Football season is in week 10, so it must be time to start thinking about basketball.
Practice actually began officially last Friday for girls basketball all across Ohio. The first day for boys basketball practice will be Friday of this week.
If that sound early, it is — the seasons start a week earlier than they have for the past several seasons. Girls basketball has normally begun the weekend of Thanksgiving, but the season openers are slated for the week before, with opening night being Nov. 20.
It’s the boys that will start on Thanksgiving weekend this year.
Shelby County is once again home to a defending state champion. The Fort Loramie girls captured the Division 4 state title last season, just a couple of months after the school’s volleyball team did the same.
This season, coach Carla Siegel’s team will open on Saturday night, Nov. 21, with a home game against Tipp City.
The Sidney Lady Jackets, who finished with a 22-2 record last season, will open at home on Nov. 20 against the Russia Lady Raiders. It’s become the traditional season opener for both programs.
In the county, there is just one new coach this season, that being Brad Allen, who takes over at Houston after longtime coach Greg Ward retired after last year. Last season, there were three new head coaches when the season started.
Loramie finished with a 26-4 record and the D-4 title last year, Anna was 18-9 under first-year coach Doug Martin, and Jackson Center finished 13-11.
The three Auglaize County girls teams are all coming off excellent seasons a year ago.
Minster, under longtime head coach Nann Stechschulte, was 17-6 last season, while New Knoxville finished 16-8 under coach Tim Hegemier. New Bremen, meanwhile, was 15-9.
And over at Versailles, coach Jackie Stonebraker’s team was 26-4 last season and captured the Division 3 state championship with eight straight tournament wins. They will open this season in the Annie Oakley Shootout at Greenville on Nov. 20 and 21.