For the past couple years, first place in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division has come down to the games between the Waterford Lady Wildcats and Eastern Lady Eagles.
In years past, it's been no problem for the Lady Wildcats to claim the TVC crown as Waterford was in a streak of 48 consecutive league games without a loss.
That streak, which began on Jan. 5, 2006, ended this season when Eastern knocked off Waterford, 57-55, at Eastern on Dec. 6.
Rather than bemoaning that loss, the Lady Wildcats took the end of their streak in stride as it was a lesson in the game of basketball for a young team.
"You don't ant to lose, but it's been part of a learning process for us as far as losing games and learning from them and getting better," said Waterford girls' basketball coach Jerry Close. "We've lost three games now and I think each game we've learned a little bit. I think we're better because of these losses."
Tonight, the Lady Wildcats will get the opportunity to avenge one of those losses as Eastern will travel to Waterford for a 7:30 p.m. contest, if the weather permits.
According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va., the Mid-Ohio Valley could get anywhere from three to seven inches of snow after 3 p.m. today and before 4 a.m. Friday morning.
If the weather allows, it should be a pretty good basketball game at Waterford Elementary School tonight between two quality teams.
"Eastern has a really nice team, and they're a young team," Close said. "They've got a couple freshman that played well."
One of those freshman to play well against Waterford was Jenna Burdette, the daughter of Eastern girls' basketball coach John Burdette.
While the freshmen do a lot of scoring for the Lady Eagles, the team goes how senior point guard Emeri Connery does.
"The Connery girl has been the real steady player for them in the guard slot, doesn't make a lot of mistakes. She's not known for a lot of scoring, but known for taking care of the team," Close said.
For the Lady Wildcats to avenge their loss to the Lady Eagles, they'll have to practice the lessons they learned from that loss, particularly taking care of the basketball.
"We've got to cut down on our mistakes and turnovers. We've got to cut down on the little things that cost you games. That's going to be the big key," Close said.
Waterford turned the ball over 24 times in the loss at Eastern, but still had a shot to win the game down by just two when the final buzzer sounded.
Coming off a weekend where the Lady Wildcats faced a powerhouse Oak Hill squad, currently ranked No. 2 in Ohio Division III with a perfect 11-0 record, and Tri-Village, ranked No. 8 in Ohio Div. IV, Waterford has shown it has the potential to play with Ohio's best teams.
Eastern is included in those teams as the Lady Eagles, who are currently ranked No. 11 in Ohio Div. IV.
Playing those types of teams, is something the Lady Wildcats look forward to as they know it makes them better on the hardwood.
"You don't become a better coach or your players don't become better by winning by 30 every time," Close said.
Leading the way for Waterford in its improved play is sophomore point guard Brooke Drayer and junior forward Emily Brown, but the two are far from alone.
Drayer is averaging 14.5 points per contest while Brown is scoring 12.9 a game through 11 games. Senior Kim Barker is also in double figures with 10.6 points per contest.
After that, however, the Lady Wildcats have two players averaging over six points per contest in sophomore Chelsey Paxton and junior Kaitlin Pottmeyer.
Balanced scoring is always going to help a high school basketball team, especially when its up against a team that knows who to focus on stopping.
"They were definitely ready for us and I know they're going to be ready to play again. Hopefully we can offset their intensity," Close said.
At Eastern, the Lady Wildcats found themselves down in a hurry as the Lady Eagles opened the game with a 25-13 advantage in the first quarter.
Keeping Eastern from repeating that feat, will be a crucial aspect to tonight's tilt."That's going to be a big key, don't let them get off to a great start like they did," Close said.
If the Lady Wildcats can beat Eastern, the league title will most likely be split between the two schools, continuing Waterford's streak of dominance in the TVC-Hocking.
"We've won six straight (league titles), and you don't want to give that up. It's just one of those things. A goal every year is to win the league title. Right now we're sitting in second place and we've got a little bit to prove this year," Close said.