Got the NAC? Apparently some area basketball teams definitely have it early this season.
Maplewood and Lordstown's girls basketball teams have amassed 5-0 records heading into tonight's non-conference games.
The Rockets host Brookfield (3-0), while Grand Valley (0-5) travels to play the Red Devils.
Maplewood is led by Brooke Dawson, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds in Monday's victory over Pymatuning Valley. However, Allison Bell and others have been keeping the Rockets above their first five opponents.
As for Lordstown, Sarah Cash has scored more than 20 points in four of the first five games - aside from 17 against Columbiana. Question is how far can this sophomore shoulder the Red Devils. Against Maplewood, some other teams and in the postseason, Lordstown needs more than Cash to have significant scoring.
That said, the Jan. 5 game with Lordstown traveling to Maplewood should be quite significant - even though it's a non-conference contest.
However don't discount Southington, which recently handed Ledgemont its first loss. The Wildcats have a balanced attack with Abby Pate, Rebecca Wolke and Shelby Cameron.
Liberty's Vakeyla Merriweather also has the NAC, but in the All-American Conference. She scored 38 in Monday's victory over Ashtabula Edgewood. Merriweather had 35 in the Leopards other victory - Liberty's opener against Niles.
Staying in the AAC, Mackenzie Kiser and Lindsay Swipas - two members of Champion's defending Division III state championship softball team - have the Golden Flashes girls basketball team going in the right direction. Champion is 2-1 and rebounded from last Thursday's loss against Canfield with Monday's victory over Bristol.
Howland (4-0) remains undefeated after Wednesday's victory at Cardinal Mooney and Warren G. Harding (1-3) won its first game Wednesday over East. Harding found some relief Wednesday after starting with a brutal slate against Lorain, Shaker Heights and Howland.
Also, Ursuline is off to a 3-1 start after Monday's victory over Kennedy Christian. The Irish, who advanced to a Division III regional title game last season before bowing out to Elyria Catholic, is off to a good start this season.
Some of the girls teams have the NAC, or just the knack in some cases, but what about the boys?
LaBrae improved to 4-0 after victories over Berkshire and Poland, leaving the Vikings as arguably the best team in the area that's not wearing a Warren G. Harding uniform.
However, Newton Falls might have to argue that point. The Tigers are 3-0 heading into Friday's game at Girard, where coach Roy Sembach can be the all-time winningest coach in school history with a Newton Falls victory.
Speaking of WGH, the Raiders had an impressive win against an always tough Canton McKinley squad Tuesday. However, after the game, coach Steve Arnold said his 2-0 team has plenty to improve upon heading into Friday's LEL game against Shaker Heights.
Remember, the Raiders were touted as one of Ohio's best teams in Division I. There are 18 more games for WGH to improve before the all important postseason.
Keeping with the WGH topic, former assistant and Champion coach Dan Bubon got his first victory Tuesday as Liberty's new mentor. The Leopards got a four-point win over Austintown Fitch.
Another former WGH assistant and Badger coach Bill Bogan kept his Howland Tigers on the winning track with last Friday's decisive victory against a rebuilding Campbell Memorial squad. The Tigers have been quite impressive through its first two games against Campbell and Liberty - scoring a combined 174 points.
Coach Bogan and his team are reminiscent of the fast-paced NAC teams, scorching the scoreboard with reckless abandon.
However, Howland is applying the style of former Girard and current Mentor coach Bob Krizancic - turning pressure defense into quick points. It's a style that has worked for the Tigers.
Also in the NAC, there are a couple of 3-1 teams with Pymatuning Valley and Mathews. Both have recent losses to Brookfield.
The two meet Jan. 6 in a NAC Stars Division battle. Inside Mathews High School gym, the Lakers and Mustangs will find out who's got the NAC, just for that game, though.
As for Maplewood, Girard put the clamps on Matt Spitler, who had the best start of anybody in the area. He scored 40 against Bristol in the Rockets' opener and 30 in a loss against Mathews on Friday. Tuesday, the Indians held Spitler to 14 points. Tanner Spencer paced Maplewood with 15.
Not to be forgotten is the Brookfield Warriors, who are off to a 4-0 start - beating a feisty John F. Kennedy team in overtime, a quick, guard-oriented PV squad in a close game, physically wearing down a decent Mathews team and handing a good Springfield group a setback in both team's openers.
Even though the Warriors are coming off arguably the team's best performance of the season with Brookfield dominating by 17 at the break and Jeremy Quinlan going 6 of 7 from 3-point range Tuesday at Mathews, coach Chris Fahndrich isn't overlooking anyone - even Friday's opponent, Conneaut.
"That's a good start, but it's a long season," Fahndrich said. "We have a veteran group that understands that."