The leaves are falling, the days are colder, Halloween has passed, people are looking forward to Turkey Day.
It can mean only one thing.
The basketball season is getting ready to start.
The Eastern and White River Valley girls began play Tuesday night, the Shakamak girls went to West Vigo Thursday night, Bloomfield’s Lady Cardinals began their defense of their sectional title tonight at Northview, Linton opens Tuesday night with a road trip to North Knox, and Union becomes the last county team to go into action with a trip to the Living Water Marlins next Friday. The Bulldogs will become the first boys team to go into action on that trip to the Living Water (a Christian school in Filmore) while other schools will host their Madnesses on the following day, Saturday, Nov. 11.
Some familiar faces -- Malea Toon, Turner Royal, and Isaac Combs of Bloomfield; Caleb Hamilton, Ethan Helton, Farrah Young, and Michelle Hatfield of Eastern; Silas Robbins, Sammy Robbins, Kip, Fougerousse, and Mallorey Frye of Linton; Brittany Huddleston, Lane Gilbert, and Rylee Landry of Shakamak; Addi Graves, Kassi Morrison, Sydney Stahl, Dakota Sparks, and Tanner Denham of White River Valley -- will return to action. The Lady Cardinals and the Shakamak Lakers will attempt to repeat as sectional champions while other teams will seek to win a sectional.
It should prove to be an interesting season with another exciting Greene County Invitational to kick off January. Several teams will compete in other storied tournaments: the Shakamak and Linton boys in the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic, the Eastern girls in the Toby Yoho Classic, the Shakamak and WRV girls in the SWIAC/Blue Chip Shootout; and the Eastern boys in the Vincennes Lincoln Tournament.
We will, of course, provide coverage of the games on our web site and in the our pages.
The Daily World will also publish a basketball tab on Friday, Nov. 17, to preview all the area teams. Terry and I are already at work on the stories for that tab.
Look for it.
Because of our deadlines, I couldn’t get any comments from Shakamak cross country coach Mark Messmer regarding Jacy Collins’ performance in last Saturday’s cross county state meet at the Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on the outskirts of Terre Haute.
Collins added to her already illustrious list of accomplishments by placing 147th out of 208 runners, finishing the course in 20 minutes, 8.8 seconds,in her first trip to the state. Those girls were so fast that the slowest one completed the five-kilometer course in 25:10.2. I think many of them can run a kilometer faster than I can walk 100 meters.
Messmer said in an email: “I was very proud of her performance. She ran her best time on that course by 30 seconds, so I know she ran hard. She had a great season and has a lot more she will accomplish over the next couple years.”
She certainly did have a great season, winning the Terre Haute North Sectional, the Greene County Invitational, and the Southwest Indiana Athletic Conference Invitational. We hope that Saturday was just the first of three trips to the state for Jacy.
I occasionally wonder in this job if certain athletes I see have any chance of making the pros or the Olympics if they continue working hard and staying healthy.
One of those athletes is Edgewood freshman Annalyssa Crain, who placed sixth in the state meet. I first saw her run in this year’s Mustang Invitational, the first of several impressive performances I witnessed this fall. She looks young enough to be in junior high, but she can run like an antelope, easily beating seniors from bigger schools like the ones in Bloomington and Terre Haute.
Maybe one day, we’ll see her run for the United States in the Olympics. She’ll certainly be a major foe for Jacy over the next two years.
Andrew Bowen is a sports writer at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at 812-847-4487