The Region 3-2A basketball campaign begins Friday with three varsity doubleheaders.
The two most intriguing match-ups will be at Columbia High when Fairfield Central comes calling for its official Class 2A debut. The girls game features the top-ranked Griffins (9-3) against perennial region title contender Columbia, which is off to a sluggish start with an inexperience team. FC features junior Jada Martin (16.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 5.7 spg, 2.2 apg) and freshman Chyna Moore (10.1 ppg). The Capitals rely heavily on returning veteran Alexis Foulks. In the nightcap, the eighth-ranked Capitals take on the No. 9 Griffins. Gerald Snooks (14.2 ppg) and Marcus Praylow (6.8 rpg) are Columbia leaders.
Elsewhere, Keenan travels to North Central and Eau Claire hosts Pelion.
Keenans boys (8-5) are battle tested as they start their quest for another region championship. The Raiders are coming off a series of demanding games after opening the season at 5-0. Marcus Stroman (19.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 6.3 apg, 2.9 spg), Eric Hopkins (14.7 ppg) and Charles Smith (10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) are the Raider standouts.
Eau Claires boys and girls had tough December showings, but hope to be playoff contenders in conference play. The youthful Shamrocks boys (2-10) have some promising players in eighth-grader Tariq Simmons (15.7 ppg) and freshman LaMondre Corley (9.9 ppg). Senior Shabreccia Jones (14.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 7.4 apg, 4.6 spg) and Deidra Davis-Johnson (13.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 spg) are the top hands on the 3-8 EC girls squad.
Pelions girls (7-4) have stumbled a bit since getting off to a 5-0 start, but the Panthers are still ranked 10th in the most recent 2A poll. Senior Jessica Williamson (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.3 spg) and junior Ashley King (11.3, 4.3 spg) pace the Panthers.