There should be plenty of drama in store for Friday’s regular season basketball finales for both Scott High and Oneida.
Both schools will be at home for high-stakes games to close out the regular season. In Oneida, regular season district championships are at stake for both the Indians and the Lady Indians. In Huntsville, the Highlanders will be playing for important tournament seeding.
Oneida will host Harriman for its Senior Night, and both the boys and the girls can wrap up regular season District 3-A championships with wins.
On the girls side, Oneida enters the season’s final game with a district record of 14-1. That places the Lady Indians in a deadlock with Wartburg, which is also 14-1 going into a game against Oakdale on Friday.
While the two teams split their regular season games, with the Lady Indians winning handedly at OHS Gymnasium in December before the Lady Bulldogs won 55-53 at Dallas Reed Davis Gymnasium in January, Oneida owns the tiebreaker due to a preseason number draw.
So while Oneida and Wartburg are both expected to finish with 15-1 district records, the Lady Indians would be the regular season district champion and have the district’s top seed going into next week’s district tournament.
In the boys’ game, Oneida and Harriman will also enter in a deadlock. Both are 14-1 in the district standings, after Harriman defeated Coalfield 76-42 Thursday night. Oneida handed Harriman its only loss in district play in early January, while Sunbright later spoiled the Indians’ perfect district season.
The winner of Friday night’s game will be the regular season district champion outright, and will also have the No. 1 seed going into next week’s tournament. The loser will be the No. 2 seed as the tournament begins.
Regardless of the outcomes of Friday’s games, Oneida’s girls will play a tournament quarterfinal game at home on Wednesday, and the boys will play a tournament quarterfinal game at home on Thursday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. each night. If they win, either team will face the winner of an 8/9 play-in game in the quarterfinals. If they lose, either team will host the district’s No. 7 seeded team.
On the boys’ side, Oneida and Harriman will be playing to avoid Sunbright in the semifinals of the district tournament. The Tigers have been the surprise team in District 3-A this season, and will enter the postseason as the district’s No. 3 seed.
In Huntsville, meanwhile, Scott High can wrap up the No. 3 seed in District 4-AA with a win over Austin-East on Friday.
While it once appeared that the Highlanders might need two wins against the Roadrunners to secure the No. 3 seed without a tiebreaker (the two teams will rematch in Knoxville on Wednesday after their scheduled first meeting was twice postponed due to weather), Kingston upset Austin-East on Thursday night, giving the Highlanders the opportunity to secure the No. 3 seed with just one win over the Roadrunners.
The importance of the No. 3 seed in District 4-AA is avoiding a 4/5 play-in game to start the district tournament. If the Highlanders wind up the No. 4 seed, that play-in game would be against Kingston on Friday, February 21, at Fulton. While Scott High swept Kingston in the regular season, both games were close. That play-in game would be an elimination game. By avoiding the play-in game, the No. 3 seed earns an automatic berth in the Region 2-AA tournament.
In girls action at Highlander Gymnasium on Friday, Scott High and Austin-East will be facing off in a preview of the District 4-AA first round game. The Lady Highlanders and the Roadrunners will play Friday and again on Wednesday, and then will square off on February 21 — just two nights after their second regular season matchup — in the 4/5 play-in game. The winner will face district unbeaten Alcoa, the No. 1 seed, the following evening and will also earn a berth in the Region 2-AA tournament.
Tipoff for both Oneida’s game against Harriman and Scott High’s game against Austin-East will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The Oneida-Harriman game will be broadcast live on WBNT radio, 105.5 FM, with Tim Smith calling the play-by-play.