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10 best high school basketball games in Ann Arbor area to see in 2020

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo logo MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 1/2/2020 By Greg Wickliffe, mlive.com
a man standing in front of a crowd: Ypsilanti Lincoln's Simon Wheeler © Jacob Hamilton | jhamilt3@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS Ypsilanti Lincoln's Simon Wheeler

ANN ARBOR – With 2019 a thing of the past, it’s now time to turn the page to 2020.

The boys and girls basketball seasons are fully underway and we’ve already seen amazing performances and matchups on the hardwood.

a group of people looking at a basketball game: Ypsilanti Lincoln\u2019s Emoni Bates runs the ball down the court during the Tip Off Classic game between Ypsilanti Lincoln and River Rouge at EMU Convocation Center Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 in Ypsilanti. © Nicole Hester/Nicole Hester/Mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS Ypsilanti Lincoln\u2019s Emoni Bates runs the ball down the court during the Tip Off Classic game between Ypsilanti Lincoln and River Rouge at EMU Convocation Center Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 in Ypsilanti.

If the beginning of basketball season is any indication for what’s in store in 2020, then we’re in for a treat.

There are several Ann Arbor-area basketball games that are can’t-miss. Teams will face cross town rivals, other matchups will pit some of the state’s best players against each other, creating a buzz that’s sure to pack those gyms on game night.

a young child standing in front of a building: Arbor Prep players prepare to take the court before playing against Huron at Arbor Prep on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. © Jenna Kieser | jkieser@mlive.com/Jenna Kieser/mlive.com/TNS Arbor Prep players prepare to take the court before playing against Huron at Arbor Prep on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.

Below is a list of 10 games that are expected to be showdowns on the basketball court for the second half of the season.

Ann Arbor Pioneer boys at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s: January 8, 7 p.m.

Pioneer’s first game out of the holiday break will be against arguably the best boys team in the state in Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s has a top-flight back court tandem in Lorne Bowman and Julian Roper, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Pioneers respond to such a test.

Ann Arbor Skyline boys vs. Saline: January 31, 7 p.m.

The final night of January will feature two of the area top teams. Skyline has played well this season going 3-2, while Saline has played well in the final two games of 2019. This will be a game to keep an eye on in the top-heavy Southeastern Conference-Red division.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Ypsilanti Lincoln's Braelon Green (5) high-fives Ypsilanti Lincoln's Emoni Bates © Jacob Hamilton | jhamilt3@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS Ypsilanti Lincoln's Braelon Green (5) high-fives Ypsilanti Lincoln's Emoni Bates

Chelsea at Ann Arbor Huron girls: February 28, 7 p.m.

a group of people playing a game of football: Saline celebrates after winning the division 1 district semifinal against Huron, 59-47, Wednesday at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, March 6, 2019. Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com © Tanya Moutzalias/Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Saline celebrates after winning the division 1 district semifinal against Huron, 59-47, Wednesday at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, March 6, 2019. Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com

Teams often look to play tough competition heading into the postseason to help prepare them for March.

This will be a good test to see where these two teams are heading into districts and capping the girls basketball regular season.

a basketball player jumping up to catch a ball: Arbor Prep's Cianna Singleton (5) attempts to block a shot from Huron's Reeya Patel © Jenna Kieser | jkieser@mlive.com/Jenna Kieser/mlive.com/TNS Arbor Prep's Cianna Singleton (5) attempts to block a shot from Huron's Reeya Patel

Both teams are solid and could make some noise in the playoffs but they’ll first have to do battle at the end of February.

Detroit Edison girls at Ann Arbor Huron: January 10, 6 p.m.

Huron will have already played some of the top teams in the state by the team it runs into arguably the best team in Michigan regardless of division.

a man holding a basketball: Skyline's Jack Williams © Jacob Hamilton/Jacob Hamilton | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Skyline's Jack Williams

The River Rats already knocked off Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, Muskegon and Wayne Memorial but this will be their toughest test of the season against 3-time defending champion Detroit Edison.

a group of people posing for a picture: Ann Arbor Pioneer players stand for the national anthem during an Ann Arbor Pioneer vs Westland John Glenn boys basketball game at Eastern Michigan University on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2019. Ann Arbor Pioneer defeated Westland John Glenn 46-45. © Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Ann Arbor Pioneer players stand for the national anthem during an Ann Arbor Pioneer vs Westland John Glenn boys basketball game at Eastern Michigan University on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2019. Ann Arbor Pioneer defeated Westland John Glenn 46-45.

The Pioneers have one of the best players in the country in 5-star Clemson signee Gabrielle Elliott and if the River Rats want to see where they are as a team, this will be the game to gauge.

Dexter girls vs. Saline: January 10, 7 p.m.

Both teams have been playing lights out and something will have to give when they matchup in mid-January.

Dexter is off to one of its best starts in recent memory and Saline has be as equally dominant with both teams winning their games by an average of 30 or more points, setting the stage for an interesting matchup.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central boys vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln: March 5, 6 p.m.

Talk about a clash of the titans. GRCC knocked off River Rouge in overtime, who beat Lincoln in the season opener.

Lincoln will close out the regular season with back-to-back tough games, preparing them up for the tough slate of district play the following week.

Ann Arbor Huron girls at Saline: January 28, 5:30 p.m.

The two contests between Huron and Saline will most likely decide the SEC-Red division and the first matchup with give the winner a head start in claiming the crown.

Huron has a ton of depth and skilled guards in Reeya Patel and the Smith sisters and Saline will rely on junior Ella Stemmer and senior Steffi Bentley to lead the way for them.

Ypsilanti Arbor Prep girls at Haper Woods Chandler Park: January 16, 6 p.m.

Arbor Prep has had some growing pains to start the season but still have one of the top players in the state in Mya Petticord. And don’t let Haper Woods Chandler Park’s record fool you. The Eagles have played a tough schedule and are battled test of the first of two showdowns with the Gators.

Ypsilanti Lincoln boys vs. Ann Arbor Huron: March 3, 7 p.m.

There tons of games that Lincoln has on its schedule that many will want to see but this is one that will probably bring out tons of spectators.

a basketball player in front of a crowd: Ypsilanti Lincoln's Emoni Bates (21) high fives Ypsilanti Lincoln's Simon Wheeler © Jacob Hamilton | jhamilt3@mlive.com/mlive.com/TNS Ypsilanti Lincoln's Emoni Bates (21) high fives Ypsilanti Lincoln's Simon Wheeler

As of now, Huron and Lincoln are considered the two best teams in the Ann Arbor area and have the talent to back it up.

Emoni Bates is considered by most to be the best sophomore in America and Huron has a top Michigan junior in Julian Lewis leading their squad. This very well could be the first of two matchups between the two as they could face off against each other in district play a week later.

Ypsilanti Lincoln boys vs. Benton Harbor: February 1, 5 p.m.

Did we mention Lincoln has a great deal of games that are can’t miss? The Railsplitters will have another against Butler signee Scooby Jonson and Benton Harbor during the Redhawk Showcase Classic in Grand Rapids at the beginning of February.

Lincoln, the defending Division 1 state champ will go up against Benton Harbor, who was the state title winner in Class B in 2018.

It doesn’t get much better than Johnson vs. Bates and that should make for another exciting matchup.

MORE:

Feeling the love: Ypsilanti coaches surprise basketball players with Christmas gifts ahead of holidays

10 Ann Arbor-area high school boys basketball teams and players to watch in 2019-20

Ann Arbor-area girls hoops Power Poll: New team claims No. 1 spot

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