The 2011-12 boys basketball season hits the home stretch with a number of region championships and/or state playoff berths on the line in the final week.
The High School League playoffs begin on Monday, Feb. 13.
Here is a look at the Midlands scene:
Region 4-4A – Irmo and Richland Northeast enter the final week with one conference loss apiece. RNE (9-1) has two games in the final week, Irmo (10-1) has one. Ridge View (6-4) had locked up a playoff sport. Spring Valley (5-5) needs one win to secure a postseason berth. Blythewood (3-7) or Dutch Fork (3-7) will earn the fifth and final spot. Lugoff-Elgin is out of the running.
Region 5-4A – Lexington (8-0) had a two-game lead over Orangeburg-Wilkinson, and can clinch the championship with a win over the Bruins in Orangeburg on Tuesday. White Knoll (2-6) is still in the hint for a playoff spot, but needs some help to catch or pass North Augusta (3-5) or Aiken (4-4).
Region 5-3A – Lower Richland (9-1) has a one-game lead over streaking A.C. Flora (8-2) with two games to go. The Diamond Hornets play at Midland Valley on Tuesday and close it out at home against Airport on Thursday, while the Falcons, who have won six in a row to storm into title contention, travel to Dreher on Tuesday and to last-place Brookland-Cayce. Dreher (6-4), Airport (5-5) and Midland Valley (5-5) are in the running for the last two available spots.
Region 3-2A – Keenan (8-0) can officially clinch its fifth straight region championship with one more win this week. The Raiders play at Batesburg-Leesville on Tuesday and at home Thursday against Columbia. Keenan is riding a 17-game region winning streak. Eau Claire (6-2) and B-L (4-4) are also assured on state qualifying. EC is set as the region’s No. 2 seed, not matter the outcome of this week’s games. Columbia enters the final week tied for fourth place and the final state invitation with Strom Thurmond. The Capitals have the tougher schedule in the final week with a home game against Eau Claire on Tuesday and a road trip to Keenan in the finale.
Region 5-2A – Swansea has won four in a row to pull even with Edisto in second place behind Silver Bluff. The red-hot Tigers and the Cougars will break the deadlock and rate the No. 2 seed in Tuesday’s showdown at Swansea. Pelion’s season ends on Tuesday against Wade Hampton.
SCISA Region 1-3A – Heathwood Hall’s 45-33 win over Cardinal Newman on Friday created a tie atop the region standings. The Highlanders and Cardinal shared conference honors a year ago. Heatwood’s final region outing is Friday at Ben Lippen, while CN closes it out on Thursday at Hammond. Both teams stand at 6-1 in region matters entering the final week.