The New Prairie basketball programs will be in action next week in the 52nd annual Bi-County Tournament, sponsored by Teachers Credit Union.
Despite the name, the event features eight schools from four counties. Junior varsity and varsity teams from both boys and girls programs compete.
Varsity action gets underway on Tuesday, January 17, with first round girl/boy doubleheaders at four different sites.
The New Prairie varsity teams open at home against John Glenn. Tip off for the girls game is scheduled for 6:00pm Town Time/5:00pm School Time. The boys game will follow.
Consolation and semifinal rounds will then be played at LaVille High School on Thursday and Friday.
All four title games are scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at LaVille's Dale E. Cox Gym.
This year's girls field has its fair share of elite programs looking to cut down the nets.
Oregon-Davis (10-5) enters the tournament as the defending champions, and the Bobcats have won seven of the last nine titles.
Argos (16-0) is the current top-ranked team in Class 1-A. The Dragons squared off with O-D this week, however the game took place after press time.
New Prairie's first round opponent John Glenn (15-2) also has title hopes, looking to avenge last year's 75-45 loss in the championship game to O-D. The Falcons won the tournament in 2015.
As for the Cougars (2-14), Gretchen Krivak's team recently scored a 58-56 win over South Bend Washington on Thursday, January 5.
The Lady Cougars have won the Bi-County five times in school history, most recently in 2006. New Prairie defeated Argos, 47-42, in the finals that year.
While the girls season is winding down, the New Prairie boys team is just getting into the heart of a very difficult schedule.
Derrick DeShone's squad will certainly be battled tested prior to entering a wide-open Bi-County field.
The Cougars (4-5), are in the midst of a four-game stretch against Penn, Washington, NorthWood, and Valparaiso.
In their only match-up to date with another team in the tournament, the Cougars picked up a 58-49 road win over Oregon-Davis (9-3) on December 13.
New Prairie will open the tournament on Tuesday against rival John Glenn (4-6). Historically speaking, the Falcons are the Bi-County's most successful program with 14 titles overall, the last coming in 2013.
On the other hand, New Prairie has only won the boys tournament one time in school history, 1973.
The program has made a handful of appearances in the title game, most recently in 2012. That year, Triton defeated NP, 68-66, on a basket with four seconds left.
Triton (6-4) also defeated the Cougars in the opening round of last year's tournament on their way to another title. They defeated another former Northern State Conference foe, LaVille, in the title game.
The host Lancers (9-2), are enjoying another successful season under coach Michael Edison. LaVille has played in the last three championship games, winning in 2015.
Argos (7-2) will also be a threat to win it all. Guided by former Glenn coach Gordon Mosson, the Dragons have beaten both LaVille and Bremen this year. Mosson has cut down the Bi-County nets 10 times in his career.
Culver (7-2) is the only other school with a long drought comparable to New Prairie's. The Cavaliers last won the tournament in 1976.
All team win-loss records reflect games played through Sunday, January 8.