By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
If you’re a hoops fan, there is no better value for $5 than high school basketball.
If you’re a basketball fan and you’re not at a local game every Friday, Saturday, Tuesday (and any other day that high school basketball is played) then I have to question how big of a fan you actually are.
College basketball is wonderful. The NBA is spectacular. But there is nothing better than a highly competitive high school basketball game in Indiana.
The 2013 portion of the schedule begins on Friday with New Albany-Jeff and a Clarksville-Providence rematch. If you’re not in a high school basketball gym on Friday, then really, are you truly a basketball fan?
If you’re not a fan of any particular team and are just looking for the best game in the area, here’s a look at where to go for the best boys’ basketball games in the second half of the season:
• New Albany at Jeffersonville: The Red Devils appear to be a huge favorite, but they were two years ago in their home gym and New Albany left with a 68-62 win and eventually a sectional championship. The Bulldogs are 4-4 but could easily be 8-0 heading into this one. If you’re expecting a blowout, think again.
• Clarksville at Providence: The two Clarksville schools played a thriller on Saturday. There’s no reason to believe anything will be different on Friday between two Class 2A top-6 teams.
• New Washington at Borden: Borden can clinch the Southern Athletic Conference in its first game of 2013. The Mustangs are unbeaten in the league, as well, and hope to have something to say about it.
• Silver Creek at Borden: Despite a 2-7 start, Creek showed it can compete with good teams in taking Clarksville to the wire. The Dragons could threaten to stop Borden’s season-opening winning streak, even on the road.
TUESDAY, JAN. 9
• Charlestown at Rock Creek: The Lions upset Floyd Central at the tournament in Richmond. A follow-up win over Charlestown could cement Rock Creek as a sectional contender.
FRIDAY, JAN. 11
• Corydon Central at Clarksville: Two of the three unbeaten Mid-Southern Conference teams meet just a week from Friday.
SATURDAY, JAN. 12
• Jeffersonville at Providence: When Jeff and Providence play, there really doesn’t need to be any extra storylines. However, if the Pioneers enter 10-0 — and possibly with a No. 1 ranking — how big will this game become?
FRIDAY, JAN. 18
• Borden at Christian Academy: CAI has shown glimpses of being a sectional contender. Against the heavy Sectional 62 favorite, the Warriors get a chance to prove it to themselves and everyone else.
SATURDAY, JAN. 19
• Jeffersonville at Columbus East: Entering 2013, the Olympians are on top of the Hoosier Hills Conference standings at 3-0 with Jeffersonville right behind at 2-0. This game could determine the league champion.
TUESDAY, JAN. 22
• Providence at Silver Creek: They avoided each other in the holiday tournament, but it’s entertaining almost every time the Pioneers and Dragons meet.
FRIDAY, JAN. 25
• Borden at Orleans: Despite a lack of proximity, this has become one of the best rivalries in all of Southern Indiana. A second meeting in the Class A regional seems likely again in 2013.
• Jeffersonville at Bedford North Lawrence: If Jeff can get by New Albany and East, it will have a chance to clinch at least a share of the conference title with a win at Bedford.
FRIDAY, FEB. 1
• Providence at New Albany: Providence hasn’t won at New Albany in six years. The Pioneers have to believe they have a chance to leave the Dog House with a rare victory.
• Clarksville at Brownstown Central: Although Corydon could be a factor, the MSC figures to come down to the Generals and Braves on Feb. 1.
SATURDAY, FEB. 2
• Jennings County at New Albany: At 7-4 and 2-0 in the HHC, Jennings is the surprise of the conference. For the Panthers to stay in the HHC hunt, they’ll have to at least split with Columbus East on Feb. 1 and New Albany on Feb. 2 before going to Jeff the next Thursday.
• Corydon Central at Charlestown: The Pirates probably won’t be in the MSC mix in early February, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play a role in determining the champion.
THURSDAY, FEB. 2
• Jennings County at Jeffersonville: Both teams have some tough games ahead, but this game is likely to have some HHC implications.
TUESDAY, FEB. 12
• New Washington at Charlestown: A postponed game because of Charlestown’s football success, this is one of the best rivalry games in Southern Indiana.
FRIDAY, FEB. 15
• Clarksville at Borden: Borden won in overtime at Clarksville a year ago to preserve what would become an 11-game winning streak. It should be just as competitive in 2013.
• Louisville Trinity at Jeffersonville: Trinity beat Jeff 61-54 on its way to a state championship a year ago. At 9-3, the ’Rocks aren’t quite what they were last year, but they’ll still present a big challenge at Johnson Arena.
• New Albany at Bedford North Lawrence: Both have one HHC loss in 2012, so one of them will likely have to run the table for this game to be a factor in the league race.
FRIDAY, FEB. 22
• Charlestown at Floyd Central: This should be an interesting matchup heading into the sectional the following week.
• New Washington at Providence: It’s unlikely that New Wash will be competitive in this one, but it will be a good warmup for what should be a tough Sectional 62 field.