playoff is not the total answer, because something will pop up when it's least expected.
The CFP is to put the best four teams on the field for two semifinal games, then a national championship a week later.
There is no doubt the Sugar Bowl where Alabama and Clemson will play January 1st, will be sold out, if not already.
I do wonder how many people will head West to see Oklahoma and Georgia battle in the Rose Bowl. This will be special to the teams, with the Sooners and Bulldogs not normal visitors to Pasadena.
The Rose Bowl is a normal Big Ten vs. Pac 12 encounter. That is a memory for the present time.
The stadium seats 92,000 plus. I figure there will be empty seats, unless fans in the West are very curious to see a playoff game in the late afternoon come alive with it the SEC playing the Big 12.
Remember, one of these teams will move on to the national championship game one week afterwards in Atlanta. Will be interesting to see how much budgeting will come from fans for Oklahoma and Georgia in heading to the Rose Bowl, then to the title game.
My final thoughts is Alabama was given plenty of support for being in the Top two throughout the month when the rankings would be released to the public via ESPN on Tuesday nights.
Ohio State can't escape the fact they were beaten down in a conference road game to a team that compiled a .444 winning percentage in league play.
It doesn't reduce the intense feeling between Saban and Meyer, the two schools and the two conferences.
The status is similar to a prime time soap from the 1980s, Dynasty. You had the Carringtons and the Colbys. Neither gave an inch to the other, with this the very same for Power 5 conference college football.
In case this gets to overbearing for the next several weeks prior to playoff game time, the best advice is to take two Tylenol and call the doctor right away.
Photo of Georgia celebrating the SEC title Saturday, courtesy of USA Today.