Brand new ballgame

We're right where we started: tied.

Non-sports fans would call those past 16 minutes a waste of time, as Eastland and Madison are tied at 24 as we've reached halftime.

Horsehockey. That was fun. And we learned some things, too.

Eastland needs to put some butts on Deontay Starnes. He has the height and bulk (6-5, 235) advantage that one might think would give the Cougars problems.

Up to this point this season, they've offset the lack of a space-eater with toughness. But Starnes and Trojans are outrebounding the scrappy Cougars 15-11, despite Eastland having one heckuva second period.

The other thing we learned (OK, we already knew this) is that Eastland is mentally tough. There was some staring off into space early, as Eastland wasn't catching any breaks.

They trailed by six twice early, and we're even.

My gut feeling? This one's going to come down to mental toughness. The Cougars passed the first between-the-ears test. We'll see what's yet to come.