Weather hinders Braves, Bulldogs

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Scott County Central boys basketball coach Ronnie Cookson said Feb. 11 is just another high school basketball game.

He has bigger things to worry about right now.

"The power is out down here and it's a helluva mess," Cookson said Friday night, when the Braves were supposed to be playing Chaffee. "It's very depressing."

The snow and ice that rolled through Southeast Missouri early this week has left thousands without electricity, including many in the hard hit Scott County cities of Sikeston and Morley.

Neither Sikeston nor Scott County Central has been in school since the end of the day Monday.

What that means for the basketball teams at Sikeston and Scott County Central is several days lost from the 2008-09 season.

"It's tough when you miss five days of practice," Cookson said.

The Braves had two games on the schedule wiped out -- Tuesday's nonconference game at Notre Dame and Friday's Scott-Miss Conference contest at Chaffee.

Sikeston had a workout Friday in its girls gym. Cookson hoped his Braves players could get together somewhere today for a shoot-around.

"I think most of them can get out of their houses now that the streets are cleared," said Cookson, who had talked with his players by phone.

But he added it could be several more days before power is restored, schools are back in session and the schedule is back to normal.

Sikeston (13-2), ranked seventh in the state in Class 4, and Scott County Central (15-1), ranked second in Class 1, are set to tangle Feb. 11 at the Show Me Center for the first time since 1971.

Rather than seeing it as an object of focus for his players, Cookson said at this point, "It's going to be a helluva distraction. If we don't get some practice in, we could be so far out of shape we'll have a hard time getting up and down the floor."

It is going to be a packed house at the Show Me Center, which opens its doors at 5 p.m. Feb. 11 for the opening game of the doubleheader: Saxony Lutheran vs. Oran, scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Show Me Center box office was closed Tuesday and Wednesday after the storm, but officials reported some ticket sales in the last two days to push the expected crowd over 6,000.

Show Me Center officials said 6,145 tickets had been sold before 5 p.m. Friday and 699 remained.

Ticket sales kicked off a week prior with 3,647 tickets sold on Jan. 23 and 2,116 more sold Saturday and Monday for a total of 5,763 in the first three days of sales Monday before the storm.

"It's just two high school basketball teams playing," Cookson said. "It really surprises me that so many people would pay to get into the ballgame, but it means something to a lot of people."

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