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8:13 PM Sat, Feb. 23rd

Column: This basketball season is special and it’s not over yet

Nate Perea and the Tigers host Wickenburg at 7 p.m. Friday. Academy lost a close one 67-65 when the two teams met Jan. 7 in Wickenburg. (Daily Miner file photo)

Nate Perea and the Tigers host Wickenburg at 7 p.m. Friday. Academy lost a close one 67-65 when the two teams met Jan. 7 in Wickenburg. (Daily Miner file photo)

I’ll be the first one to admit – I never imagined this basketball season playing out the way it has, especially with no clear-cut favorite out of the six local teams.

Every head coach had visions of success at the start, but that didn’t guarantee results on the court.

However, it’s a pleasant surprise to see those dreams come to life right in front of my eyes.

As the regular season winds down, there’s a very good chance five of the local squads could advance to the state tournament.

The ninth-ranked Lady Bulldogs lead the way in their quest to win a 3A West Region crown, while the No. 17 ranked Volunteers also have a shot to capture the 4A Grand Canyon Region championship.

Only time will tell if the two squads are celebrating in a few weeks, but I like their chances.

The Lady Bulldogs have the best shot with an undefeated 5-0 mark in region play, while second-place Northwest Christian sits at 3-2.

That is a comfortable margin and Kingman just needs to take care of business down the stretch.

It’s a little more complicated for the Vols after they dropped a heartbreaking loss to Bradshaw Mountain Tuesday night.

Lee Williams still controls its destiny though.

The Vols need to win every remaining region game, especially their final one – Feb. 5 at Mingus.

If all goes according to plan, the contest could be for the 4A Grand Canyon Region title as Lee Williams is 6-2 and the No. 20 ranked Marauders are 5-2.

So mark your calendars for Feb. 5 – it might be worth the trip.

Meanwhile, both Kingman Academy High School basketball teams are flying under the radar. That is impressive considering it’s the first year in the 3A West Region.

The No. 18 ranked Tigers and 25th-ranked Lady Tigers also have identical records at 7-4 overall and 3-2 in the region.

However, they sit in third place and need to knock off a team higher in the standings in order to guarantee a spot in the state tournament.

The Tigers have the perfect opportunity to do that Friday night when Wickenburg comes to town for a 7 p.m. contest. The seventh-ranked Wranglers have yet to lose a region contest and sit at 6-0.

But there have been a couple of close calls and one of those was a 67-65 win over the Tigers on Jan. 7.

That fact could make for an exciting contest Friday night at Betty Rowe Gymnasium. So make your way to Kingman Academy and grab some popcorn.

The Lady Tigers also play Friday, but they should be able to take care of the 36th-ranked Lady Wranglers who are 2-4 in the region.

But Wickenburg has found success as of late with three straight wins, including a 42-41 victory over Northwest Christian.

So why not get two games for the price of one.

And last, but not least, is the Lady Vols who just tallied their first win in program history over Bradshaw Mountain on Tuesday.

It was a much-needed victory as it keeps Lee Williams in contention with a 4-4 record for fourth place in the 4A Grand Canyon Region.

But the No. 17 ranked Lady Vols are in a very talented region and if they win the games they need to, they can make it to the state tournament based on the final rankings.

There’s no telling how the regular season will end, but if the start is any indication – we’re in store for a thrilling finish.