Tuesday, February 02, 2010

SPORTS >> Climate changes schedule

Leader sports editor

Winter weather put a crimp in the basketball schedules last week, but as quickly as the precipitation began to melt, most area athletic directors were already putting contingencies in place.

Jacksonville, of the 6A-East Conference, and Cabot, of the 7A-Central, had their respective games with Mountain Home and at Russellville postponed Friday as snow and ice blew into Arkansas.

But both schools had Tuesday open this week, and it was a fairly easy decision to move the games to that date.

“We’re doing everything from Friday on Tuesday,” Jackson-ville athletic director Jerry Wilson said as school was back in session Monday.

All of the 7A classification had an open Tuesday to allow for a simple rescheduling of Friday’s postponements, meaning Cabot was at Russellville on Tuesday night.

Most schools in the 6A-East also had Tuesday free as a first option for rescheduling. Only Marion and Little Rock Parkview had a regularly scheduled game against each other Tuesday and would have to find another night to make up their Friday games.

Parkview had been scheduled to play at West Memphis on Friday and Searcy was supposed to travel to Marion.

Smaller schools like Lonoke were trying to squeeze in the postponed games where they could. Lonoke’s Friday home game with Southside Batesville was moved to Wednesday.

North Pulaski moved its game at White Hall to Friday, Feb. 26, meaning the Falcons, already scheduled to host White Hall in the regular-season finale Feb. 23, will face the same team twice in one week.

Wilson moved more quickly than many to reschedule the Red Devils’ and Lady Red Devils’ Friday games. With Mountain Home looking at a 3 ½-hour bus trip, Wilson called the game and notified local media on Thursday, before the bad weather had really rolled in.

“I’d already made the decision,” Wilson said. “We had a meeting on Wednesday and they were expecting 8 to 12 inches, so we already rescheduled.”

Wilson also had to take into account that Jacksonville had its basketball homecoming scheduled for the Friday games with Mountain Home. The sooner he could reschedule, the easier it would be for parents, members of the homecoming court and others to change their plans.

Tipoff for the Jacksonville-Mountain Home girls game was 5 p.m. to allow for the on-court ceremonies.

“We just bumped up the time and we’ll go right on down the road,” Wilson said.

Most important, Wilson said, was the issue of Mountain Home’s safety.

“It’s so ironic, it always seems to be Mountain Home, too,” Wilson said of the postponement of the games with the Bombers and Lady Bombers. “We’re looking out for the safety of the kids. That’s what it’s all about. When you’re on a bus with kids traveling 3 ½ hours, you’ve got to be sure of the safety of the kids.”