Hoops has begun

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

January has arrived and it brings with it not only a new year, but in the eyes of this sports fan, a new season.

Football is a big deal around here and the transition from the gridiron to the basketball court is an awkward one.

It never seems much like basketball season until after our Roanoke-Chowan News Herald Holiday Classic tournament has ended.

Now that the Classic has come and gone, here are a few things I noticed about some of our local teams.

Hertford County is loaded.

I have said it once and I will say it many more times, Charles Simmons may have his best team ever with this year’s squad.

The Bears’ roster is about 12 deep and full of talent.

Simmons has at his disposal great defenders, post players, outside marksmen, ball handlers and utility players that are capable of doing all of the above.

Many sports fans (myself included) felt Hertford County might run into a few issues regarding ball distribution.

Everyone on that roster can score and I have seen a bunch of teams falter despite overwhelming talent due to a lack of team play.

These concerns seem unfounded when watching the Bears play thus far.

Coach Simmons and his squad have done a tremendous job in regards to keeping everyone involved.

This should pay off later as they prepare for the postseason.

Bertie played pretty well given their lack of depth and experience.

The Falcons should be much improved by the end of the season and although I doubt they make the postseason, they will be a team that playoff bound squads will want to avoid.

Speaking of Bertie, it was nice seeing Calvin Moore back on the sidelines again.

Although he has made appearances at the last two Classics, this was his first back as a head coach.

He seemed to do extremely well and as Gattis Hodges and I discussed, he again removed all doubts as to who is the best dressed coach in North Carolina.

Much like the Hertford County men’s squad, the Lady Falcons are head and shoulders above everyone else in the area.

The Carolina bound Jessica Breland did not disappoint fans as she led Bertie to their fifth straight title and her third consecutive MVP.

The championship did not come easily however as Joan McCullough and her Lady Bears team aggressively defended Breland and dared her teammates to score.

The strategy worked to perfection in the first half and may have given McCullough’s team just the confidence they need as they prepare for conference play.

It looks to be Bertie and Hertford County again leading the way in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

I guess even in a new year some things don’t change.

I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is david.friedman@r-cnews.com. See ya next week!