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Long basketball season fading fast

The long, long basketball season is starting to dribble off intothe sunset. We have seen more than our share of dunks, blockedshots, rebounds, fastbreaks, full-court presses, layups, 3-pointgoals, crisp passes and bad basses, missed free throws, turnovers,etc.

Shirtsleeve weather finally has arrived in the frostbitten southernstates that have endured one of the coldest (by Dixie standards),wettest (that bearded man is building a boat on dry land) andlongest (nearly three months) winters in history.

At last, birds are singing, bees are buzzing, the sun is shiningand the grass is growing. This scribe cranked up his garden tillerlast week after cleaning the sparkplug and adding some fresh oil.It wheezed, sputtered and coughed before it began churning up therich, damp earth as we anticipated a bountiful growingseason.

Ahhh, the good earth. You can smell it, even taste it. God isgood.

The fish are biting. Their appetite increases as the temperaturerises. Our youngest granddaughter, Kallie Rose, is 19 years old andshe loves to fish. She doesn’t mind standing on a lake’s bank forhours, hoping to land a big one for supper.

A true fisherwoman, Kallie doesn’t avoid the chore of descaling andcleaning fish. And, if time allows, she will put those fish in afrying pan and create a delicious supper, complete with fries,hushpuppies and a lovely smile.

Certainly, she’s a keeper. Besides that, Kallie is blessed with abeautiful singing voice to praise the Lord.

All of the spring sports are going strong. Most of them got off toa slow start because of the foul weather. Coaches and playersencountered difficult practice conditions the last month. If itwasn’t freezing, it was raining.

Baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track provide plenty ofopportunities for the local sports fan. Games of some variety aregoing on five days a week and Saturday.

Looking at baseball for a moment, it appears that Brookhaven,Brookhaven Academy, Loyd Star, Wesson, Lawrence County and FranklinCounty have a leg up on the competition. The others are workinghard to improve.

In fastpitch softball, Loyd Star, Enterprise, Bogue Chitto andFranklin County have gotten off to strong starts. Hopefully, theycan keep it up.

At the community college level, Co-Lin’s softball team is puttingup some impressive numbers, including a recent split withnationally-ranked LSU-Eunice. Co-Lin’s baseball team isexperiencing some growing pains but the Wolves are showingimprovement.

Speaking of Co-Lin, the women’s basketball team is fresh from aseventh place finish in the NJCAA National Tournament in Salina,Kan. The Lady Wolves lost their first-round game to Casper (Wy.),but they bounced back and beat Lincoln Trail (Ill.), Walters State(Tenn.) and North Idaho. They played four straight days in severeendurance test.

Obviously, they slept well on the long ride home. A 15-hour haulfrom Wesson became a 19-hour grind back home due to a springsnowstorm that slowed travel.

Co-Lin forward Rachel Vigers was named to the NJCAA’sAll-Tournament Team. Vigers, from Baton Rouge, had four straightgames in double figures and she grabbed a lot of rebounds, too,against taller opponents.

Coach Gwyn Young and his Lady Wolves deserve specialcongratulations for another great campaign. They finished31-2.

Vigers, along with Latoria Holder, Shareka Hunt, Rokeiya Adams andNadia Collins are among the graduating starters. The returningstarter is 5-10 post Brandi Simmons.

In case you missed it, the Gulf Coast Community College Commodoresof Panama City, Fla., defeated the Jefferson College (Mo.) Vikings83-61 in the NJCAA Women’s National Championship game Saturdaynight in Salina’s Bicentennial Center. Tournament MVP Andrea Smithof Gulf Coast had a tournament-high 35 points as the Commodoresfinished 32-1. The Vikings were ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA pollentering the 16-team tournament

Baseball fans can watch two Brookhaven High School baseball starsin action this weekend at Smith-Wills Stadium. Pitchers BrandtHinton (Belhaven) and Cole Newell (LSU-Shreveport) will be onopposing teams when they tangle in a 4-game series thisweekend.

Newell, a junior right-hander, has compiled a 3-1 record thus farfor the Pilots who are 20-7 overall and 11-6 in the Gulf CoastAthletic Conference. Hinton, a senior righty, is unbeaten (6-0) asthe Blazers have fashioned a 25-6 record under head coach HillDenson. His No. 1 assistant is Clay Smith of Wesson who is in hiseighth year at Belhaven.

The Blazers beat rival Millsaps 14-7 Tuesday. They’ll meetLSU-Shreveport Friday for a doubleheader, starting at 4 p.m.They’ll play a 1 p.m. game Saturday in Smith-Wills Stadium.

Write to sports sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER,P.O. BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com