The Forbush-Starmount basketball rivalry will take center stage in Yadkin County this weekend.
The high school hoops teams will square off today (Thursday) in East Bend. Middle school teams are set to play each other Saturday in Boonville.
The high school games, moved from Tuesday night because of the weekend snow storm, will begin with the junior varsity girls clash at 3:30 p.m. The JV boys will follow, then the varsity girls and varsity boys as the nightcap.
Both varsity games prove important for more reasons than just county bragging rights. Starmount and Forbush boys and girls teams are all jockeying for the limited number of state playoff berths given to the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference.
The MVAC is guaranteed three state playoff spots for its 2A schools. The Forbush boys currently sit in third place among the 2A teams with an 8-4 league record, trailing Ashe County (10-2) and Wilkes Central (10-3). Starmount, though, is nipping at the Falcons’ heels, sporting a 7-5 mark.
Forbush won the first varsity boys meeting in Boonville 65-59 on Jan. 7. The Rams have picked up steam since then, winning five of six conference games. Forbush is 4-2 since beating Starmount.
“This is big for every reason,” Falcon coach Jon Huggins said. “There is just not a whole lot of margin for error.”
Forbush, which hasn’t played a home game since a Jan. 8 win over Alleghany, will welcome the chance to play in friendly confines. Huggins’ team lost a couple of nailbiters at Ashe County and North Wilkes late last month, then rebounded by winning at Elkin and West Wilkes.
The Falcons have played just two home contests since mid-December.
“We are so close to being 10-2,” Huggins said. “It will be interesting to see how all the weather and delays affect everyone, to see what everyone’s mindset is.”
The second-year Forbush head coach said he didn’t mind the mini-break the recent snowstorm gave his team. He believes his group will be fresher for the stretch run of the regular season and the conference tournament where every game could be do-or-die.
“It’s a good thing mentally to step away a little bit,” Huggins said.
Forbush didn’t practice Tuesday but Huggins said his guys played plenty of pick-up basketball together Monday and Tuesday.
“It’s going to be exciting to see how everything finishes out,” he said.
The Falcons must turn right around and play Elkin on Friday night. The regular season draws to a close next week with a road trip to Alleghany on Tuesday and the home finale against Wilkes Central on Friday.
Starmount is set to host Alleghany on Friday, then will play East Wilkes at home Tuesday and visit North Wilkes on Friday. The Rams have beaten every team in the conference thus far except for Forbush and Wilkes Central.
“Forbush, they are a really good team,” Rams coach Jeffrey Hague said last week. “We’re just going to take them one game at a time. I’m just hoping we can keep doing what we’re doing.”
Starmount and Forbush are within a game of each other in the varsity girls MVAC standings as well. The Rams hold a 6-6 league record, trailing Ashe County (12-0) and Wilkes Central (9-4) among the 2A schools. Forbush sits at 5-7.
Starmount won the first varsity girls meeting 55-40. The rematch has been dubbed the “Pink Game.” Proceeds will be donated to a cancer fighting/awareness charities in honor of 2009 Starmount graduate Meme Brown.
This is the first year for Starmount and Forbush middle schools, but the sports rivalry is already rich. The middle school basketball teams played in front of capacity crowds a couple of weekends ago at the shiny new FMS arena.
Both schools have seventh and eighth-grade teams, so their Saturday rematch will be a quadruple-header. The seventh-grade girls will tip off at 3 p.m., with the seventh-grade boys to follow, then the eighth-grade girls and eighth-grade boys.
Starmount won the two girls games the first time the teams met, while Forbush took both boys contests.