Nobody asked me but...what Sikeston basketball fans have been thirsting for over eight months is finally upon us, the start of another high school boys basketball season.
What has caused this stir across the coffee shops and living rooms all across this wonderful town? Right or wrong, ever since the Bulldogs had a storybook run through the playoffs and finished second in Class 4, the town-folk have amped up expectations for a team that returns a majority of the starting lineup from a season ago.
What is in store for the Bulldogs and the rest of the area hoop teams this year? You have made a wise decision to read this column today. Like in football, I will lay it out before they play it out.
* Can Sikeston make a repeat performance and return to Columbia? Class 4, District 1 will come down to two teams...Sikeston and Notre Dame. No offense to Dexter, Fredericktown, Perryville and Ste. Genevieve but the Bulldog teams are in a class by themselves in this district.
Look for a rematch from last year in District 1. It is going to be hard to top the 3,200 screaming fans that filled the Sikeston Field House in the last meeting between the two schools.
Sikeston hosts the tournament again and it should make for a wild scene again this March. Both schools seem to be knocking heads in every sport around district time and a rivalry is growing. What once was confined to the soccer pitch, has flowed over to the basketball court.
I went out on a limb last season and predicted that Sikeston would make the final four in my NAMB column a year ago. As for this year, I believe the Bulldogs are hungry and more experienced. Sikeston finished second in Class 4 last season. I believe Sikeston is better this year. No predictions, just a smile and a wink to the "Dog Pound."
* Last season, your humble scribe questioned the attendance patterns of the Bleacher Bums and Red Peppers. Same goes for this year, if the attendance lags from the student section, I have eyes everywhere.
* Charleston is loaded this year in basketball and should make another appearance at the final four in Class 3. It is official, whenever I write about Charleston basketball I will refer to the program as "The Factory." I believe everyone will agree it fits.
* Fast facts about the upcoming season...
-- Bobby Hatchett of Scott County Central and Kony Ealy of Portageville will make big impacts as freshmen this year.
-- Tony Jones of East Prairie will turn some heads on the court with his play. -- Oran will defeat Scott Central in the first round of the Oran Invitational. -- Malden will win the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament for the first time since 1988.
And finally, nobody asked me but...a few closing remarks on the football season that was. I have to give credit to East Prairie head coach Corey Adkisson for surviving a tough season.
Early, in what was to be a promising season for the Eagles, Adkisson kept discipline as the first rule of law at East Prairie. I was extremely impressed with the way Adkisson handled the entire situation.
Second, the East Prairie football team donated $1,000 to the Kenny Rogers Center. For this and the handling of a tough situation, Adkisson is the coach of the year in my eyes.
Ste. Genevieve head coach football coach Bob Stolzer runs a solid program and is in contention for the state playoffs seemingly every season. But the way the entire Ste. Gen program handled the passing of center Brad Colbert before the playoff game against New Madrid County Central was impressive.
A nice program was put together to honor the life of Colbert and was very moving. Just a class act move by Ste. Gen.