Published: Feb 12, 2010 11:48 PM
Modified: Feb 14, 2010 03:04 PM
The Tri-Nine Conference tournament officially begins on Monday, when the eighth and ninth seeds face off.
Much like the pre-expansion ACC, the two teams will be in a "play-in" game that decides who will face the No. 1 seed on Tuesday when first-round action begins. The first round games all take place at the team with the higher seed with most start times at 7:30 p.m.
In cases where both the girls and boys have home games, the girls' game will start at 6 p.m. while the boys will follow at around 7:30 p.m.
The four semifinal games will be played at Panther Creek High School on Wednesday with the first tip starting at 4 p.m. and the following games set for 5:30, 7 and 8:30 p.m.
The championship games, also to be played at Panther Creek, are set for 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday.Boys' basketball tournament:
If this year's Tri-Nine Conference boys basketball tournament is anything like the regular season, anything can happen.
There have been upsets. There have been tight games. There have been surprise runs from teams at the bottom of the standings and freefalls from those at the top.
It'll be hard for any team to top Apex, who lost just once in Tri-Nine play, by one point. The Cougars don't appear to have a chink in the armor when it comes to its league.
A first-round home game for Apex will be a tough task for either Green Hope or Holly Springs. No Tri-Nine team knocked off Apex at home this year, and the Cougars have gone 18-3 in their own gym over the last two years.
"We won them all here in the league and I'm proud of them for doing that," Apex coach David Neal said.
Apex will play the winner between Cary and Athens Drive. The two teams split the season series.
Cary is on the bubble as far as state playoffs go. If a team seeded lower than fifth wins the conference tournament, that team will assume the conference's 2-seed in the state playoffs. The 2-5 seeds would be pushed back a spot and Cary would be without a playoff berth.
Panther Creek and Lee County will meet in a rematch of last year's tournament final.
Panther Creek (10-6 Tri-Nine) lost on Tuesday to Lee. After starting the conference schedule 0-9, Lee finished 6-10 in the league. Middle Creek finished runner-up in the Tri-Nine with a 12-4 league record and will play Holly Springs on Tuesday. The teams split their season series as well.Girls basketball tournament:
The girls' regular season has been less eventful. For the most part, teams have stayed in their same position after the first go-round of the conference schedule.
Athens Drive's only two conference losses came to undefeated Green Hope. Of Green Hope's 16 Tri-Nine wins, only three have come within single digits.
The two appear destined to meet again in the championship contest. Each of their games were decided in the final seconds - once on free throws, the other on a 3-pointer to go up one.
The Falcons will host the winner of Monday's play-in game between Lee County and Cary.
Defending champ Apex, after a rough stretch that included six straight losses, closed out the Tri-Nine by going 10-6 and earning a 4-seed. They play Holly Springs first. The Golden Hawks finished with a 7-9 Tri-Nine record.
The winner will likely play Green Hope on Wednesday.
Middle Creek will play host to Panther Creek on Tuesday. The victory will move on to play the winner of the Athens Drive versus Fuquay-Varina game.