Road to regionals open for area boys basketball teams

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Published: Monday, February 3, 2014 at 20:36 PM.

PANAMA CITY — Saturday night was one makeup game Rutherford boys basketball coach Rhondie Ross was sure he didn’t want his team to miss.

It wasn’t because Niceville was expected to be a major challenge, and it wasn’t in a 70-32 Rams’ romp. More to the point, Ross didn’t want Rutherford entering the start of the District 1-5A tournament at Bay coming from a 10-day layoff.

Rutherford, 21-2, is the top seed and will be idle until Friday’s semifinals. The Rams will await the winner of tonight’s Mosley-Gulf Breeze game at 5:30 p.m. The other matchup tonight pits Arnold and Choctawhatchee at 7 p.m. That survivor faces host Bay in the other semifinal on Friday night.

Like all teams in the Panhandle, Rutherford was held hostage by last week’s cold blast that closed many schools for two days at midweek. In retrospect, Ross said last week that might not have been a detriment.

“We played Tuesday night, then didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday and will practice on Friday,” he said prior to the Niceville game, rescheduled from Thursday to Saturday.

“It may not be a bad thing. They (had) two days off to rest their legs, then we’ll have four days of preparation. Otherwise you lose a lot of your sharpness, even conditioning.”

Host Bay earned the No. 2 seed and is 17-6. Those six losses are spread equally against Rutherford, Marianna and Leon, three outstanding teams that have combined for just nine losses this season.

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