While subzero temperatures have frost-bitten vast stretches of the state, it’s still heating up on the hardwood.
The girls basketball season is nearing an end, with about three weeks of regular-season play before tournament time commences.
Three Jackson County schools have put themselves in position to make noise in their conference, while others have fallen out of the running.
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Hoosier Hills Conference
Don’t let the overall record of the Seymour girls basketball team fool you. It’s still in contention for the Hoosier Hills Conference crown.
The Owls are 8-8 this season but boast a record of 3-1 in the HHC. The Owls’ lone loss in conference play is to Class 4A No. 8 Bedford North Lawrence.
Bedford North Lawrence (13-3, 4-1 HHC) currently is second in the conference with games against Columbus East and Floyd Central remaining.
Class 4A No. 9 Jeffersonville also is 13-3 and 4-1 in the HHC. Beford beat the Red Devils — perhaps the hottest team currently in the HHC — 43-40 on Nov. 18.
Jeffersonville has won seven straight games. Over the winter break, the Red Devils won three straight games over a two-day span to take the East Central holiday tournament title.
New Albany (8-7, 2-0 HHC) sits atop the standings as the only team without a conference loss.
The Bulldogs, who have lost four straight games, have wins against Bedford (59-57) and Jennings County (80-49).
Madison (6-10) and Jennings County (3-12) are each 1-4 in the HHC, while Floyd Central (7-9), which has won four straight games, is 0-4 in conference play.
Seymour has Columbus East, Jeffersonville and New Albany left in HHC play. The Jan. 12 matchup at Jennings County will be the second meeting between the two teams this season and won’t count toward conference records.
Today, the Owls will host Columbus East (11-3, 1-1) in a key HHC game. The Olympians, boasting one of its best teams in recent years, have just played two conference games — a win against Floyd Central and a loss to Jeffersonville.
Columbus East and Jeffersonville have the highest offensive averages at 59 points per game. Defensively, BNL and Jeffersonville both are holding opponents to 38 points per game.
If the Owls win out in HHC play, they will have a chance at tying for or taking the HHC.
While North Harrison is the favorite to win the Mid-Southern Conference, Salem and Brownstown Central are still in the mix.
The 10-team MSC is led by the 14-1 Class 4A No. 7 Cats, who are 5-0 in the conference.
The Cats have rattled off eight straight wins, and their lone loss is to 4A No. 3 Pike (55-44). On its MSC schedule, the Cats have Austin, Clarksville, Corydon Central and Brownstown remaining.
Class 3A No. 7 Salem (14-4, 4-1 MSC) is second, Brownstown (14-5, 5-2) is third and Eastern (Pekin) and Charlestown both are 3-2 in conference play for fourth.
Corydon (10-7, 4-3), Scottsburg (9-9, 2-4), Silver Creek (6-10, 2-4), Austin (4-11, 1-5) and Clarksville (4-14, 0-6) are at the bottom of the MSC.
Eastern has two MSC games left — Scottsburg and Silver Creek.
Brownstown’s remaining MSC schedule features Charlestown and North Harrison, which is the last game of the regular season.
Should the Braves win out, they need North Harrison to have at least one loss down the stretch for a share of the title.
Brownstown is tied with North Harrison for the best defensive average at 38 points per game, but the Cats have the second highest points per game average at 55.9. Eastern leads the conference in scoring at 56.4 points per game.
SOUTHERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The Southern Athletic Conference is still up in the air.
South Central leads the SAC at 3-0 in the conference and 10-5 overall.
New Washington (9-8, 2-1 SAC) and Henryville (6-10, 2-1) are currently second, and Crothersville is third (9-5, 1-1).
Lanesville (6-12, 1-3 SAC) and Borden (3-10, 0-3) are largely out of contention.
Crothersville has a chance to tie for the title but needs some help, as the Tigers lost to South Central 61-57 on Dec. 7.
Crothersville has Henryville, Lanesville and New Washington left on its schedule. New Washington still has to play South Central and Crothersville.
A share of the SAC for Crothersville could come down to the final game of the regular season when the Tigers host New Washington.
South Central still has Borden and New Washington left on the schedule. Crothersville will need the Rebels to lose one of those games.
The Tigers have the highest offensive average at 57 points per game, while Henryville is giving up the least points per contest at 46 per game.