By DYLAN MALONE
Tonight marks another meeting between county rivals AC and Bellmont on the hardwood. This year’s Braves/Jets meeting will be held at the Hangar in Monroe and in recent history that bodes well for the Jets.
The home team has won the last three meetings between these schools. Last year at Bellmont, the Braves defended their home field with a stunning 70-63 win against the heavily-favored Jets.
Despite the loss, AC would go on to win eight of their next 11 games, including handing Bluffton an early exit from the ACAC tournament.
AC would get their revenge with a win in 2009 at the Hangar after a 71-38 slaughtering at the hands of Bellmont in 2008 adding more humiliation to the Jets' winless season (they finished 0-20 in coach McClure's first season back after the Luke Cummings era). The Jets won 47-35 against a feisty Bellmont team, 47-35.
Bellmont would not fare as well after their win against the Jets in 2010 as they went on to lose their next 14 games and finish out a disappointing overall season at 4-17 with a loss to Peru who would then lose to the eventual sectional champion Norwell Knights.
The Norwell Knights bring back all five of their starters this season from a team who went 17-7 with a sectional championship under their belt. This season they opened their campaign with a meeting with against the new and improved AC Jets team who also brought back many keys including seniors Maverick Baumer, Keaton Fiechter, Ben Snider, Kyle Fawcett, and junior Dalton Combs.
Getting away from the numbers, AC is the clear favorite, but speaking with both sides, the boys from both squads seem ready for a dog-fight. Bellmont beat AC soundly in the girls' version of the county rivalry just before Christmas and in attendance at the game were both boys teams as if scouting for school spirit.
The Hangar will be packed tonight so come early as the JV game will start at 6 p.m.
PREDICTION: Look for the Jets to continue on their historic season with a win against coach Baker's Braves, but not without a fight. Final score 74-66 AC.
ERIC MANN's prediction: 80-65 AC.