Lampasas’ roller coaster ride to end the regular season will conclude with a descent.
The Lady Badgers have seen plenty of ups and downs over the last month, alternating disappointing defeats with exhilarating wins, and their spot in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A poll buoyed with each outcome.
On the heels of Friday’s 66-44 loss at Burnet, however, Lampasas slid out of the state rankings with the playoffs lurking on the horizon.
Ranked No. 23 last week, the Lady Badgers (27-6, 6-3 District 27-4A) were removed from the poll for the second time in three weeks, and they enter tonight’s finale against Austin Eastside Memorial looking to work their way back in before embarking into the postseason next week.
Lampasas has won just one playoff game in four appearances since 1999.
With the Lady Badgers’ departure from the poll, Shoemaker is the area’s lone ranked team.
The Grey Wolves, who have already secured at least a share of the District 12-6A championship, extended their winning streak to 10 consecutive games after defeating Waco Midway 65-53 and Copperas Cove 69-44 last week.
The results left Shoemaker situated at No. 16, where the Grey Wolves resided for the previous two weeks.
Shoemaker (28-5, 13-1) can clinch sole possession of the district title by winning either of its final two games. The Grey Wolves host Harker Heights tonight at 8 p.m. and have a bye Friday before closing the regular season with a game at Belton on Feb. 12.
Although Shoemaker is the only local team to be recognized in the poll, there is still reason for District 12-6A teams to pay attention to the rankings.
Rockwall, of District 11-6A, fell two spots to No. 10 this week. The Yellowjackets will play a team from District 12-6A in the opening round of the playoffs.
Several ranked teams could potentially be waiting for District 12-6A teams in the second round as well with No. 5 Dallas Jesuit, No. 6 Allen and No. 9 South Garland each poised to serve as a postseason roadblock.
In the girls division, No. 5 Sachse, No. 16 Allen and No. 25 Plano are all potential second-round opponents for District 12-6A programs.
For the Lady Badgers or district foe Salado, No. 12 Fredericksburg could emerge as a first-round opponent in the playoffs with No. 15 El Campo possibly looming in the second round.
The Lady Eagles close out the regular season tonight at home against Burnet.