Before they locked horns for the first time on Jan. 11 at Griffin High, most knew they were near mirror images of one another. What little differences they had were negligible, evening out when you looked at the overall team makeup. Where one had a slight advantage the other had a disadvantage and where one had a slight disadvantage the other had an advantage.
Like watching a pair of twins, it was just too close to call.
So it came as no surprise the Lady Bears topped the Lady Jags on a pair of free throws with :25 left on Jan. 11 at Griffin High — in a game that was tied with :35 left and that Spalding led between the :34.6 and :25.1-second marks — and the Lady Jags returned the favor 57-48 Saturday night at Spalding High in a game that see-sawed back and fourth four times with the home team pulling away at the end.
Just as telling was the boys game where the Jaguars evened the series with a 64-61 win in overtime Saturday, avenging a 53-48 loss back on Jan. 11 against the Bears at The House in a game that also was a roller-coaster ride.
Heck, even with 1:36 left in overtime period on Saturday they were tied 61-all.
That’s a bounce and a roll’s worth of difference.
Or, to say it another way, anyone’s game.
We all know what this is leading to — a showdown for all the marbles against one another at the Region 4-AAAA tournament next month at Woodland-Stockbridge. Even with a week left to play in the regular season it’s obvious both tournaments will be nip-and-tuck affairs.
Poetic justice would be served if both teams fell in the bracket in such a way so they meet again, in a second or third-round match up.
The whole tournament figures to be such an affair. With no one team separating itself from the pack this season, the girls tournament figures to be wide open — anyone’s for the taking. With the exception of Jonesboro (17-4 overall, 11-1 overall) and Eagle’s Landing (16-5, 11-0), the boys tournament isn’t much better.
There are a lot of teams in both tournament hovering around .500 that have split in the regular season. Toward that end, both Griffin and Spalding will be well served by their crosstown battles against one another this season when the heat gets turned up next month.
John Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.