By Jody Hargis, Sports Correspondent
The 2020-2021 high school basketball season began this week with the TSSAA Hall of Champion games held across the state. These are games that count in the standings and have become regular season games, even though the official start of the regular season will be Monday night, Nov. 23.
The Yellow Jackets entertained Riverside Christian Academy out of Fayetteville Tuesday night, with two games consisting of a junior varsity and a varsity boys’ game.
The varsity Jackets won 80-60 over the Knights. The JV Jackets also won 60-44.
The Lady Jackets will host the Lady Red Raiders of Coffee County Central High School tonight (Thursday). A junior varsity girls’ game will be played at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity team.
Both the Jackets and the Lady Jackets will play host to North Jackson High School, of Stevenson, Ala., Saturday night, Nov. 21. The Lady Jackets will tip off at 6 p.m.
Monday afternoon the Lady Jackets will play host to the Lady Hawks of Richard Hardy Memorial School in the Richard Hardy Thanksgiving Classic. Game time is set for 3 p.m.
Tuesday night the Yellow Jackets and Lady Jackets will open on the road at Franklin County, with the girls’ game set to tip off at 6 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets had a stellar year during the 2019-2020 season, with a District 7 championship. The dramatic win came with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Jaden Ruehling for a 53-52 win. The Jackets then fell in the Region 4 semifinals to York Institute, of Jamestown, 81 – 67. The team finished the season with a 15-11 record.
The Lady Jackets bowed out in the district tournament and finished with a 9 – 13 record in 2019-2020.
The 2020-2021 version of the Yellow Jackets will be a strong favorite to top the district once again. Along with Reuhling, Thaddaeus Blackburn and Jordan Hackworth will return to the court for their senior season to lead the Jackets. The trio has been playing ball with each other since elementary school and are capable of providing some big numbers for the Jackets.
The Lady Jackets will see one senior returning in McKenzie Broadway. Helping lead the team this year are juniors Abby Childers and Jordan McCullough, both of whom logged many minutes last year to help lead the way.
The big hope this year is that the basketball season will survive, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates across the state and country.