With the S.C. High School League basketball tournaments beginning Monday, several Midlands teams have high hopes.
Much of the brackets for the boys and girls remained incomplete on Saturday as inclement weather postponed several games with seeding implications on Friday. But the partial schedule already released indicates at least 10 local teams will have home court advantage in first round games.
"We're trying not to look ahead but we are excited about the possibilities, too," said Spring Valley coach Anne Long, whose team is expected to host Nation Ford in the first round of the Class 4A girls tournament Tuesday.
The defending champion Vikings (21-2) avoided overconfidence this season. Mentally, Long said, Vikings will have to find a higher gear to keep up their success in the playoffs, and home court in at least the first two rounds will help.
Never miss a local story.
"Last year, once we got to the playoffs and were able to go further and further, we got a lot more support and bigger crowds out so that will be exciting if we get that again," Long said.
The road to home court was not so smooth for another defending champ. Lower Richland's girls beat Chester on Thursday to earn the top seed in Region 4-3A.
"To go from third to first in less than a two-week period, it's a great feeling," Lower Richland coach Debbie Stroman said. "They were really enthusiastic about getting that win. They wanted to be first, so they could be home. Right now the only advantage we have is probably the home court."
Lower Richland (14-6, 8-2) is slated to play the No. 4 seed from Region 3, which is to be determined by a game that was postponed until Monday.
"Not knowing who you're going to play is kind of hard. You don't know who to scout or who to prepare for. We're just going to go for what we know," Stroman said.
The Lower Richland boys are also a No. 1 seed, and will host Clinton on Tuesday.
Also in 3A, Dreher earned a pair of No. 1 seeds, with the girls hosting Darlington and the boys hosting Wilson.
In Class 2A, Keenan and Eau Claire boys each have home games after duking it out for the first- and second-place in Region 4 last week. Their opponents have yet to be determined.
The undefeated Eau Claire girls team could have home court through the third round, as the No. 1-seeded Shamrocks try to improve on last year's third round exit.
The Class 4A brackets are not complete. Lexington's boys and Irmo's boys and girls teams also are expected to play at home in the first round.