Bball time again

Published 2:01 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
The new season is upon us and it is a time to celebrate and be sad. Because I am really a fan of all sports and I hate to see one season end, but I am ecstatic about the next season to begin.
As everyone knows, the football season is officially over in this area. It was over when Northview and Escambia County High School were knocked from the playoffs prematurely.
But now the basketball fans in the area are jumping for joy that their season is finally here. Last year saw one brand new head varsity basketball coach each of the three area schools. The Blue Devils were led by first-year coach Jerome Antone, the Chiefs by Shane Reid and the Cougars by Kevin Woods.
The Blue Devils rode their new coach to a spectacular season and a regular season and tournament area championship. The Chiefs saw an improvement from the previous season and they were so close to a winning season at 12-13. And Woods took the Cougars through a tough season that saw only seven players on the squad.
Now this year, two of those coaches get to prove how they can do in their sophomore year. Antone and Woods are still at the helm of the Blue Devils and Cougars, respectively.
But there are again three new coaches in the Atmore area. Andy Gorum steps into Heath Gibson's shoes as the new coach of the Lady Cougars. Over in Bratt former professional basketball player Leonard White takes control of the Chiefs after Reid's departure. And in Atmore, the era of Todd Reynolds begins for the Lady Devils.
All three of these coaches seem to have what it takes to lead their teams to the playoffs. All I know is it will be another great basketball season in the Atmore area. And I am ready to cover all of these teams for the second time.
It should be an interesting year because I will be able to experience how much each of these teams will make their run at the postseason. For some people the basketball season has snuck up on them.
I did not like the sport of basketball before I started working here at the Advance and had to cover it for my job. Going out there and seeing the hard work and dedication each of these young men and women pour onto that court has changed my mind.
I had been turned off of the sport after Michael Jordan retired, the first time. I was living in Chicago when the Bulls made their run of six championships in eight years and I was loving the sport then because it seemed to mean teamwork, and Michael Jordan, could win a championship.
Then he retired and the sport quickly deteriorated in the minds of many people because the face of the league was gone. Then came the draft class of 2003 to breath a breath of fresh air into the atmosphere of the NBA. Lebron James, Carmelo Anhony and Dwayne Wade have revitalized the game.
And this is about the same time I covered my first high school game. I realized that the high schoolers had so much passion for the game. I was brought back to the sport.
But there is always the annual March Madness that brings many people together around the sport of basketball.
So I am glad to start another season of basketball and it should be an interesting one at that.
Matthew Nascone is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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