Gazing in to the local hoops future

Unless you catch a coach at an inopportune time, or they just lost the final game of the season, you will never get a coach in any sport to talk about next year. Heck, it’s hard enough getting them to talk about next week. It’s always the next game, next opponent. Nothing else matters.

However, we here at the Tribune Chronicle enjoy looking ahead at what is going to come in the weeks, months and years ahead.

And though we do not have a crystal ball telling us who is or isn’t going to win a particular game, it does allow us to have fun in looking at the possibilities ahead:

WEEKS: Specifically next week – that’s if Mother Nature allows high school sports to exist.

If Polar Vortex Part II doesn’t completely shut down the Mahoning Valley next week, it could go down as one of the more entertaining weeks of the high school basketball season.

On Tuesday (the day the high temperature is supposed to reach a whopping 0), LaBrae faces Poland in a battle of Mahoning Valley powers. Poland has lost just one game so far this season, while the Vikings have only suffered three defeats. These are two teams that (at least in the past few seasons) have been threats in the postseason, so Tuesday’s game will sure be a great contest.

LaBrae’s schedule doesn’t get any easier. On Friday, it welcomes Campbell in a game that will have huge implications in the All-American Conference, National Division.

On the girls’ side, Lakeview takes its perfect mark on the road twice this week, facing Howland on Monday, then unbeaten Pymatuning Valley on Saturday.

MONTHS: While it’s already been written that the Division III boys tournament in Howland is going to be one of the better ones in the area, it can’t be forgotten that the Division IV Grand Valley district will be the most competitive it has been in years.

The early favorite to win has to be the Windham Bombers, who are the defending district champion and are playing their best ball of the year right now, picking up two huge wins this week against Bristol and Maplewood. All three of these teams will be some of the top seeds in the Grand Valley district.

However, it just won’t be those three trying to knock each other out – they also have to watch out for John F. Kennedy.

Led by Zachary Usher’s 19.7 per game, the Eagles will probably yet again fly under the radar at the tournament draw. After Saturday’s overtime loss against Girard, Kennedy is 2-9. However, the Eagles should not be forgotten and will give whoever they play in the tournament a run for their money.

YEARS: While there are way too many names to drop for the little space left, it’s safe to say that basketball in the area – both on the boys and girls side – will be fun to watch over the next few years.

To get an idea of how the young bucks are holding their own against the upperclassmen, check out page 3C of today’s paper and look how many freshmen and sophomores are listed in the area leaders.