The next three months promise plenty of exciting basketball action, but here are 10 games -- five boys, five girls -- that The Recorder's sports staff believes will be can't-miss matchups for the upcoming season:
Fonda-Fultonville at Broadalbin-Perth, Nov. 30, 2:30 p.m.
An early-season non-league showdown between the two local Class B schools, this will wrap up B-P's Thanksgiving weekend showcase that also includes Cobleskill-Richmondville and Johnstown. The Braves will be searching for the perfect complement to senior star Will Turner, while B-P will be hoping to make a statement as part of a tough non-league slate to start the season.
Albany at Amsterdam, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
The Running Rams' season opener should go a long way toward determining what they can do in their second year under head coach Tony Orapello. Amsterdam and Albany will likely be fighting for position in the Big 10, and with two teams that prefer to push the tempo, this could be an early-season shootout.
Watervliet at Fonda-Fultonville, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
This will be the Braves' first chance to get a look at what the new pecking order might be in the Colonial Council. Watervliet's dominated Section II for the past couple of seasons, but the Cannoneers are a bit of an unknown quantity after the graduation of stars Jordan Gleason and Tyler McLeod. An F-F win could go a long way toward stamping the Braves as contenders in the Colonial and section-wide.
Fort Plain at OESJ, Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Behind division favorite Canajoharie, the WAC North figures to be wild every night as Fort Plain, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, Saratoga Central Catholic, Northville and Mayfield should all be fighting for position. This meeting between the Hilltoppers and Wolves just after New Year's should help sort things out.
Canajoharie at Saratoga Central Catholic, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.
This trip to Saratoga Springs could be the Cougars' biggest obstacle in rolling through the WAC North. The Saints gave Canajoharie trouble in two meetings a year ago, but a Canajoharie win here could guarantee a division title and put the Cougars on pace for a high seed in the Section II Class C tournament.
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Amsterdam at Catholic Central, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Rams open Dec. 3 at Albany, but this game will probably be Amsterdam's best early-season indicator to where they stand. Albany and Troy are the favorites in the Big 10, but a victory at CCHS would definitively put the Lady Rams in the top half of the league.
Fort Plain at Canajoharie, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.
The first of two renewals of the Route 5S rivalry, this should be early-season jockeying for positioning in the WAC North. Fort Plain has the area's top returning player in Abby Boyer, while Canajoharie brings back the bulk of a team that struggled at times a year ago, but has plenty of athleticism and potential.
Galway at Fort Plain, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Two days later, the Lady Hilltoppers play host to Galway in a matchup of the top two finishers in the WAC North from a season ago. In this two-game stretch, Fort Plain could re-assert itself atop the league, or the Lady Eagles -- with a deep roster of returning players -- could lay claim to the top of the division.
Watervliet at Fonda-Fultonville, Jan. 24, 7 p.m.
The rematch of a wild, emotional game that the Lady Braves won in upset fashion on the final day of the 2012-13 regular season. Watervliet went on from that loss to win the Section II Class B championship, so Emily Parslow and the Lady Braves will look to use this game as a springboard to a sectional run of their own.
Johnstown at Broadalbin-Perth, Feb. 4, 7 p.m.
The Lady Patriots are, on the whole, young and inexperienced this season. They'll be hoping to jell -- and have senior guard Katie Herba back from injury -- in time for this late-season Fulton County rivalry meeting with a Lady Bills team that should contend in the Foothills Council.
-- Adam Shinder