HED:David Wheeler: High schools’ calm before the tournament sto

CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)

AUTHOR: WHEELE

HED:David Wheeler: High schools’ calm before the tournament storm

This would be a good time to catch your breath.

Two weeks of county tournaments just concluded, and for the most part, there are three weeks just regular season play until division tournaments begin Feb. 14.

As usual, the county tournaments again proved to be very successful, and very exciting. I was able to attend five of the six, but my ears are still ringing, literally, from the Union County finals that were at Ingomar.

My ears were actually ringing from the crowd noise Saturday as the girls and boys teams from Ingomar and New Albany squared off for the county titles. That has never happened to me before in my 15 years of covering basketball.

As luck would have it (there are times when newspaper people like things not to follow form, gives us something to write about), both the No. 1 seeds were upset.

But the fun doings at Ingomar put a nice finish to Northeast Mississippi’s county tournaments, basketball gatherings that give the Hill Country (thank you Bill Ross) its unique flavor. Let’s just hope all the county tournaments can continue being held.

Now this just might be me, or might not, but because of the even tighter seasonal game limitations the Mississippi High School Activities Association puts on each team, I’m afraid I can see an end to a few of these fun get-togethers.

If you did not know, the MHSAA now limits the total number of games each team can play during the regular season, tournament, round robin, or otherwise, period. Once, there was a regular season game limit; and a tournament limit that did not limit the games played in a tournament, but only the number of tournaments played.

This limitation has already affected several classic tournaments throughout the state. The Baldwyn Tournament of Champions is a prime example around here of a tournament that is not what it use to be.

The MSHAA is trying to limit the time students spend away from the classroom, which is a good point. But this effort by them is surely at the expense of some classic sporting events, of which I hope our area’s county tournaments do not eventually fall victim.

Union, Prentiss, and Alcorn counties are usually the most consistent basketball hot spots in the area, and their county tournaments will probably survive any trend. Thousands of people each year attend these tournaments despite the modern age we live in with distractions like TV, movies, concerts, minor league sports in the area, and the like.

Let us hope that the area’s county tournaments continue to ring in each new year the first two weeks of January.

Oh yes, about my ringing ears. The noise was truly loud and my ears were ringing, but at the time I had raging head cold, which I think caused the ringing. It’s still hanging on, but I’m better now, thank you.

In this calm between tournament storms, it should be mentioned that Union County will offer the area two wonderful gatherings of basketball games the next two weekends.

This weekend finds New Albany hosting the Kiwanis Hot Bed Classic, and all boys day of basketball with six games. Last year, this tournament featured teams that played in the state championship finals of four of the five classifications in the state.

Then Jan. 29 is the Robertson’s Sportswear Lady Challenge at Myrtle. This time it’s the girls turn to play with seven games featuring 14 schools, and with proceeds from the tournament going into a scholarship fund for girls athletes from each of the Union County Schools.

And coaches, let’s start sending in your spring sports schedules, please.

D.E. Wheeler covers high school sports for the Daily Journal.

This would be a good time to catch your breath.

Two weeks of county tournaments just concluded, and for the most part, there are three weeks just regular season play until division tournaments begin Feb. 14.

As usual, the county tournaments again proved to be very successful, and very exciting. I was able to attend five of the six, but my ears are still ringing, literally, from the Union County finals that were at Ingomar.

My ears were actually ringing from the crowd noise Saturday as the girls and boys teams from Ingomar and New Albany squared off for the county titles. That has never happened to me before in my 15 years of covering basketball.

As luck would have it (there are times when newspaper people like things not to follow form, gives us something to write about), both the No. 1 seeds were upset.

But the fun doings at Ingomar put a nice finish to Northeast Mississippi’s county tournaments, basketball gatherings that give the Hill Country (thank you Bill Ross) its unique flavor. Let’s just hope all the county tournaments can continue being held.

Now this just might be me, or might not, but because of the even tighter seasonal game limitations the Mississippi High School Activities Association puts on each team, I’m afraid I can see an end to a few of these fun get-togethers.

If you did not know, the MHSAA now limits the total number of games each team can play during the regular season, tournament, round robin, or otherwise, period. Once, there was a regular season game limit; and a tournament limit that did not limit the games played in a tournament, but only the number of tournaments played.

This limitation has already affected several classic tournaments throughout the state. The Baldwyn Tournament of Champions is a prime example around here of a tournament that is not what it use to be.

The MSHAA is trying to limit the time students spend away from the classroom, which is a good point. But this effort by them is surely at the expense of some classic sporting events, of which I hope our area’s county tournaments do not eventually fall victim.

Union, Prentiss, and Alcorn counties are usually the most consistent basketball hot spots in the area, and their county tournaments will probably survive any trend. Thousands of people each year attend these tournaments despite the modern age we live in with distractions like TV, movies, concerts, minor league sports in the area, and the like.

Let us hope that the area’s county tournaments continue to ring in each new year the first two weeks of January.

Oh yes, about my ringing ears. The noise was truly loud and my ears were ringing, but at the time I had raging head cold, which I think caused the ringing. It’s still hanging on, but I’m better now, thank you.

In this calm between tournament storms, it should be mentioned that Union County will offer the area two wonderful gatherings of basketball games the next two weekends.

This weekend finds New Albany hosting the Kiwanis Hot Bed Classic, and all boys day of basketball with six games. Last year, this tournament featured teams that played in the state championship finals of four of the five classifications in the state.

Then Jan. 29 is the Robertson’s Sportswear Lady Challenge at Myrtle. This time it’s the girls turn to play with seven games featuring 14 schools, and with proceeds from the tournament going into a scholarship fund for girls athletes from each of the Union County Schools.

And coaches, let’s start sending in your spring sports schedules, please.

D.E. Wheeler covers high school sports for the Daily Journal.