Toes are tipping the midcourt line and half-court circle for one of the most grand local sporting events each year.

The Calhoun County tournament will determine which boys and girls high school basketball teams win county bragging rights for next 12 months.

Will it come down to top-seeded Sacred Heart or No. 2-seeded Oxford on the boys’ side? Is there another team that can break through?

Can No. 2-seeded Pleasant Valley challenge top-seeded Anniston on the girls’ side, or can another team pull a surprise?

We can all agree that the county basketball tournament has grown into a meaningful thing, more so than many other county tournaments. Why?

Calhoun County is the perfect storm of size and number of schools. There’s no major metropolitan area but several small cities and communities,with five public-school systems and private schools adding up to 15 schools that play Alabama High School Athletic Association basketball.

It’s the thing that most astonished me when I came here 20 years ago. I came from a similar-sized county in Kentucky, but Warren County had three high schools when I started working there. There were four when I left and now five.

That many schools packed into a county with no major metropolitan market makes for rivalries and interest, and it all packs into a smallish Division I college basketball arena.

It’s special and one of the highlights of the sports calendar each year. This year should be no different.

Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.