Friday night will have major playoff implications as by the end of the night, teams will know who they’re up against in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference tournament.
Some teams already have sealed their fate but if they want to make it into the state playoffs, they’ll have to win the conference tournament. It’s never too late to get on a hot streak, and for the Elkin boys and Starmount girls, they’ll need something just like that come tournament time.
The Elkin girls clinched the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference championship Tuesday night with a win against East Wilkes. They’ll host Wilkes Central Friday night. Regardless of their result, they will host either Alleghany, West Wilkes, or Starmount in the first round of the conference tournament. The boys already know they’ll play Starmount in the first round of the tournament, but maybe with Tuesday night’s win against East Wilkes, the team gained some momentum that they could carry with them into it.
Starmount had its games moved to Thursday night against Alleghany. Those results were not available at press time. The boys team (13-9, 11-2 MVAC) already knows its journey to a tournament championship goes through Boonville. The team completed the three-peat as regular season champions Tuesday night with a win against North Wilkes. The girls team (3-19, 2-11 MVAC), regardless of Thursday night’s results, have to be proud of just what they’ve been able to accomplish this season. But like any team, they have the desire to win and have competed against some of the best in the conference. Alleghany, Starmount, and West Wilkes all entered their final conference games tied for last with a 2-11 record. Starmount could finish as high as the sixth seed, which likely would put it against East Wilkes or Wilkes Central. Those two teams are arguably their best chance for the upset in the first round.
East Wilkes girls could be the second, third, or fourth seed after Friday night. After North Wilkes dropped both games to Elkin, it created an interesting playoff scenario should East Wilkes win. One possible tie-breaking scenario comes in the head-to-head against the next team up in the standings. East Wilkes has the advantage over North Wilkes in head-to-head against the next team in the standings (Elkin). Another is point differential against the two teams. North Wilkes got the best of the Cardinals by 18 earlier in the season. Lastly, another tiebreaker could be overall record, which North Wilkes will have regardless of Friday’s results. Of course, this is only applicable if the Cardinals pull out a big road win. If they don’t, they could drop down to as low as the fourth seed if Wilkes Central defeats Elkin Friday night.
As for the boys team, it is seventh in the conference standings, but could finish as high as fifth, but it’d need help. If boys are able to win, they’d still need a pair of losses from West Wilkes and Wilkes Central. This means their possible opponents come playoff time are North Wilkes, Ashe County, and Alleghany.
When brackets are released, they will be posted online at elkintribune.com as soon as possible, and a preview for the tournament will be in Monday’s Tribune.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.