HomeSchoolsLocal hoops teams hit road for long trips

Local hoops teams hit road for long trips

While seven high school basketball teams from Madison County are playing in the Hub City Classic this week at Liberty Tech, a number of local teams are playing in Florida this week.

The boys’ team at Madison is playing in a tournament in Pensacola. Both teams from Trinity Christian are in Tampa. The South Side Lady Hawks are in Innisfree.

That’s on top of the programs at University School of Jackson and Jackson Christian playing at different places throughout Tennessee ranging from Martin to Greenville.

“The Christmas break has no school, so we’ve got fewer time constraints, so we use that time to take a big trip,” said South Side coach Brent McNeal. “And it accomplishes two things for us.

“It’s a chance for us to get away for a trip that some of these girls might not enjoy if it weren’t for being on the team and for us to grow closer as a team. And then it’s also a chance for us to see teams and put ourselves in situations to help us get better that we might not see before we get deep into the postseason. So it prepares us for postseason play.”

The trip to Pensacola is one Madison coaches Andrew and Jenn Hicks started when they were coaching at Shelbyville in Middle Tennessee and have since continued since returning to Jackson last year.

The teams at Shelbyville alternated which team traveled to Florida each year, and that’s the plan for the Mustangs program as well.

For programs like South Side that have been among the best in the state for the past few years, trips like this become somewhat of a necessity for scheduling purposes.

“It’s not just us because it happens in every sport,” McNeal said. “But when you win a lot of games, a lot of teams decide to put other games on their schedule and leave no room for you.

“There’s a reason we’re going as far as Munford and Ripley for regular season games, because believe me, I’ve tried to schedule road games that weren’t that far away. So if we want to get better, a trip like this one to Florida is one we almost need to take if we want to get three or four days in of quality competition to make us better before we get into district play.”

Brandon Shields,

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