The 2021-22 girls basketball season is on the horizon as all eight area teams start play on the first day of the season Friday.
Bryan, which is coming off a 19-4 season, including a 7-0 record in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League for its second straight league title and a Division II district runner-up finish last season to state champion Napoleon, will have a tough challenge to start the year.
The Golden Bears will play in the two-day Lima Bath Kewpee Tip Off Classic on Friday and Saturday at Bath High School. Bryan will face Marion Local, which went 19-7, finished second in the Midwest Athletic Conference (7-2) and won a Division IV sectional title, at 6 p.m. the first day.
The Golden Bears will take on either Division II Lima Bath (22-3, 9-0 Western Buckeye League), which Bryan beat in a district semifinal last year, or D-I Lima Senior at a time to be determined on Saturday.
Several area teams face off as well.
The top two Buckeye Border Conference teams from a year ago in Montpelier (18-4, 12-0 BBC) and Hilltop (13-7, 10-2) will open the season against each other 7 p.m. Friday at Hilltop High School. The Locomotives are coming off their second straight conference title (first outright, fourth overall), while the Cadets are looking to carry their momentum from last year (combined 12 wins the previous four seasons). Montpelier won both matchups last year.
North Central (12-11, 6-6) and Edon (7-12, 5-7) take the court at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Edon High School. The Eagles, who won their second Division IV sectional title in the last three years and have a new coach in Kim Hutchison (assistant last year), won both games a year ago.
Both games will also be nonconference games. Due to Holgate joining the BBC this season, the league switched the conference schedule from a double round robin to a round robin.
They won’t be the only BBC teams facing off in nonleague play on opening night, either. Stryker (8-12, 6-6) hosts Pettisville (2-17, 2-10) with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. The Panthers took both games during the 2020-21 season.
A pair of Green Meadows Conference programs will kick off their season against nonconference foes.
Edgerton, which went 1-21 a year ago and is under new coach Marchetta Caryer, will host former conference foe Holgate (8-15) at 7:30 p.m. opening night at Edgerton High School. The Tigers won the lone matchup last season.
The Bulldogs will also face the Blackbirds in a nonleague game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Pettisville High School. Edgerton had its only win of the 2020-21 season against Pettisville (37-32 on Nov. 21 at Edgerton).
Fairview (21-4) will look to continue its success from last year when it plays St. Marys Memorial (17-6, 7-2 WBL) in nonconference play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Marys Memorial High School. The Apaches are coming off their second straight Division III district runner-up finish and first GMC title (7-0 GMC) since 2005.