The turn of the calendar year brings the halfway point of the high school basketball season upon us. While many teams are just getting to, or just short of, the 11-game mark of their 22-game schedule, it's just a mere month before the high school basketball tournaments begins.
That being said, let's take a look at some of the storylines that have developed this season and what we can expect for the next two months leading up to tournament time:
UNDEFEATED SEASON?: Currently, the only undefeated team is the Lakeview girls, which are ranked No. 11 in the state in Division II and paced by scoring-machine Alli Pavlik.
If the Bulldogs eventually run the table, they would be the first girls team in Trumbull County to complete a 22-0 regular season. Last year, the Bristol boys were the first in either gender to go unbeaten in the regular season when the schedule was increased to 22 games.
However, the road is not easy for Lakeview as two games pop out on the schedule that will give the Bulldogs fits.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, Lakeview travels up state Route 11 to take on Pymatuning Valley. Currently, the Lakers are ranked third in Division III and are also undefeated.
Whether or not the two teams are unbeaten when they meet, the game will be a classic. Three players on the PV roster average 15 points per game and overall the Lakers are holding teams to 31. Lakeview is led by Pavlik's 27.4 points per game and are only allowing 38.2 points.
If the Bulldogs were to get past the Lakers, nine days later they will face the Austintown Fitch Falcons, paced by Megan Sefcik, who averages 18 points per game. Fitch is one of the best teams in the area, and will without a doubt be a great end-of-the-year test for the Bulldogs.
WHO WILL WIN IN HOWLAND?: Many years, this Division III district is one of the more competitive in the area. This year will be no different.
LaBrae is the defending district champion, led by Davidson-commit Peyton Aldridge. However, it will not be a walk in the park for the Vikings to repeat as champs.
First, there is the Ursuline Fighting Irish, who just won a huge contest Friday night against archrival Cardinal Mooney. The Irish are sitting at 7-3, but boast a talented team that will want some revenge come tournament time.
Then there is 8-2 Girard, which has a plethora of weapons at its disposal. And no one can forget Brookfield and Liberty, which are both capable of pulling off a big game on any given night.
Seeding and matchups will play a huge factor in this division, so it will be interesting to see what transpires on Feb. 9, which is the day the brackets will be set.
BETTER ROAD IN DIVISION IV: Every year, the sad prize for the winner of the Warren (now Grand Valley) or Struthers district, is that eventually they had to cross paths with Villa Angela-St. Joseph, which is the defending Division IV state champion.
This year, the Vikings have moved up to Division III. Though that is not good for the Howland district winner, it makes the road to Columbus much easier for the winners of the Struthers and Grand Valley districts this season.
Will a Division IV make it to Value City Arena in March? Only time will tell.