It was 11:55 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and The Dribbler -- with a cup of grape juice in hand -- was fervently trying to figure out his New Year's resolutions.
The Dribbler stood in a packed gym at Chartiers Valley High School watching Colts boys coach Tim McConnell stand on a ladder high above one of the baskets ready to do the basketball version of the ball drop.
The Dribbler then had a revelation.
He had two desires for 2013: The always popular "lose weight." And, first and foremost, watch more high school basketball games.
The Dribbler took in only 25 games the opening month of the season. Expect him to see twice that amount this month.
Saturday is a good example. The Dribbler will watch a Westinghouse/Career Connections doubleheader in Homewood, and then hurry over to Burgettstown to watch four boys games at the Chuckie Mahoney Classic.
Six games in one day? The Dribbler can't wait.
Oh, in case you wanted know, McConnell didn't drop that ball into the hoop. He dunked it.
As far as his picks go, The Dribbler was 11-5 (.687) in games played through Wednesday, but much like his jump in games attended, he expects that percentage to rise throughout the season.
Here's his take on some of the best matchups over the next week.
Top boys games
Montour at Chartiers Valley, 7:30 p.m. today -- When Montour played Chartiers Valley last season, the Colts were ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA. This time, the Colts are No. 1 in Class AAA and in the same section as the Spartans. In a game filled with excellent guards, The Dribbler feels that Chartiers Valley center Spencer Casson will be the difference. Winner: Chartiers Valley.
Hampton at North Allegheny, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday -- It turns out Class AAAA Section 3 is everything it was made out to be. It's January, and North Allegheny, Hampton and New Castle are all still undefeated. Of those three, North Allegheny has been a bit of a surprise. Beating the Talbots would open a lot of eyes, but ... Winner: Hampton.
Seton-LaSalle at Washington, 7:15 p.m. Tuesday -- Talk about junior achievement. Led by four junior starters, Seton-LaSalle is 8-1. The Rebels are giving up only 43 points per game and all of their wins have come by double digits. Washington, led by Josh Wise, is good, but Seton-LaSalle has more balance. Winner: Seton-LaSalle.
Other top boys games
(Home team in all CAPS) JEANNETTE over Serra Catholic (7:30 p.m. today); MARS over Kittanning (7:30 p.m. today); BEAVER FALLS over New Brighton (7:30 p.m. today); Fox Chapel over GATEWAY (7:30 p.m. Tuesday).
Top girls games
Chartiers Valley at Mt. Lebanon, 7:30 p.m. Monday -- What will win out here: Chartiers Valley's backcourt, led by Mariah Wells? Or the Jordan Holmes-led Mt. Lebanon frontcourt? The Dribbler sees it being a wash, so the home team gets the edge. Winner: Mt. Lebanon.
Fox Chapel at Gateway, 6 p.m. Tuesday -- Gateway beat Fox Chapel by a combined 77 points in two meetings last season. However, Gateway star Destiny Brown is gone, and Fox Chapel is looking like a dark-horse contender to win the WPIAL Class AAAA title. Foxes center Erin Mathias will continue her terrific comeback from a knee injury. Winner: Fox Chapel.
Central Valley at Blackhawk, 8 p.m. Thursday -- Central Valley was 7-0 heading into last night's action, but all signs point to Blackhawk winning this one. The Cougars are 9-0, have one of the best players in the WPIAL (sophomore guard Chassidy Omogrosso), and already own a signature win (at Hopewell). Winner: Blackhawk.
Other top girls games
(Home team in all CAPS) Fox Chapel over NORTH CATHOLIC (1 p.m. Saturday); OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART over Beaver (7:30 p.m. Monday); CARMICHAELS over California (7:30 p.m. Monday); CHARTIERS VALLEY over Bethel Park (7:30 p.m. Thursday).mobilehome - fumbler