TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
For most local high school sports fans the passing of the Thanksgiving holiday means the official beginning of basketball season.
That's been the case here at the Times-Tribune for quite some time as, like clockwork, we release our prep basketball preview section on the Saturday following and this year was no different.
Not to toot any horns, but I never truly knew what kind of work goes into putting the complete section together as it's always been a joint effort with former sports editor Les Dixon doing the bulk (by bulk, I mean almost all) of the work.
Well, I got to experience firsthand just how much it takes to put that section together this season and let me tell you, it was no cakewalk and I'm glad it's done.
While several teams got the season started last night and a bunch more will tip the season off tonight, things really get underway Wednesday with the first of many holiday tournaments.
Though it's a little earlier than some others, the Corbin Lady Redhounds' version of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament gets started Wednesday evening and should prove to be an exciting few days of basketball action.
Not to take anything away from the early week games, but in my opinion there's just something about that tournament atmosphere that gets everyone's juices flowing and gets the season started on an exciting note.
A few years back there was a preseason basketball showcase that took place at The Arena in Corbin, which seemed to get fans and teams jump-started and did a good job of building the anticipation of the season's opening. I'm not sure what happened as far as that preseason showcase, but it was a good event and gave teams a chance to play in a really nice venue before the season started.
If you missed the basketball preview in last weekend's edition, I'll give you a quick rundown of what you missed as far as predictions and players rankings.
The top boys team in the 13th Region as the season gets underway is the defending region champion Clay County Tigers, with Jackson County not far behind them in second place. Knox Central, Bell County and Harlan round out the top five.
As for the top rated player in the 13th Region, Clay County's Chip McDaniel gets the nod with South Laurel's Zac Baxter, Jackson County's Jordan Fox, Knox Central's Matt Barger and Bell County's Tyler Potter rounding out the top five.
On the girls side of things, Bell County is tabbed as the team to beat in the 13th Region thanks to the return of University of Kentucky commit Maci Morris, but the Whitley County Lady Colonels aren't very far behind. Corbin, Clay County and Harlan County round out the top five girls teams.
As for the top girls player in the region, we gave the nod to Whitley County's Brandi Smith. Thanks to her consistency in the clutch last season, I feel like she's a bit better than Morris, but that could change as the season plays out.
Morris was ranked second, while Corbin's Kayla and Miranda Wilson were third and fourth and Harlan County's Brooklyn Massingill was fifth.
Of course these rankings are based on a fair split of statistics and opinion, but still yet, not everyone is going to agree on all areas.
If you missed the preview section, hopefully you'll find a copy laying around somewhere and give it a good once over. If you were able to pick up a copy, thanks for reading and please feel free to give me your opinion on the rankings (be nice) if you happen to catch me at one of the many Tri-County hoops games we'll be at this season.
Until then, happy hoops season and I know it's still a little bit early, but Merry Christmas.