04/14/2024
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By Sonny Jones

Santa Claus apparently has made an early visit to Bladen County high school basketball gyms. What else could the varsity teams at West Bladen and East Bladen ask for or need? The two boys teams and two girls teams have been very, very good and definitely on Santa’s nice list.

West Bladen’s wins Tuesday at The Castle against South Columbus gives the four varsity teams a combined 30-2 record with two games remaining prior to Jolly St. Nick coming to town. The West Bladen boys and girls teams are scheduled to play at North Brunswick on Wednesday night. Both Knights teams beat the Scorpions at The Castle on Dec. 6.

For the record, here are the overall records:
West Bladen boys: 8-0
East Bladen girls: 8-0
East Bladen boys: 7-1
West Bladen girls: 7-1
Each team is 1-0 in Southeastern Athletic Conference play.

As you are aware, Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good. Bladen basketball teams have been good for goodness sake! There’s been no crying nor pouting thus far.

Hopefully, the Grinch stays away in 2023. You know he’s a mean one who’s cuddly as a cactus, charming as an eel and we don’t need him hanging around Bladen County gyms.

Boys Basketball: West Bladen 51, South Columbus 44

Girls Basketball: West Bladen 60, South Columbus 24

BOWLS, BOWLS, BOWLS

The drive to watch every bowl game continues. Streaming is my friend.
Games played: 13. Games watched live: 4. Games streamed: 3.

• FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Eastern Michigan 41, San Jose State 27
(Played Tuesday, Dec. 20, watched Tuesday, Dec. 20)

You knew the Couch Potato had to watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl live, didn’t you? Entertaining game between a pair of Group of Five teams. San Jose State scored twice in the first nine minutes before Eastern Michigan reeled off 33 straight points. Eastern Michigan is a member of the Mid-American Conference, which plays its league games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so they can be aired on the ESPN networks. The MAC is a fun league to follow.

• LAS VEGAS BOWL: Oregon State 30, Florida 3
(Played Saturday, Dec. 17, watched Tuesday, Dec. 20)
By far and away the most lopsided game watched thus far and has a great chance to be the worst game of bowl season. Adam Mihalke’s 40-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining kept the Gators from being shut out for the first time in 436 games. How did 14th-ranked Oregon State, aiming for only the third 10-win season in school history, get matched against a .500 Florida team? It’s been said that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. After this game, the Florida Gators hope that’s true.

• L.A. BOWL: Fresno State 29, Washington State 6
(Played Saturday, Dec. 17, watched Tuesday, Dec. 20)

Typical Group of Five team (Fresno State) fired up to play a Power Five team (Washington State). Dominant performance by Fresno State, with Jordan Mims running for 202 yards and two touchdowns, against a Cougars team that was missing a few players due to opt outs and tranfer portal, but don’t think it would have made a difference. The better team won. Fresno State became the first FBS team to start the season 1-4 and finish with 10 wins.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

• 1891 — Dr. James Naismith introduces the first game of basketball. Based on 13 rules created by Naismith, the game is tested by 18 students at the School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts. Using a soccer ball, two peach baskets and two teams of nine players each, the objective is to throw a round ball into a round basket attached to a balcony 10 feet above the floor.

POTATO PICKS TO WATCH TODAY

• TENNIS: Falcons vs. Eagles, 9 a.m., TENNIS

• FOOTBALL: Signing Day Special, 2 p.m., ESPN2

• FOOTBALL: Signing Day Special, 3 p.m., ACCN

• BASKETBALL: Michigan vs. North Carolina, 7 p.m., ESPN

• NHL: New Jersey at Florida, 7 p.m., TNT

• NBA: Golden State at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m., NBATV

• NEW ORLEANS BOWL: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama, 9 p.m., ESPN

• NHL: Edmonton at Dallas, 9:30 p.m., TNT

• NBA: Charlotte at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m., NBATV

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.

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