Getting fired up about the start of basketball

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The sound of squeaky shoes on the hardwood in the fall is the equivalent to the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer and also means basketball season is in the air.

While the beginning of the season is bullied by the older brother named “football,” there isn’t any doubt basketball is capable of standing on its own backboards, especially in Warren County.

Getting a look at Vicksburg and Warren Central’s teams, during practice and speaking with individual coaches, I’ve picked up on the identity of each squad and am excited to see them in action this week.

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It’s going to be interesting to watch Vicksburg junior Kirk Parker’s offensive ability in the post and how he uses his size to his advantage. While he isn’t the first 6-foot-4, 220-pound high school player I’ve seen before, he’s definitely the first I’ve covered as a journalist.

Over at Warren Central, the boys’ team genuinely like each other, which is big in any group setting where trust is a major factor. There is nothing more detrimental or deteriorating to a team then negative energy on the bus or locker room.

Vicksburg girls’ coach Barbara Hartzog has stressed to me to talk with the players and get their take on the team’s performance. It’s admirable how she puts the emphasis on her team as a unit and not individuals, to make sure no player is above another, providing for a healthy atmosphere.

Warren Central girls coach Jackie Martin-Glass wants her team to be a combination of defensive grit and offensive hustle. The Lady Vikes have a very young core with the majority of the team composed of nine sophomores who will grow and win together for the next few years.

The one thing I enjoy more about girls’ basketball as opposed to the boys is the intelligence they possess about the game. It can be easy for a guy to rely on his physical ability to fight through the hoop and dunk or score on a post layup, but women have to develop a higher IQ to get around defenders, fight over screens and finish at the rim.

I’m also excited for the season because I’m excited to see my writing grow and for the community to better enjoy my work. Basketball has always been my favorite sport and I’m more comfortable watching and analyzing games than I have been football or volleyball. Good luck to all the teams in Warren County this season.

Alex Swatson is a sports writer. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, Ext. 178, or via email at