E.A. Sports Today

Friday games moved up

Threat of weather and travel concerns force officials to move up semifinal games in Calhoun County Tournament

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Calhoun County Basketball Tournament officials, keeping one eye on the scoreboard and one on the weather, have decided to move up the start time of Friday’s semifinals to 2 p.m.

“Because of the potential for winter weather and possible travel issues, we will move the start times up two hours,” Jacksonville assistant principal and tournament director Rusty Thrasher said in a statement. “This will allow all spectators and participants to be able to travel safely to and from Pete Mathews Coliseum.”

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Calhoun and other counties from noon Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

No decision has been made as to Saturday’s action, although there is a contingency that if storm models indicate the weather getting here sooner to postpone the semis to Saturday and play the finals on Monday. It is the hope of all concerned the tournament can be completed on time.

Regular-season action resumes Monday. A Monday tournament finish would force an exception in the basketball tournament by-laws that prohibits teams from playing while the tournament is ongoing.

Four games are scheduled Friday: Pleasant Valley-Oxford and the winners of Thursday’s games in the girls semifinals, and Sacred Heart-Oxford and the winners of Thursday’s boys games.

TV24 is scheduled to televise the Friday games live. EA Sports Today first reported the possibility of a weather-related change via social media earlier in the day.

“We want to err on the side of caution,” Thrasher said. “Don’t think anything’s really going to get here in time, but we want to make sure everybody’s able to travel to and from safely.

“Don’t mind a little inconvenience as far as rescheduling everything as long as everybody’s safe. I know it’s not the most ideal thing, but we want to be able to complete the tournament on time. … This is just one of those things we can’t control.”

At least two of the coaches involved in Friday’s games have no problem with the change.

“Our kids are pumped,” Pleasant Valley girls coach Brad Hood said.

“It’s not a big deal for us,” said Oxford’s Joel VanMeter. “I think the biggest thing is you don’t want the crowd size to be affected because of the anticipation of semifinal Friday. You want all the players from all the teams to experience the atmosphere of the semifinal day at the County Tournament.”

Here is the new Friday schedule:

Pleasant Valley girls vs. Oxford, 2 p.m.
Sacred Heart boys vs. Oxford, 3:30 p.m.
Jacksonville girls vs. Saks, 5 p.m.
White Plains boys vs. Anniston, 6:30 p.m.

Talladega County contingency

LINCOLN — Officials at the Talladega County Tournament haven’t made a call yet on their Friday schedule, but they have a plan ready just in case.

If they have to cancel Friday’s games — a decision will be made Friday — they will play the boys semifinals games at 12:30 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, then come back with title games at 6 (girls) and 8:30 (boys).

Officials at the games Thursday night said there would be no change from the original schedule.

On the cover: Anniston coach Schuessler Ware makes a point on the bench during Thursday’s Calhoun County Tournament game. Ware was wearing a T-shirt in support of autism awareness. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

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