With regular-season play wrapping up, WNC teams are readying for conference tournaments that will be held this week, with most boys and girls championship games on Friday night.
Then it’s on to the playoffs that begin on Feb. 20.
A look at the area’s top 10.
1. Mountain Heritage (18-1)
Western Highlands Conference regular-season champions take a 17-game winning streak into conference tournament play this week at Madison.
2. McDowell (19-5)
As the top 4A seed in a very competitive Northwestern 4A/3A Conference, the Titans and veteran coach Brian Franklin should get a favorable playoff bracket.
3. Cherokee (15-4)
Braves won the Smoky Mountain 1A Conference title with an 11-1 mark and are playing in the league tourney at Murphy.
4. Asheville Christian Academy (17-8)
Lions (8-1) are in first place in the NCISAA regular-season standings and play Asheville School on Monday night.
5. Christ School (22-12)
Nobody plays a more grueling schedule than the Greenies, who have 34 games already before the postseason begins.
6. Reynolds (18-4)
Rockets chased North Buncombe virtually all season in the Western Mountain Athletic Conference and finally caught up to share the regular-season championship.
7. North Buncombe (16-6)
Flu bug may have cost the Black Hawks a regular-season title; they tied Reynolds at 12-4 as co-champions of the Western Mountain Athletic Conference.
8. Pisgah (15-7)
The Bears finished as co-champions of the Mountain Six 2A Conference with Hendersonville, and now it’s on to the league tourney at Franklin.
9. Avery County (18-5)
Two lopsided losses to Mountain Heritage are the only blips for the Vikings, who finished second in the Western Highlands Conference and will probably get another shot at the Cougars in Friday’s conference tourney finals.
10. Hendersonville (16-6)
Bearcats earned a share of the Mountain Six Conference regular-season title with Pisgah and will go after the tournament title this week at Franklin.
1. Mountain Heritage (21-1)
Cougars, winners of 11 straight, go after their seventh consecutive Western Highlands Conference tourney title this week at Madison.
2. Smoky Mountain (21-1)
Mustangs go into Mountain Six Conference tournament play this week at Franklin on a 32-game winning streak vs. conference opponents, a run that dates back three seasons.
3. Murphy (22-2)
Bulldogs earned a share of the Smoky Mountain Conference regular-season title and will host this year’s league tourney. Murphy is 10-0 at home this season.
4. Asheville Christian Academy (22-1)
Lions ready for postseason play with an eight-game winning streak, a run in which they have allowed 44 points or less to six opponents.
5. Carolina Day (16-8)
Wildcats, continuing to skip across the state chasing games against top opponents, have dropped their last two games.
6. Erwin (16-7)
The Warriors lost to Tuscola last week in a game that decided the Western Mountain Athletic Conference and snapped a six-game winning streak.
7. Tuscola (18-4)
Streaking Mountaineers clinched the Western Mountain Athletic Conference regular-season championship and enter league tourney play at Erwin on an eight-game winning streak.
8. Pisgah (15-7)
Sugar Bears finished second in the Mountain Six Conference behind Smoky Mountain and have allowed opponents just 30 points a game in a five-game winning streak.
9. Cherokee (14-5)
High-scoring Braves average more than 71 points a game and earned a share of the Smoky Mountain Conference title with a win over Murphy last week.
10. Owen (19-5)
Warlassies finished second in Western Highlands Conference behind powerhouse Mountain Heritage and head into tournament play at Madison on a five-game winning streak.