County teams need wakeup call

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It&8217;s quickly becoming do-or-die time for a number of Shelby County basketball squads.

With the regular season winding down and some teams playing their final area games over the next seven days, a number of squads looking to make runs in the state playoffs have a lot of work left to do.

The biggest of these teams still looking to improve are the Calera Eagle boys and the Thompson Lady Warriors.

The Calera Eagles have lost more games this year than they did all of last year on their way to a 2A state title. The Eagles will argue that most of their losses have come against larger schools on the 5A and 6A levels, but they have yet to find an answer for area rival and 2A top-ranked Altamont.

The Eagles face the Knights this Friday night, and the matchup should provide Calera with a measuring stick on their chances at a state title repeat.

After starting the season 17-1, the Thompson Lady Warriors have struggled as of late.

THS has gone 3-4 in their last seven games, losing to area opponents in Oak Mountain and Hoover in the process.

The Warriors have two chances left to help their area record, which stands at 5-3 right now.

There are some teams, however, that seem to be on the right track as the season winds down.

The Oak Mountain boys team and the Calera Lady Eagles are leaving little doubt that they are top contenders in their respective classes.

The Oak Mountain boys had won a school-record 21 games as of Friday night and advanced their region record to 10-0 on the season. The Alabama Sports Writers Association left the Eagles ranked No. 6 in 6A play for a third straight week last Thursday, but convincing wins throughout this season leave little doubt that Oak Mountain is a top 6A title contender.

The Calera Lady Eagles have had their share of challenges this year, and have answered with sound victories almost every time. One of those wins came Friday night in an area victory over Shade Mountain, which moved Calera&8217;s record to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in class 2A, area 8 play.

Nobody has done more to help the Eagles than Shanavia Dowdell. Averaging a double-double per game, Dowdell has proven that if the Lady Eagles are going to make it back to the 2A state title game, she will be the one to get them there.

There&8217;s still plenty of games left to be played in the prep basketball regular season, but it&8217;s time for a number of county teams to wake up and smell the area and region tournaments that are breathing down their necks