It may have only been a tournament game at a neutral site, but two schools in Copiah County – one private and one public – played basketball games against each other at Hillcrest last Saturday night.
This is not the first time Copiah Academy and Wesson have faced each other on the basketball court. Twice last season and already twice this season the Lady Colonels and Lady Cobras, Colonels and Cobras have squared off. A friendly rivalry is burgeoning that may possibly carry over into other sports. Most of the athletes at each school compete against each other in softball and baseball in the summer, so the idea of matching up is not so far-fetched.
The bigger picture here is that Copiah County is moving forward, thanks to each school’s athletic association opening the door to public-private athletic competition.
The students, the schools and communities benefit in many ways. Firstly, the competitions allow the athletes to gauge themselves against others in the county. Secondly, another game which involves little travel is added to the schedule. Thirdly, the money spent on the contest stays in the county. And, finally, it keeps things interesting. In-county rivalries are always better than anything else.
Hazlehurst and Crystal Springs, of course, compete in nearly every sport. Over the next couple of years beginning in fall 2008, though, the teams will be in separate districts, unlike the past several years. After MHSAA re-districting added another A-level, now 6A, Hazlehurst will compete in Region 7-3A, while Crystal Srings makes the jump to Region 6-4A in football and basketball. Undoubtedly the rivalry will not diminish in what the contests mean to the schools, but–at least in football and basketball–they won’t mean squat in region play.
Could there possibly be Hazlehurst-Wesson, Copiah-Hazlehurst, Copiah-Crystal Springs and Wesson-Crystal Springs match-ups down the road in any sports? At this point nothing is for certain either way. Such contests would most likely occur in baseball, softball, basketball and soccer, but football games as such would be a long shot. One could bet that attendance and interest would be high, even if they were only meeting in Tiddly-Winks.
Hey–it’s Christmas. It’s something else to wish for.