Every season in each sport, there come times when I say to myself (or someone else), “Wow, that was a pretty good game.”
Even sometimes I say, “That’s probably the best game I have seen this season.”
That’s what happened last Monday when Smithville and Nettleton faced off in boys’ basketball. I said after the game that it was probably the best one I had seen so far this season.
It’s pretty early in the season so far – probably about three to four full weeks, but the games up until that point hadn’t really been anything super memorable, at least the ones I covered, although our stringer, Ty Brown, got to see a good one between Aberdeen and Okolona. Many of mine had followed the same pattern – 53-4, 75-15, etc.
But Smithville and Nettleton put on a show for those of us who were there on Monday. It was probably the most back and forth game I have been to so far, and who doesn’t love a game winner with just two seconds to go? And that was after Nettleton had pulled ahead just a few seconds before that.
Last week, I wrote about what some of my initial impressions were about our teams so far now that I have seen all of them, and the Smithville boys were the ones I said had impressed me the most in the early season.
That hasn’t changed, and the Seminoles and their 4-0 record are certainly grabbing more people’s attentions than just mine. I said last week that they still needed a big challenge, and they certainly got that with the win over Nettleton.
They have experience coming back with all five starters having played key roles on the team for the last three years. As coach Nick Coln pointed out last week too, they have plenty of different ways to beat someone – really good shooters, presence inside, the ability to drive to the basket, etc.
What has stood out to me though as their biggest strength so far is energy – I have seen them three times, and they have played with that same energy and intensity from the start of a game to the end, and whether it’s been a one-point game or a 40-point blowout.
Last week I also saw Baldwyn, one of the two teams that everyone has pointed out as a favorite in Class 1A, and the other favorite, Ingomar, is also in Smithville’s division. It was just their second game, but it’s easy to see why they are favorites, but I think if the Seminoles can keep it up, they are going to have a good shot to compete with the best in their division.
Our teams are all in different situations when it comes to division play – Amory and Nettleton will be starting that next week, while everyone else doesn’t until January and only plays the teams in their division once.
These first games of the season before division play are when everyone works out the kinks, establishes their identity and figures out what they have to do to be competitive when the games that count the most are upon them.
Some teams have more time to do that than others, and it’s going to be fun over the next month as we see how each team progresses and improves.