Although the process actually begins sometimes years in advance, this is about the point in the season when the participants for the Mirror Classic really start to come together.
In the coming weeks, readers will begin to find out who will be the coaches and honorary captains, and, eventually, the players in the all-star game for regional high school seniors.
This actually might be the most difficult year ever to choose a team, because there are just so many terrifically accomplished players out there to be selected from a wide-range of schools and levels of competition across an area stretching from Juniata County in the east to Lock Haven to as far west as Blairsville to the Maryland border in the south.
Obviously, one can get a pretty good idea of where the best talent is by looking at what teams are doing well, but there's been an awful lot of parity in 2012-13 - just try making sense of the weekly Fab Five rankings when teams take turns beating each other - and there are several noteworthy individual efforts taking place.
For instance, did you realize that there are eight senior boys and four senior girls in District 6 and District 5 who are currently averaging more than 20 points per game this season? According to the latest MaxPreps.com statistics, the region has the No. 2, 3 and 4 scorers in the state in Shade's Ryan Fyock, Central Mountain's Cole Renninger and Blacklick Valley's Dalton Cesarz.
Shanksville-Stonycreek's Kayla Stockenus was netting more than 30 points per game up until the middle of last week. She was held to nine by Berlin, dropping her average to a still-robust 29.7; she's had three 40-point games this year, including 47 against Johnstown Christian, and she also has three times as many assists as the rest of her teammates combined.
Another prominent girls scoring star who you might not have heard about because she's from the fringes of the region, in fact, she isn't even on a PIAA team, is Clearfield Alliance 5-foot-10 Alyssa Wharton. She's tossing in 20.5 points per game.
It's not just scoring, either, in which Central PA is making its mark: The region boasts MaxPreps top boys rebounder (Clearfield Alliance's Jason Eveleth) and four of the top 10 on the girls side, including second-ranked Krista Gillo, a senior at Penns Manor. Cesarz, by the way, is ninth on the boys side.
Keep in mind that the MaxPreps stats aren't all-inclusive. Some teams still don't post their statistics on the site. Still, the numbers up there are pretty impressive.
This kind of talent pool will just make picking the Central PA teams for the Mirror Classic that much more of a test, but it should also make for a treat for the fans and the players that do make the cut.
Central announced this week that it won't have any junior varsity games for the rest of the season.
Because of a wave of injuries, the Lady Dragons' roster of originally 17 is now down to nine.
Central has switched its home games to 6:30 p.m. starts so fans that want to take in both the junior high and varsity games don't have such long of a wait in between.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.