The top four teams in the Lehigh Valley Conference separated from the pack several weeks ago.
The league's muddled middle is looking to join Bethlehem Catholic, Parkland, Central Catholic and Nazareth as District 11 playoff qualifiers.
Six LVC teams — Emmaus, Northampton, Easton, Liberty, Freedom and Whitehall — reside on the postseason bubble as the end of the regular season draws closer. Many of those teams will match up with one another over the next week as they try to reach the 11 overall wins or seven league wins needed to clinch a district berth.
Emmaus sits in the best position among the middle-of-the-pack LVC teams. The Green Hornets are 8-8 overall and 5-4 in the LVC. Winning games against Allen and Dieruff, who own a combined 1-18 LVC record, would be enough for Emmaus to qualify for districts for the second time in coach Billy Dunn's three seasons.
"I feel like we've made some really good strides and improved a lot," Dunn said. "We're three points away from being 10-6. We had several games where we were right there.
"Unfortunately, we have young players. There are times when they are still learning. I thought [Tuesday's] game when we played Freedom was probably our most complete game on both ends of the floor, both offensively and defensively."
The remaining five LVC teams on the district bubble have a tougher road to the postseason than Emmaus. Here's a look at what each team faces (all records entering play Thursday).
•Northampton (8-9, 4-6). The Konkrete Kids need a 3-2 finish to qualify for districts. They would be wise to win the first three of their remaining games — against Allen, Whitehall and Stroudsburg.
A loss in any of those games would leave Northampton needing to beat either Parkland or Nazareth, the top two District 11 4A teams, to reach the postseason.
•Easton (7-9, 4-5). The Red Rovers need to win three of their remaining five LVC games to nab a District 11 4A berth. One of those games is against Bethlehem Catholic, which blasted them by 30 points the first time they played. The other four — Freedom, Dieruff, Liberty and Whitehall — are games Easton should be in.
•Liberty (7-10, 4-6). The Hurricanes must win three of their last four LVC games to qualify for districts. After Friday's game against Bethlehem Catholic, they play three other teams —Emmaus, Easton and Freedom — that enter the weekend battling for district spots.
•Freedom (7-9, 3-7). The Patriots look like a long shot to sneak into the district field. They need a 4-2 finish and still have games with LVC powers Central Catholic and Bethlehem Catholic.
If they lose those games as expected, they need to beat Easton, Stroudsburg, Liberty and Williamsport to grab a postseason slot.
•Whitehall (7-10, 3-7). The Zephyrs are 7-4 since an 0-6 start, but that early hole will probably be too big for them to escape. They need to win four of their last five games from a schedule that features matchups with Northampton, Nazareth, Parkland, Pocono Mountain East and Easton.
Streaking again: After starting the season with four straight losses, Notre Dame-Green Pond ripped off seven consecutive wins. The Crusaders have hit another skid since, taking a five-game losing streak into their Thursday meeting with Salisbury.
Like all area teams, Notre Dame has had games and practices cancelled or postponed by snow and cold temperatures. The Crusaders also lost a home game when a leaky roof forced them to reschedule a game against Marian Catholic.
Since Marian Catholic traveled to Notre Dame the first time, Notre Dame offered to travel to Marian when the game was rescheduled. The Crusaders dropped that game 39-30 for the second loss during their five-game skid.
"We've put our self in position to win games and for whatever reason haven't been able to close out," Notre Dame coach Josh Kopp said. "It's also been a very peculiar situation weather-wise."
Notre Dame went into Thursday's game with Salisbury needing to win two of its four remaining Colonial League games to qualify for the District 11 Class 2A playoffs. Three of their opponents — Salisbury, Palisades and Palmerton — have already qualified for districts. The fourth, Wilson, is a rival that has split two earlier meetings with the Crusaders.
Notre Dame, the defending District 11 2A champion, is hoping to find more consistent scoring as it heads down the stretch. The Crusaders have averaged 38 points per game during their losing streak, compared to 49.7 points per game during their seven-game winning streak.