The first day of November has arrived. Do you know where your basketball schedule is?
It’s time to get pumped for what promises to be a season of high school basketball excitement at Charlie Dalton Gym. The Pioneers are picked to finish as high as second in the district in preseason polls, while the Lady Pioneers out to prove preseason picks mean absolutely nothing.
The Pioneers figure to be a quick and lively bunch, led by seniors Caleb Newby, Chance Hobbs and Isaiah Grayson. With the absence of a monstrous inside presence, the Pioneers will look to play at highway speeds, pushing the tempo and firing plenty of 3-pointers.
Even though he’s not towering by basketball standards, Newby gives the Pioneers a reliable post player who is effective on the block. Hobbs is a sharp shooter who can awaken an offense when he gets hot. Grayson is used to wearing a football helmet as quarterback of the Pioneers and he’s not afraid to mix it up on both ends of the basketball floor either.
This will be the fourth year for coach Chris Sullens, who will likely have to knock off Cookeville to claim a district crown. The always-pesky Cavs are picked to finish first.
In a bit of a swerve, White County was picked to finish last by the coaches. The Warriors are traditionally a basketball powerhouse not known for rebuilding so we’ll have to see what tricks White County has stashed up its sleeve.
On the girls side, Lady Pioneer coach Shea Panter says she embraces the underdog role and this might just be the team to pull a few surprises. The center of attention is the center of the team in very tall Tyra Wright, who can score the basketball down low.
The nucleus of this squad has been playing together for years and includes 3-point ace Megan Patch, who can drain the tough shot from the corner. There appears to be plenty of depth and from what I’m hearing the intensity has increased.
Based on early season scheduling, both teams have a chance to race out to strong starts before Christmas with Cannon County and DeKalb County on the schedule twice in a home and away series. Upperman and Moore County are also early opponents.
It came close to happening last year, but I think this will be the season both the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers finish with winning records.