I’ve driven about 2,000 miles in three weeks, and I’m not sure what day it is.
It must be November on the high school sports scene. And believe it or not, basketball season begins tonight.
That’s right, games across the state are being played, including many this week in the Ozarks.
It seems kind of obvious, but shouldn’t fall sports end before winter sports begin?
There needs to be a calendar switch for sports in Missouri, and basketball teams shouldn’t be able to start playing games until after Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional end to the high school football season.
For one, it’s unfair to schools that make deep runs in the football playoffs. Many years, Webb City doesn’t get to have several of its best players start basketball practice until after some of its rivals practice for two weeks, and then play a game or two.
It’s nearly an annual problem at Webb City. But a team like Rogersville, whose athletes made their first state championship run in football last season, may not have been prepared for the possibility. It took the Wildcats some time to get their legs at the beginning last season, and I’m not sure that team ultimately reached its full potential. Would a few more practices early on ultimately have helped? It couldn’t have hurt.
With the last day of the state basketball finals being played on March 17 — 118 days from today — isn’t basketball season long enough?
In the Ozarks, we ask basketball families to sacrifice holiday plans to play in the historic tournaments in the final week of the year. Do we really need to interfere with Thanksgiving weekend, too?
In addition to games in the early part of this week, several programs are packing games and tournaments into Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.
How about the Missouri State High School Activities Association makes the first allowable contests for the week after Thanksgiving, and force teams to shorten up the slate a bit?
Sounds like common sense to me.
Previews next week
Since we’re still digesting the fall sports season, and preparing for the football finals, we’ll put our basketball previews out next week.
Our five days of previews will start with a look at a team you can expect to hear plenty about this winter: coach Jay Osborne’s Nixa Eagles, who will feature Austin Ruder and Jalen Norman.
Also new this year is the inaugural American Family Insurance Preseason All-Ozarks boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.
In this space next week, we’ll name the five players on each preseason team. It’s not an official honor — more of a conversation starter. And it will be interesting to see how much the teams are different from the real All-Ozarks teams, which will be released after the season.
Contact Matt Schoch at 417-836-1191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MattSchochNL.