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Simmons Says - Welcome Westwood and others

Perched on the baseline, I’ve gotten to witness the growing disappointment of local basketball fans this winter. Angst grows anytime Manchester Westwood walks onto a local court and it’s easy to know why.

It’s because the Rockets and Lady Rockets usually walk off at the end of the night with the win.

I get why people aren’t too keen on seeing Westwood win night after night. After all, it is the Warren County 7-8 grade elementary basketball league. A prerequisite, just from the league’s name, would suggest that the school be in Warren County.

Would it be as big of a deal if Westwood’s teams were 6-6 instead of 11-1 and 12-0? I doubt it. The Rockets seemed to have perfect timing though, joining just as a few dynasties were fading.

Teams that had to suffer under Dibrell’s domination of the boys side and Morrison’s monopoly on girls titles knew this year was going to be their chance. The Wildcats weren’t going to be able to continue a 33-game winning streak forever and the Lady Eagles, although still talented, were under new leadership.

Boyd, Eastside, Irving College and Centertown (especially) had to be looking at walls of their gym and taking measurements for future banners. All the sudden Westwood crashed the party and took home both regular-season titles.

That’s not to say Manchester will take home this week’s tournament titles too. Just as I’ve been there to see the frustration of the local fans, I’ve also seen what is happening on the court. Neither Westwood team is unbeatable. In fact, I’d say it’s no better than a 50-50 proposition the Rockets and Lady Rockets take home championships this Saturday.

And if they do, I think it would be a great showing by our local fans to stand and applaud (for the most part, people already do). I highly doubt any Westwood kids, had any part in moving into the league. They’re playing ball – very well, in fact.

Instead of being suspicious or upset about their inclusion, I’d actually like to take it a step further. I think we should extend invites to more teams into the league.

I’ve long argued that our best middle-school kids should be going to WCMS so they can see the talent they’ll play at high school instead of beating up on the players they’ll need to create bonds with just months later. If this elementary league can expand its reach, maybe kids don’t have to go to WCMS.

The obvious first school to invite would be Covenant Academy. I would have loved to have seen how far 6-foot-8 post Casper Standefer could have carried the Lions this year. It would have been quite the shakeup for a league trending toward small, shifty guards who like to fire from deep.

But why stop there? What about a few of the other schools around this area like Grundy County or Van Buren County?  I’ll confess that I don’t know what they currently do, but maybe they’d like to mix it up. 

In my opinion, bring on anybody who wants in. Better competition will help make better players.