In an effort to produce a better basketball product with more slam dunks and 3-point plays for the Pioneers, big changes are in store in Warren County.
The Elementary Basketball Association is getting a rather large makeover.
On the 5-6 grade level, the biggest change is the season will flip-flop with the 7-8 grade season. In recent years, the 5-6 grade season began in October and was finished by Christmas break. The new 5-6 grade season will take place primarily after Christmas when the 7-8 grade season used to hold games.
The 7-8 grade season will now start in October and be finished by Christmas break. This is being done to allow 7-8 grade players to try out for a Warren County all-star team of sorts. This team will travel and face competition from outside the county in an effort to give these players a taste of basketball on a slightly higher level.
“Students from our county schools who are interested in trying out for a countywide team will be able to do so,” said county athletic director Todd Willmore. “This will give this age group an opportunity to play together as a unit prior to entering high school. This year they will participate in approximately 10 games during December and January. There is a possibility they may also play in a tournament.”
I think this is an absolutely spectacular idea. I’ve long said Warren County players sure look good when we’re competing against ourselves, but we seem to lose some shine by the time we reach high school and face the best other counties have to offer.
Players from all of the county schools will be eligible to try out. This includes Morrison, Centertown, Eastside, Irving College and Dibrell. Players from WCMS will not be on this team and will not be largely impacted by this change, other than WCMS sixth-graders having their schedule moved back a couple months.
WCMS 7-8 basketball has been traveling and facing out-of-county competition for decades. The Pioneers currently face teams from Shelbyville, Manchester, Tullahoma, and Franklin County in the Central Tennessee Conference. The Pioneers also regularly schedule White County and DeKalb County.
By facing all this different competition, WCMS players are often viewed as more high school ready. That statement in itself could be cause for an entire column of debate so I’ll leave it at that.
There are still some technical details to hammer out, the main one being who will coach these boys and girls countywide teams. They will also need to operate through a certain school, not be the Warren County All-Stars, and that school has not been determined.
All in all, I would classify this under the category of “Exciting Change” and say it will benefit Warren County basketball.