Hey basketball, how have you been? I missed you dearly. My favorite sport to play, and one of my favorites to watch, is back in the limelight this week.
Basketball returns to the prep schedule and will be joined by wrestling and more swimming in the coming weeks as winter hits full swing and fall becomes a distant memory.
The Lady Cats Invitational is the big kick-off event, taking place Friday and Saturday in the Cat’s Den. North Murray’s girls play Martin Luther King Jr. at 6 p.m. Friday while Dalton’s girls face Christian Heritage right after. On Saturday, the Lady Mountaineers play the Lady Catamounts and M.L King and Christian Heritage face off in a battle of Lady Lions. This is the first test for the Christian Heritage girls program after back-to-back trips to the Georgia Independent School Association Class 2A semifinals. M.L. King is a Class 5A school out of Lithonia and Region 6-5A.
On Tuesday, the first scrimmages take place. Ringgold hosts Dalton, and Northwest Whitfield hosts North Murray. The girls start at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow.
On Thursday, Murray County hosts Tennessee’s Polk County, while Southeast Whitfield takes on Sonoraville in a scrimmage. Both start with the girls at 6 p.m. and the boys right after.
n Hey, what about the red and white football team? Yes, Dalton soundly defeated Pickens in the Region 7-4A play-in game to garner a No. 3 seed into the Class 4A state playoffs.
Carver-Atlanta is the destination on Friday as the Catamounts are scheduled to start at Lakewood Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Panthers are 9-1 on the year and the Region 6-4A No. 2 seed after a 42-14 loss to Marist in the region championship game this past Friday night.
A win would be the first Dalton playoff victory since 2005.
In other 4A playoff action around Northwest Georgia, Ridgeland plays host to Washington, Gilmer travels to Marist and River Ridge hosts Grady. In Class 3A, Cartersville hosts Jackson County, Hart County will visit Adairsville, Ringgold travels to North Oconee and Gordon Central is at Morgan County.
In Class 2A, Calhoun will host Wesleyan, Westminster visits Pepperell, Model travels to Greater Atlanta Christian and Coosa is at Lovett.
n Swimming started last week with Dalton, Northwest and Union County’s tri-meet. This week, it’s Dalton hosting Ringgold and Heritage-Catoosa on Thursday starting at 6 p.m. Wrestling begins, too, with Northwest heading to a tri-meet Friday at Ringgold with Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. Southeast Whitfield will compete at the Alexander Duals in Douglasville.
n This is the final notice for athletic directors and coaches at all local middle schools and high schools to send in their schedules and rosters for winter sports (basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving) as soon as they’re finalized so we can begin putting together the area prep schedule for our readers.
Information should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and any questions should be directed to Marty Kirkland, sports editor, at email@example.com or (706) 272-7742.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen, and he used to have a hat that said, “Basketball is life; the rest is just details.” Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.