It took until the final day of February, but elementary basketball has officially come to a close.
A five-month journey, which began with preseason 7-8 grade tournaments in mid-October, has redistributed bragging rights throughout the county. From Dibrell’s 7-8 boys continuing their domination to the 5-6 grade Centertown Lady Warriors achieving perfection, there were plenty of celebrations held throughout the winter months.
I want to thank Geoff Griffin for his help. He has been a huge help in aiding the process. His photos, and the communication I traditionally enjoy with coaches, continues to keep the pages full of the hard workers on the hardwood.
Before I trade in courts for diamonds though, I want to touch on some topics I think could continue to enhance the local basketball product. Some of these have been suggested to me, while others are just my opinion. Either way, I think they all should be considered before sneakers are laced up again this October.
I wrote an entire column about this a couple months ago, so I won’t rehash it too much. I’ll just add this – late last May, I covered a county slow-pitch softball league that was dominated by many members of the WCMS softball team. Those girls were Lady Pioneers during fast-pitch, but still found a way back to represent their county schools.
If we can make that happen, then I don’t see why the best basketball players aren’t always representing Warren County first and foremost.
WCMS 6-8 grade tryouts should be open to all schools, including the K-5 only schools. Those teams should go out and play surrounding area schools while our county teams - make them club teams - continue to battle for local pride.
Some may want to exclude the county championships all together after Thursday’s two games provided a combined point spread of 73 points. I’m not there, yet.
Play them on the same night at the same location though. Two county championship games were played at the same time Thursday nearly 20 minutes apart. There has to be a better way.
Have them at the high school for the next 2-3 years, then let our brand-new, shiny Civic Center have the first crack at holding court when it’s operational.
Stop the pressing
At the 5-6 grade level, call off the press. There’s just too few ball handlers ready and too many jump-balls, reach-in fouls, and other calamities that grind the game down.
Defenses can still dominate by picking up the ball at halfcourt. Give teams only eight seconds to get it to midcourt if you’re worried about stalling, but let’s start working on teams defending in the halfcourt and executing set offenses. They’ll have plenty of time to develop a full-court game when they’re teenagers.
Congratulations to all elementary schools for another action-packed season.