By Doug Gorman
The Ola Mustangs and Stockbridge Tigers' boys basketball teams are both riding high after putting together early-season winning streaks.
Ola, which beat Dutchtown in overtime Friday night and knocked off Forest Park Tuesday, is off to the best starting in school history with a 4-0 record overall and a 3-0 mark in Region 4-AAAA.
Stockbridge (5-1) dropped the first game of the season to Luella, but has won five straight, including a 71-69 victory against Henry County last Saturday and a 53-46 win against Alcovy on Tuesday to improve to 4-0 in Region 4-AAAA action.
For one squad, the winning streak is about to come crashing to the court as the two teams square off tonight in a Region 4-AAAA contest at Ola.
The winner of the game will take early control of the Region 4-AAAA standings.
"It's an early test for both teams," Ola coach Curt Miller said. "The winner of the game takes over sole possession of first place in the region, but both teams are going to come out of the game knowing exactly what they need to work on."
Despite the fast start, Miller is doing everything he can to keep his team grounded.
"I can assure you, I won't let them get a big head," Miller said. "I probably ride this team harder than any team I have ever had. I think they will tell you, today's practice (Thursday) was the hardest one we have had this year."
Stockbridge has already gained respect from sports writers around the state, having garnered a spot in The Associated Press Class AAAA rankings. but even their own coach admits it doesn't mean too much this time a year.
"We aren't really concerned about that," Stockbridge head coach Duane Kelley said. "It's where you are at the end of the year that counts."
If tonight's game follows the usual script, it should be a shootout.
The Mustangs have been involved in close contests throughout the season and are averaging 69 points per game, while giving up 61 points per contest.
Ola has two four-point victories against McIntosh, 76-72, and Mt. Zion, 55-51.
Stockbridge is averaging 73 points per game and giving up 67 per game.
The Tigers' state ranking has made other teams take notice.
"We think a lot of teams get up to play us," Kelley said
The Stockbridge coach says the key to beating Ola is defending the basket and controlling the tempo.
"They are well coached," Kelley said. "We know its going to be a hard-fought game."
Other Southern Crescent rivalries are renewed tonight as Jonesboro plays host to Forest Park and Mundy's Mill takes it game on the road for a Region 4-AAAAA contest at Morrow.
Woodland also takes on first-year program Locust Grove.
In other games on tonight's basketball slate, Central Macon plays at Henry County, Dutchtown plays at home against Griffin, Eagle's Landing is at home against Spalding, Luella travels to Douglass, Union Grove plays at Newton.
Three other doubleheaders set to tip off tonight include, Lovejoy at home agaisnst Chapel Hill and Mt. Zion staying home and taking on Alcovy.
Girls games tip off first beginning at 7, followed by the boys games at 8:30.