This week, there are some big-time games for teams from Highland County, and have you taken a look at the boys basketball standings in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference thus far this season?

There is a lot going on in these aspects of high school basketball, and with the grind of the season not having any more long breaks due to the holidays and the change in the year, it is now time to see where teams stand and just where the remainder of the season is going.

Let’s first take a look at the standings of the SHAC in boys basketball:

Division I
Ripley (4-0)
West Union (5-1)
North Adams (4-1)
Eastern Brown (3-2)
Lynchburg-Clay (1-4)

Division II
Whiteoak (2-2)
Peebles (3-4)
Fairfield (2-3)
Fayetteville (2-3)
Manchester (0-6)

In Division I, four of the five teams have winning conference marks, and the top three teams in the division have no losses or just one loss in conference play. Add to that, Eastern has just two conference losses, and even with their overall records, the Top 4 teams in the conference are all above the .500 mark.

In Division II of the conference, though no team has a winning record in the conference or overall standings, four of the five teams are very close to each other in the standings with the teams being no less than two games within each other as the season continues.

It is tough to pick a winner in either conference by just what we’ve watched thus far this season, as here are some of the conference games on the schedule for this week alone:

Tuesday, Jan. 8
- Eastern Brown at Lynchburg-Clay
- Fairfield at North Adams
- Fayetteville at Whiteoak
- Ripley at Manchester

Friday, Jan. 11
- North Adams at Lynchburg-Clay
- Whiteoak at Fairfield
- Fayetteville at Manchester
- Eastern Brown at Ripley

This week will continue to show just how competitive of a conference the SHAC is this season. For example, for tonight, the game between Whiteoak and Fayetteville is of interest. A win by WHS, and they will have a two-win differential over the Rockets in the SHAC, which this time of the season is big.

This is also the first of two games against each other this season, with the next one being Feb. 1 at Fayetteville. Whiteoak has lost their past three varsity games, all non-conference, and the Rockets this past Friday won a SHAC game at Lynchburg-Clay, 68-45. In their past three games, the Rockets are 1-2. Any way you look at it, tonight’s game should be competitive, and basketball fans should be excited for the rest of the SHAC schedule moving forward.

• Random High School Sports Thoughts

- Looking at the Frontier Athletic Conference (FAC) of the boys basketball standings, Washington (4-1) and Chillicothe (3-1) each have only one loss in conference play. Right behind them are McClain (3-2) and Jackson (3-2) entering games on Tuesday. Hillsboro has one win in the FAC (1-3), and Miami Trace is 0-5 in the conference. The standings will have a bit of a change after tonight’s games, as the Chillicothe Cavaliers are at the Hillsboro Indians tonight to complete the first round of FAC play.

- Congratulations to the Hillsboro Lady Indians on their win Saturday night against Piketon. The team works hard, and gaining the weekend win was well-deserved. They were led by Kayden Watson in the scoring column with 19 points.

- Over the weekend, the McClain Tigers and Fairfield Lions played in a competitive basketball game where the Tigers won 73-55. Even though MHS won by 18 points, the game was a lot closer than the score shows, and it all came down to the third frame. What was great about the game was the stands were packed at McClain High School, full of both McClain and Fairfield fans. The atmosphere was great, the players played hard and overall it was a fun environment to watch a basketball game in.

- Earlier on that same Saturday, the McClain Lady Tigers and Fairfield Lady Lions faced each other in their annual game of two Highland County Counterparts. That game even had a nice crowd, and both teams played well in the first half. Just like the boys game, the third quarter was the difference for the outcome, but overall it was a fun game to watch.

- Everyone should be on notice for the Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs as they are now 12-0 overall on the season. On Monday, they defeated West Union, and over the weekend on Saturday they gained a win over Western Brown. They have two very important games coming up on Thursday and Saturday, where on Thursday they face the North Adams Lady Green Devils at LCHS and on Saturday the take on the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors at EBHS. Last season, Eastern and North Adams shared the SHAC Div. I title, so it will be fun to see if an improved LCHS team can shake things up a bit moving forward. More on these match-ups later in the week.

• Final Thoughts Before Tip-Off
With all of the longer breaks out of the way, this is usually the most exciting part of the year when it comes to the regular season of high school basketball. Many of the games from here on out mean just a little more when it comes to conference standings, and each win or loss will affect seeding in the postseason tournament.

Looking ahead on the schedule, there are a lot of games that will bring great competitiveness this week, as we’ll look at them in greater detail in the ensuing days. Enjoy the games tonight, as this is the time of the year where the second grind of the season begins.

Stephen Forsha is the sports editor of The Highland County Press. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @HCPSportsEditor.