Ready or not, it’s already basketball season, and the hotbed is gearing up for the new year with several preseason jamborees taking place this weekend.
Beginning today, Myrtle will host East Union, Ingomar and Pine Grove, while Hickory Flat and New Albany will host jamborees on Saturday.
Looking at this season, we have a defending state champion in New Albany girls and defending north half champion in Myrtle boys, along with the Bulldogs, who hope to make a return trip to Jackson and the Lady Hawks, one of, if not the primary favorite in 1A this season.
Also, three new coaches will debut for the girls teams at East Union, Ingomar and Hickory Flat this season, and several schools return some of the top players in the area.
Even though I am still in football mode and will be until New Albany’s season ends, I’ve already been caught in several basketball related conversations with some of you, who have brought up interesting questions leading into the new year. Among the most popular I’ve been asked:
1. How will New Albany girls fair this year losing eight and only returning Jazmine Spears?
2. Can Myrtle girls finish the job this season, returning Aspriona Gilbert, Halle Knowles and Jenna Jordan, among others.
3. Has Moses Kingsley improved enough over the summer to help lead the Bulldogs back to Jackson?
Another popular topic is how division opponents will only play each other once in region play, making each district game that much more important. Only having one shot at each district opponent and needing to win five division games should make for some very intense match-ups come January.
To cap the season preview this year, like with the fall sports, the Gazette is publishing a Winter Sports Magazine. In it, each basketball team in Union County, plus Hickory Flat, will be previewed along with New Albany soccer.
Also included are in this magazine are pictures of the cheerleaders from each school.
Like the fall magazine, this is a good keepsake and preview for the upcoming season, so be sure to look for that in next Wednesday’s paper, Nov. 2.
Like all of you, I’m looking forward to the start of another exciting year of basketball, and hopefully come March, we’ll be together watching another, or several, Union County schools celebrating a championship.