The high school basketball playoffs began Monday night with two games, but the list of likely suspects is missing one of its top teams.
Great Falls, the defending state Class A boys’ champion and preseason No. 1 team, lost out on a tiebreaker. The Red Devils tied for third in their region and beat all three top teams. But Great Falls tied with McBee and C.A. Johnson.
McBee beat Great Falls twice, and C.A. Johnson got the fourth spot on points allowed.
“It happens,” said Great Falls coach John Smith, who lost his lone returning starter for most of the season with a wrist injury. “But we can’t feel too bad and will start getting ready for next season.
“We’ve won 19 region titles in the last 22 years and we’ve played in 15 state champion games. And the last time we missed the playoffs was in 1990, when only two teams from a region could go.”
Smith won his 900th game this season. When asked if he is ready to step down after 47 years, he said, “I’ll have to talk to the AD about that,” Smith said. He is the athletics director, and said he will return.
Tuesday is mostly girls’ night and is highlighted by Region 3-AAAA’s undefeated champ Northwestern hosting South Pointe. Other region teams that advanced are Rock Hill, Lancaster and Clover, which moved its game to 6 p.m. Most games will be at 7 p.m.
Area boys’ teams playing on Wednesday will be No. 1. South Pointe, No. 2 Rock Hill, No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Clover and No. 5 Nation Ford, which will travel to South Pointe.
Emerald will play at Chester’s boys on Tuesday and Lewisville will host Ridge Spring-Monetta. Indian Land’s boys host North Central on Wednesday.
Barry Byers • 329-4099