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Franklin County teams rank in basketball polls

Four Franklin County basketball teams are ranked in the top 10 in the first Alabama High School Sports Writers’ Association poll.

While it is early and the polls don’t mean anything when it comes to playoffs –  most coaches, if they are honest, will tell you the only thing that matters is area games, area tournament and the postseason beyond that – what polls do show is that local teams are getting recognized for some outstanding early success.

In varsity boys, the Red Bay Tigers are ranked third in Class 2A. The Tigers are 10-1 and have beaten some quality teams in Tanner, Haleyville, Sulligent and Belgreen. Red Bay’s only loss is to the top-ranked team in Class 1A, Decatur Heritage.

“It’s nice for the program to be recognized for everyone’s hard work,” said Red Bay coach John Torisky.  “However, we are trying to focus on getting better every game to prepare for the end of the year.”

The Russellville Golden Tigers are ranked seventh in the state in Class 5A with a record of 6-3.  The Golden Tigers have had some big wins against Jasper and Hamilton. Their three losses have come against Deshler, Lauderdale County and Winfield.

In varsity girls, the move up to Class 3A didn’t dampen expectations for the Phil Campbell Bobcats. After making a run to the Class 2A semifinals last year, the Bobcats returned the core of their team and haven’t missed a beat. Phil Campbell is ranked fourth in Class 3A with a 9-2 record.

The Bobcats already have some quality wins. They have beaten four ranked teams: Phillips and Belgreen in Class 1A and Rogers and Wilson in Class 4A. Their only two losses have come to out-of-state teams, Belmont in Mississippi and Summertown in Tennessee.

Belgreen in ranked 10th in Class 1A with a 7-2 record. The Bulldogs have beaten teams like Haleyville, Tharptown and Red Bay, and their two losses have come to highly-ranked teams Phillips and Phil Campbell.

“We’re honored about being ranked,” said Belgreen coach Chad Green, “but we also understand that rankings mean nothing until the end of the year.”

As the holidays approach, most local teams will be spreading out to different locations to play in holiday tournaments against top competition. When teams return to regular scheduled games in early January, there will be no shortage of good basketball to go watch locally.