High school rivals Campbell County and Anderson County have managed to avoid each other on the basketball court this season, but not because they chose to.
The biggest winter storm in at least a decade dumped several inches of snow on East Tennessee last weekend, which forced postponement of Saturday’s game at CCHS. It was the second time this season that the same game has been canceled because of bad weather.
With only three weeks before the District 3-AAA Tournament is set to begin, the Cougars are quickly running out of time to play their remaining seven games. Six of those seven are district games, which further complicates matters.
“If we have any more cancellations, we’ll be playing on Wednesday night and Sundays,” Campbell County boy’s coach Barry Jones said jokingly.
“We’re running out of days. Going all the way back to my playing days up in Michigan and Indiana, I’ve never seen this many games canceled because of the weather.”
Going into Tuesday night’s game at Knox Halls, the Cougars were scheduled to play seven games over an 11-day period. Campbell County will host Oak Ridge tonight (Thurs.) and travel to AC on Friday. Next week, things get really crazy for the Cougars. They will host AC on Monday and travel to Karns on Tuesday before returning Thursday for back-to-back home games against Knoxville Central and Scott County to close out the regular season.
Prior to Tuesday night, Campbell County had a .500 (5-5) district record and was 9-10 overall.
However, the Cougars have an opportunity to control their own destiny and gain a higher seeding by winning games down the stretch. Last year, Campbell County got hot at tournament time and advanced to the district finals after being seeded fifth going in.
“If someone would’ve told me before this season that we’d be 5-5 (this year), I would’ve said. ‘we’ll take it’,” said Jones, who lost five battle-tested seniors and a talented sophomore from his 2008-09 team.
“We could finish as high as third if we’re fortunate enough to beat (No. 3) Oak Ridge and (No. 4) Anderson County. We play both those teams this week, so we have a shot. If we don’t, it really doesn’t matter if we’re fourth or fifth. It just means the difference between playing at home or on the road.
“I want to avoid having to play Oak Ridge in the tournament simply because they are so athletic. They’ve won eight of their last 11 games or something like that.
“I think Oak Ridge is going to win out; it’s just a matter of how we do against them. If we can stay in that fourth or fifth spot, I think we’ll be okay.”
Jellico High School’s basketball teams also had games postponed because of bad weather, just not as many as Campbell County. In fact, the Blue Devils made a preemptive strike by rescheduling their District 4-A game against Oakdale before the first snowflake fell.
“We moved it up (from Friday) to Thursday so we could go ahead and get it in,” said Jellico boy’s coach Mike Reynolds.
“As long as we don’t get any more snow, we’ll be alright.”
The Blue Devils (7-3 district, 13-8 overall) were tied with Oneida for third in the district after their 66-42 victory over Oakdale last week.