Show Me a dream game: SCC vs. Sikeston

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To athletic director Brent Keefer and superintendent Steve Borgsmiller (Sikeston), AD Ronnie Cookson and superintendent Joel B. Holland (Scott County Central):

It's time to play ball.

Scott County Central vs. Sikeston.

There's no reason the game people have wanted to see for more than 30 years can't happen this season when people want it most, when the matchups are so enticing you could have thousands of people lining up to buy tickets.

Let's make it happen.

Your players want to play it. Your students and your fans want to see it. The fine basketball fans of Southeast Missouri deserve a night that promises to be memorable.

Scott County Central is back, nearly to the basketball powerhouse it was from the late 1970s to early 1990s when it won 12 state championships. The Braves were two points away from a title last year, and with four key players back, they may get to the Class 1 summit this year.

Sikeston also may be in Columbia this season, though the road seems harder in Class 4. The Bulldogs have a rare commodity: a senior standout in Michael Porter who is poised to become a four-time all-stater. And he has a pretty good supporting cast, which makes Sikeston one of the best teams in its class and in the region.

The opportunity to put all that talent on the floor at these two schools doesn't come around that often. Scott County and Sikeston are establishing themselves as the top two teams in the region. They are about nine miles apart and not on each other's schedule.

But whatever stands between the first meeting in the rivalry since 1971 can be resolved, if we act fast, within the week.

The Sikeston Standard Democrat, in an article published Dec. 24, outlined some of the reasons Sikeston no longer plays Scott County Central.

I believe there are solutions for the security and the scheduling, and I believe an enterprising firm would step to the forefront to assist in the initial expenses if all parties agreed to participate.

First, let's start with the facility. We have a big one here in Cape Girardeau, a neutral site capable of holding 7,000 people -- and we might need all of the seats that night. The Show Me Center comes at a reasonable rate, and the people there would love to see it filled again.

It's an environment conducive to security for the students and fans who want to see a great basketball game.

The schedule looks pretty full for both teams, but there's this Feb. 10 date -- a Tuesday -- when both schools are playing nonconference games.

The Show Me Center happens to be available that night.

Sikeston, which dismisses this Scott County game as a contest against a Class 1 school, has Oran on the schedule. No offense to Oran, which has moved from Class 1 to Class 2 just this year, but first-year coach Joe Shoemaker is rebuilding. The Eagles are not in Sikeston's class this year in more ways than one.

That same night, Scott County Central hosts Saxony Lutheran. The Crusaders are a competitive squad with a win against Class 5 Jackson, and they probably are relishing the opportunity to meet the Braves for the second straight year.

But the Crusaders have yet to play in the Show Me Center in their six years of fielding a basketball team. And they also have to realize this night would be history on many levels.

We can offer Saxony its first chance to play in the big house with a 5:45 p.m. start against Oran, a district foe that it also plays in early January. Playing a team multiple times in a season isn't a big deal -- ask Jackson and Cape Central after their five meetings last year -- and this would be the Crusaders' chance to show probably its largest crowd in history how good they are.

At 7:30 p.m., we could play the main event: Bulldogs and Braves. Michael and Otto. Juqualin and Bobby. Cal and Drew.

Crazy? Perhaps.

Impossible? Not really.

After the building rental, some additional expenses for staffing and security, compensation for Saxony's and Oran's inconvenience as well as a chance for those schools to make some money by selling a couple of hundred tickets, I have a feeling your percentage of the gate receipts would cover the costs of travel and have enough left over to benefit the schools and their students in some manner.

I think all that's required is a yes, which can be e-mailed to me at tcarrig@semissourian.com. If you make a commitment to showing up and playing each other, we can get the details worked out.

We can make it happen. We should make it happen.

Sincerely,

Toby Carrig

Toby Carrig is editor of the regional Web site semoball.com

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