It was a rough week for local basketball fans. Our high school teams went a combined 1-6 and the Big Blue Cats lost another game — at home no less.
But fear not fans it will get better. How do I know? Well…you gotta have faith. After all the Steelers went to Baltimore and beat the Ravens without their star quarterback. If that can happen, then anything can happen (That one’s for you Faz).
At least some of the local fans are going to get relief this week. The first edition of the inter-county rivalry was played last night, which means a part of the Henry County community could go to bed happy.
Friday night the Wildcats play another district rival in Gallatin County. I know their boys’ team lost a lot from last year’s team, but I also know that Coach John Jones’s team will be competitive as usual.
The Wildcats also take on Shawe Academy of Madison on Saturday. The Cats have a busy week, but one that could be very successful. It could also be a week where they look back and wonder how things got away.
One thing we know for certain about this young Wildcat team is that, right now, they are very inconsistent. Their North Bullitt win last week had moments where the team looked very good and moments where they could have been beaten by anybody.
The same goes for the Western Hills game. They were not very good in the first half but played decently, at least offensively, in the second half. The Wildcats will be a pretty good team if they learn to focus for 32 minutes.
As for the girls’ team, they will face what I’ve been told is a strong Gallatin team.
The Lady Cats are still trying to find their way since losing sophomore Megan Payton to a knee injury in their last pre-season scrimmage.
Payton got the news this week that her season is over due to a torn ACL. The Lady Cats have now lost three projected starters from last year. It will take some time for them to round into form.
The Warriors take on Trimble County Friday night. While the team lost its opener, there is still belief that this will be one of the better Warrior teams in a long while. They are quick, athletic and have some depth. They need to gel and tighten up their ball handling and things should be good for the Warriors.
The Warriors girls’ team had only its encounter with the Lady Cats this week. They also have a chance to be better this year. Tiffany Thomas and Savannah Mertz showed improved offensive skills in the opener against Paris. That should bode well for the Warriors as they move forward this season.
Hand-wringing in Big Blue Nation
On the college level the Big Blue Nation is beginning to panic. I’ve talked to a few Cats fans who understand that patience is needed and that it is not realistic to think this team is capable of being as good as last year’s team, but many Cat fans are not buying it. They are like a little kid in a candy store. You take them in the candy store and get them what they want, but when you turn to leave they want more, more, more.
Sorry Cats fans, but it doesn’t work that way anymore. There has only been one back-to-back NCAA champion in the last decade and before that it goes all the way back to ’91-’92 and anybody who thinks another Wooden-like dynasty can happen is delusional beyond all reason.
So relax, Cats fans. Sit back and watch this team go through growing pains this year. Who knows, maybe watching them struggle early will make their tournament run more enjoyable even if they don’t make it all the way to the final.
Finally, stop fretting about the fact that Nerlens Noel is not Anthony Davis. A player like Davis comes along about once a decade. People understand how much better he is than the average McDonald’s All-American. Aside from his great athletic talent, he had “it.” It is that indefinable thing that makes some people champions. Not many 18- or 19-year-olds come along and have the ability to make the crucial play in so many big games. It wasn’t always a basket, but Davis always got the big block or the important rebound.
Noel may turn into that some day or he may just be a very good, not great, collegiate player. That should be okay, but this is Big Blue Nation where every blue chip recruit is expected to be the next Michael Jordan. I hope he can handle the pressure.