While the path to the regional tourney at Wallace State Community College will be tough for all seven boys' teams in The Times' coverage area. All seven have a legitimate shot at advancing to the next round of prep playoff basketball.
Home games slated for Friday night include: Cullman vs. Muscle Shoals, West Point vs. Dora, Good Hope vs. Carbon Hill, Cold Springs vs. Hale County and Addison vs. Parrish.
On the road are Vinemont and Fairview with games against Sulligent and Fayette County, respectively.
Winning the area tournament grants a home game against an opposing area's second best team. But it doesn't always work out that way, as Fairview travels to 13-14 Fayette County, while West Point hosts 20-10 Dora.
Fayette County upset Dora 79-75 in overtime of the area finals.
"We know Dora has a great team and maybe one of the best teams in north Alabama," said West Point coach Heith Yearwood. "They have played a tough schedule and that high-level of competition has made them tough.
"We have had a good week of practice and these guys see the light at the end of the tunnel. We had some dark times through the middle of the season, but have played great since Christmas. We are 9-2 since then with one-point losses in both of those games."
Fayette County is led by Shane Cochran, who scored 26 points in the area finals and Nnamdi Hamilton, who nailed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send area finals into OT.
Dora is led by Lavertis Towne's, who averages over 20 points per night, while Kyle Chance and Whit Wright add extra-scoring punch.
The Bearcats, possibly the hottest basketball team in North Alabama, welcomes the tenth-ranked Muscle Shoals Trojans to town on Friday.
"We have been setting a different tone the last five or six games," said Cullman coach Mike Dean. "We need to stay true to that and do what we have been doing."
Muscle Shoals lost to Athens on Monday night in their area finals, but finished the season with a 23-8 record and won't provide an easy test for the Bearcats.
The Trojans are led by Reed Morgan and Greg Johnson, while eighth-grader Ralston Turner played a pivotal role in the area tourney.
"Muscle Shoals is a good basketball team, but we have played some teams as good as them this season," Dean added. "We have beaten Walker, Gardendale and Florence on the road. Hopefully, our crowd will get into it and we will take care of business at home."
Cold Springs welcomes 10th-ranked Hale County (21-7), who lost 60-50 in its area tournament finals. The Wildcats are led by Corey Spence.
Good Hope hosts Carbon Hill, 73-47 losers to Sulligent in the area finals, with a shot at regionals on the line.
The Raiders are one of the hottest teams in the county, after running through its area tournament and notching a big victory over Cold Springs to end the regular season.
Addison begins its road for a basketball state title with a visit from Parrish High School.
The Bulldogs hope to join their football team with state title rings and have a good shot to do so with a large front line of Mark Stewart, Matt Naylor and Kyle Carden.
Vinemont's chances of a regional berth begin with a tough visit to Sulligent.
The Blue Devils knocked off fifth-ranked Winfield in the first-round of the area tournament and crushed Carbon Hill in the finals.