Basketball fever warms up scene

Published 7:29 pm Thursday, February 18, 2010

Basketball fever is running high as state tournaments beginarriving on the scene. Meanwhile, softball and baseball teamseagerly anticipate their season openers, despite the cold, rainyweather.

Snow and cold weather have been major topics of conversation inrecent weeks. It started snowing last Thursday night and continuedthrough most of Friday morning. This snow was light and powdery,ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Our residence received aroundfour inches of the white stuff.

Most Mississippians had to settle for rides on RVs, pullingmakeshift sleds. Wearing my muck boots as I walked to our horsestable for the morning feed, the squeak of fresh snow underfootconjured up memories of long winters past on the frozen tundra ofWisconsin. Thankfully, the weather here was comfortable. The earsand nose didn’t burn from near-zero temperatures.

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Naturally, the basketball tournament schedule was turned upsidedown because of the snow. Many of the championships were decidedMonday night instead of four days earlier.

The weather also caused havoc with the Mississippi High SchoolActivities Association’s North and South Mississippi Tournamentsthis week. Boys teams who finished region play Monday, had to turnaround and play Tuesday.

Brookhaven Academy hosted the South State AA Tournament last weekand the snow forced a small scheduling problem as times were pushedback an hour to allow for additional travel time. The roads wereclear by Friday afternoon and the tournament continued even thoughthe school was closed.

The BA Lady Cougars and Cougars played well in South AA and theyfinished first and second respectively, placing them in this week’sMAIS Class AA State Tournament at Indianola Academy. The Cougarsbeat Hillcrest Christian’s boys Tuesday night, moving them one stepcloser to an unprecedented sixth straight state title for CoachDale Watts.

The Lady Cougars, coached by Barry Gray, finished third in lastyear’s state tournament. To say the least, they have state titleambitions this week. They’ll play a strong Prairie View (La.) teamin Friday’s semifinals.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College concludes regular-season playtonight, hosting Pearl River for a twinbill, starting at 6 p.m., inMullen Gymnasium. The Co-Lin Lady Wolves, unbeaten in 22 games andranked No. 4 in the NJCAA National Poll, are the No.1 seeds out ofthe South Division and have their tickets punched for next week’sMACJC State Tournament at Scooba. They are an extremely athleticand talented team to watch. They play as a team, too.

The Lady Wolves, coached by Gwyn Young, will play Tuesday night at7:30, against the North No. 4 team, either East Mississippi orDelta. Both are 7-4 in the North entering tonight’s final divisionaction.

Semifinals for the men and women are next Wednesday and the finalsare Thursday in Currie Coliseum.

For sure, it’s time for softball and baseball even if the airtemperature is downright cold. High school baseball action cranksup with some jamboree action at Loyd Star Saturday. Coach JonathanBreakfield’s Hornets will play Columbia at noon and NatchezCathedral at 4 p.m., in a pair of 4-inning games. In an effort topreserve arms, pitchers will be limited to just two innings.

Brookhaven Academy, under the direction of new head coach CaseyEdwards, participates in the Hillcrest Jamboree today. Edwardssends his Cougars against powerhouse Copiah Academy at Gallman innext Tuesday’s opener. Copiah graduated to Class AAA this year sothe Colonels will be facing much tougher competition.

Brookhaven High’s Panthers, coached by Randy Spring, are in theLawrence County Jamboree Saturday. The Panthers are in the newClass 5A group this year that includes West Jones, McComb andForest Hill.

Lawrence County, coached by Cory Keyes, agreed to host the ClintonJamboree because construction work at Clinton’s field hasn’t beencompleted. The jamboree starts at 10 a.m.

Moving to softball, Franklin County coach Dana Smith has herLady Bulldogs primed and ready for a Saturday jamboree at Columbia.They’ll participate in the Salem Classic Feb. 27.

Coach Allen Kent’s Co-Lin Lady Wolves are participating in theMeridian Community College/RUSH Invitational this weekend. It’stalent-filled field, featuring teams from Mississippi and Alabama.It will be played at Northeast Park in Meridian.

The Lady Wolves (3-1), two-time defending state tournamentchampions, are hoping for warmer weather as they meet Bevill StateFriday at 12:45 and L.B. Wallace at 5:15. On Saturday, they meetCentral Alabama at 11:30 a.m., Shelton State at 2 p.m. and BevillSate at 4:15 p.m.

Also entered are teams from Meridian, Northeast, Jones County andSnead State in the 22-game tournament.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail