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By DYLAN MALONE
There’s not a lot of things that beat Thanksgiving Day. If you’re most moms or wives, you get to see the fruit of your work on the smiling faces of your family members who give thanks (or should) to you and for your hard labor all day.
If you’re my wife, Thanksgiving Day marks the first day she officially gets to celebrate the Christmas holiday and I no longer have an excuse to hold her back from her holiday spirit.
My family gets together each year and we celebrate all of the things we are thankful for and it’s just an amazing time to really think about the things that are the most important to a person in their lives.
For me, I get most excited about the high school basketball season officially getting underway. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove the food. I’m still sore from all I ate yesterday. There’s just something about the buzz in the gym just before the team’s first tip-off.
Of all of the organized high school sports, I would argue that baseball is the most difficult to learn, play, and perfect. It’s a lot more complicated than just hitting a ball with a bat.
Beyond baseball, though, basketball has to take second on my list and it’s number one in my heart and soul for the combination of skill AND flash required to play the game.
I’m not going to get into a debate about why baseball is not as flashy (that sounds like a good spring column, actually).
When the stage is set, it doesn’t really matter how good your team is in high school, it matters how much pride the home team can bring to the 12 boys who will be dedicating their winter free time to a game that has only evolved since the peach basket days.
If you’re bored on a weeknight, go check one of the three Adams County schools’ ball teams out.
Bellmont faced a tall task on Wednesday, particularly for a group of guys who, for most of them anyways, were playing in their first varsity contest. Wayne is full of athletes (mostly named Mitchell apparently) who were ready for the fast-paced varsity game.
For those of you Braves fans who saw the game or otherwise just heard how badly they were beaten on the scoreboard, take heart. There’s plenty of talent on the team. While it could be said that coach John Baker’s Braves are rebuilding in his second year at the helm, I’m here to say that this group of guys will be more cohesive and responsive than last season’s group.
I will not go so far as to say there’s more talent on the team this year, not yet anyway, but I will say there’s more heart. The work ethic is different. Losing will not be the norm for these guys and if it becomes that it won’t be because they’ve stopped trying but because they were truly playing a better team. Win or lose, Bellmont basketball as a mentality is heading in the right direction under Baker. Go check it out, fans.
Adams Central, on the other hand, is dealing with a different kind of beast this season...the sectional high.
Yes, the team from last season is vastly different from the one this season, but that’s not to say that the remaining varsity players who remember beating Luers in the final game have fully gotten over it yet.
Coach Aaron McClure’s task, aside from getting a largely inexperienced (but talented) group of Jets to learn quickly how to play varsity basketball, is to keep his veterans honed in on the prize...beyond sectional.
It will be a challenge to repeat with Luers gaining their top scorer and play-maker back for a senior season as well as his possibly more-talented freshman brother following, but AC can do it if they keep their noses on the golden goose at the end of the year and not on good times past. For a fast-paced, gritty basketball with some pizzazz, come to the Hangar.
Coach Andy Brown’s Starfire team has been the group of guys in the pre-season that fans and basketball enthusiasts alike have dismissed as another losing season.
I have to admit that I also was on that band-wagon when I took a close look at what they lost, but what South Adams can do better than most high schools in the region is put effort into their rebooting.
What little returned for Brown this season as far as varsity experience was enough for alarm in most coach’s opinions, but the second-year coach went to Union City and laid waste to a usually fundamental team. I’m not going to say based off of one game that they will have a successful season, but I will say that that one game truly made me double-take. Winning the game did not surprise me, it was the margin.
Try telling these Starfires they aren’t ready for the varsity game. They may lose a lot of games this season but you won’t want to play them in the sectionals, I guarantee it.