BAY COUNTY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - Among the area high school boys basketball teams looking ahead to district semifinals and finals over the next few nights, are Bay and Rutherford.
The two teams that share the oldest rivalry in Bay County.
They meet Friday night on the court at Arnold in the 6A-1 championship game.
Bay beat Mosley 51-47 in Tuesday's semifinal. The Rams winning their semi over Arnold 63-32 making it their 15th consecutive win.
The Rams beat Bay twice in the regular season, each time by 23 points, but coach Ross working these past few days to keep his players from even thinking about those two previous match-ups.
"Oh absolutely," Rhondie Ross, Rutherford boys basketball coach said. 'Like this time of the year, we're in the playoffs, it's a safe thing to say. But we want more, we want to try to win another district championship and you want to get that first round in the playoffs at home. So the stakes are really high. You know we played Bay twice and they're a really resiliant team. So of course we're going to be prepared and going to treat them as though they've beaten us before."
"It's a very important game for the season to keep going on," Justin Martin, Rutherford junior said. "For our seniors and for the underclassmen to see what it's like to get as far as we can."
Bay's been preparing all week for its third meeting against its rival.
"We do have some wrinkles that we have to put in," Michael Grady, Bay basketball coach said. "We're preparing and we're raring to go against a good Rutherford team. We're going to be ready for their full court press, full court trap game. They do an excellent job of that. Coach Ross believes in the full court press and he does a good job. There's no excuses and for a big cross town rivalry like Rutherford, we're going to come out and we're going to play as hard as we possibly can."
That game Friday night at Arnold at 7.
Chipley plays at Baker Friday for the 1A-3 title.
Port St. Joe hosts the 1A-4 semi's Friday night, same for Cottondale and Ponce de Leon in 1A-2.