The 2009 high school basketball season is just underway, but already some of the top teams in North Carolina are finding out how good they can be and how they stack up.
Cannon and Greensboro Day should find out a lot in this early-season contest.
Both are among the top private schools in the state and plan on being around in late February and March for a chance at a state championship.
"Our goal is to be mentioned with the Christ School, Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Latin, Greensboro Day, Ravenscroft and the other powers in the state year in and year out," Cannon basketball coach Glen Taylor said. "To prove ourselves, we not only have to win games, but we have to beat these programs."
Jarrell Eddie and Keith Belfield can carry a team on their broad shoulders. The duo averages 54 points and over 20 rebounds per contest.
But if Cannon is going to be one of the state's elite teams they need to get contributions from other players, like point guard Michael Falcone and Eddie and Belfield's younger brothers, Jason and David.
Sophomores Ty Decker and Will Nork must also step forward up front.
The Cougars won their own tournament, the Cannon Classic, but they dropped two of three games in the David Currie Classic last weekend to Mount Zion and host Flora MacDonald Academy, both of which boast multiple Division I prospects
The Cougars will need a more balanced attack to beat teams like Greensboro Day, but stopping Eddie and Belfield will be equally as tough for any Cannon opponent.
Expect this game to come down to the last two minutes.
The Bengals are a perfect 6-0 (through Nov. 24) with solid wins over Oak Ridge Military Academy and Charlotte Country Day but they haven't played a team with two players like Eddie and Belfield.
Greensboro Day starts with a veteran backcourt that includes Brandon Dorsett and Robert Kleinman, who both lead the team in scoring at 11 points per contest.
But the Bengals also feature a massive front court with all three guys over 6-foot-7 including 6-foot-8 Northeast Guilford transfer Quayshad Williams.
The Bengals beat Cannon 52-45 last year with a team that went 28-4 on their way to the state semifinals before losing to a Ravenscroft team that boasted current Duke forward, Ryan Kelly.
This year's team should be just as good, but so is Cannon.
The team that comes out on top will carry a lot of momentum into the heart of the schedule, which begins in mid-December.