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Cream of the crop: MHS, THS title tilt could be classic

Four other teams will compete in the Chilton County girls basketball tournament next week, but Maplesville and Thorsby seem on a collision course for the championship game.

They are the No. 1 (Maplesville) and No. 2 (Thorsby) seeds. They have accounted for three of the last four titles. And they are an unbeaten squad (Thorsby, at 9-0) and one that could provide the Rebels their stiffest challenge to date.

Game 1: Chilton Co. (No. 4 seed) vs. Jemison (5) – 5:30 p.m. Jan. 11

Game 2: Isabella (3) vs. Verbena (6) – 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12

Game 3: Maplesville (1) vs. Game 1 winner – 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14

Game 4: Thorsby (2) vs. Game 2 winner – 6 p.m. Jan. 15

Championship game: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 5 p.m. Jan. 16

“I would say, from what I’ve seen, I think Maplesville is probably by far the most athletic team I’ve seen,” Thorsby coach Ab Argent said. “By far.”

And the Red Devils (6-3) have the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye to prove it.

If the two teams can win one tournament game each, they will meet in the championship game at 5 p.m. on Jan. 16.

Thorsby’s perfect season would be at stake, but THS senior guard Ashlin Hilyer said that has never been the focus.

“That doesn’t even come up in our conversations,” Hilyer said. “[Argent] has pounded in our heads that we have to take it one game at a time.”

Trying to spoil the expected title tilt will be Chilton County and Jemison, who play Monday, and Isabella and Verbena, who play Tuesday.

For one of those four teams to win the championship, they would have to win three games in five days. That seems like a tall task, but playing in the first round might not necessarily be a disadvantage.

“The bye gives you a chance to be a little fresher,” Argent said. “It can be good or bad. Like us, it will be a week before we play. And the other team will already be used to the court and the environment.”