Thursday, February 28, 2013
I covered six basketball games in five nights last week.
Marshall County has been well-represented in the post-season arena.
Monday and Tuesday nights, I was in Potts Camp for the opening round of North Half competition – girls and then boys.
I skipped Wednesday night and went to church. I know my mother would be proud. She raised me in the church and that good habit has stuck with me for 50 years.
Thursday night, I made the short trip to H.W. Byers for the North Half quarter-finals.
Good friend Joel McNeece of the Calhoun County Journal had asked me to shoot photos of one on his teams, Vardaman. The Lady Rams faced Benton County’s Ashland Lady Blue Devils.
That was the first of two for me that evening. Next up was the host Lady Lions taking on Pine Grove.
Needless to say, the old gymnasium at H.W. Byers was standing room only, packed to the rafters. It was a tremendous basketball environment – fans on top of action and very vocal in support of their favorite teams.
And the folks at H.W. Byers always provide one of the best hospitality rooms anywhere. I didn’t make it in there until after the Lady Lions’ game but there was plenty left for this editor and good stuff, too.
Friday night, I drove to Ripley for the Byhalia Lady Indians North Half semi-final contest versus Charleston.
What a contrast it was in gyms – from Byers to Ripley.
Ripley’s is new and better than some colleges, I would assume. The school’s event center, as it is named, is super nice.
But as I said in a recent column, the old, small, crowded facilities have their assets, too.
I had that discussion with several folks Saturday, when I went to Marshall Academy’s state championship contest versus Central Private at Canton Academy. It was my longest road trip of the week, but thank goodness Pam and Erin accompanied me on the six-hour, round-trip ride. Plus, Emma and Andy (our Southern Miss two) met us there, too.
The CA gym was jam-packed. I was told even more were there for the girls state title game.
One suggestion I had, particularly for state tournaments, is to go to a bigger venue – like the public schools at Mississippi Coliseum. A possibility for the private schools would be mid-size – like a community college facility.
I’m from the old school. I played in many “cracker-box” gyms. I loved it.
But on the other hand, all fans traveling many miles to support their teams (gas prices are outrageous) should always be able to get into a facility and preferably get a seat.
And getting to places like the Big House (Mississippi Coliseum) or A.E. Wood Coliseum (the Golden Dome) at Mississippi College (for the private schools’ Overall Tournament) gives the teams an exciting goal.
By the way, Canton Academy did a great job hosting the tournament.
I told my employees Monday, based on what awaits the rest of this week, I might need a bed at the newspaper office for sleeping.
In the midst of finishing up Profile Edition for next week, there’s more basketball this weekend, too, for some of our area teams.
Who needs sleep? This isn’t a job. It’s fun.
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