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Mountain 7 contests coming into focus at halfway point

Kevin Mays • Jan 24, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Teams in the Mountain 7 have reached the halfway point in their district basketball race with Gate City’s boys and Abingdon’s girls sitting in their respective driver’s seats.

With three weeks left in the regular season, here’s a look at how the Mountain 7 contests are shaping up.

Gate City (9-4, 6-0) enjoys a two-game lead over Wise Central (11-5, 4-2) and Abingdon (8-6, 4-2) in the district standings.

The Blue Devils will have to lose at least three times to not have the opportunity to host the Mountain 7 tournament semifinals and championship. Two district losses in their final six district games and a no-loss finish by either Central or Abingdon over the next three weeks would mean a co-championship and playoff to determine the district tournament host.

While it seems nearly impossible for Scott Vermillion’s Blue Devils to drop two of their remaining six district games, Vermillion would be the first to say it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

This year’s Mountain 7 is competitive from top to bottom and every game is crucial.

Gate City travels to Union Friday night. A win by Gate City pads its chances of winning the Mountain 7 title. A victory by Union (10-5, 3-3) could make things wide open again in the chase for the district crown.

If the Blue Devils win another Mountain 7 championship, the question comes down to seeding for the district tournament and which teams will advance to the Region 2D tournament.

Abingdon is a Class 3 squad and the Falcons are on track to advance to the Region 3D tournament.

All the other teams in the Mountain 7 are looking for bids to the Region 2D tourney.

If Gate City holds on to win the district’s top seed, four teams — Central, Union, Lee High (10-5, 2-4) and Ridgeview (10-6, 2-4) — will battle down the stretch for the district’s remaining three seeds in the regional tournament.

John Battle (4-12, 0-6) is the dark horse and could gain a regional spot, but the Trojans will need a whole lot of help along the way.

ABINGDON GIRLS CONTROL THEIR DESTINY

Abingdon (15-1, 6-0) hosts Ridgeview (12-3, 5-1) Friday in a battle for first place in the Mountain 7.

The Lady Falcons could pull away from the field with a win over Ridgeview. A win by coach Donnie Frazier’s Wolfpack would put Ridgeview and Abingdon in a dead heat over the second half of district games for the Mountain 7’s top spot.

Gate City (8-6, 4-2) has both Abingdon and Ridgeview at home in the upcoming weeks and is still a major player in the district race with the second half of district games starting Friday.

Union (11-4, 3-3) still has an outside shot at claiming at least a share of the district crown.

With Abingdon advancing to the Region 3D tournament, Ridgeview, Gate City and Union are the favorites to grab three of the four district bids to the Region 2D tournament.

Will defending two-time Class 2 state champion Wise Central (7-9, 2-4) grab one of the four bids to the regional tournament, or will John Battle (5-10, 1-5) or Lee High (4-13, 0-6) make a late-season run and surprise the field with a regional bid?

BASKETBALL TOP SIX

There was not a lot of change in this week’s Boys Top 6 Southwest Virginia prep basketball rankings.

Abingdon’s boys moved into the poll at the No. 4 position.

The Top 6 boys’ and girls’ teams are selected by a panel of voters and are based on a points system of 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Listed are the ranking, school, last week’s ranking, record and total points received this week.

BOYS TOP SIX

1) Gate City (1) 9-4 (114)

2) Wise Central (2) 11-5 (79)

3) Grundy (4) 11-1 (70)

4) Abingdon (NR) 8-6 (46)

5) Union (5) 10-5 (36)

6) Lee High (3) 10-5 (25)

Others receiving votes: Eastside (18), J.I. Burton (5), Graham (4), Ridgeview (1)

GIRLS TOP SIX

1) Abingdon (1) 15-1 (114)

2) Ridgeview (2) 12-3 (91)

3) Gate City (3) 8-6 (62)

4) Patrick Henry (5) 13-2 (43)

5) Union (4) 11-4 (38)

6) Honaker (6) 13-5 (28)

Others receiving votes: Eastside (19), Thomas Walker (4), Lebanon (2).

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