High School Sports

This week in Midlands hoops

The 2008-09 prep basketball season shifts into high gear this week with a full slate of games around the Midlands.

The official start of the season is tonight when Gilbert travels to face Lexington County rival Pelion, Camden hosts McBee and Newberry play at country rival Whitmire.

Here are a few things of interest in Week 1:

Fairfield Central and Hammond will be the busiest teams in the region with four games apiece. The Class 3A fourth-ranked Griffins start Tuesday at home against Dreher, and then play three games at three nights at the end of the week, including a home-away set vs. traditional Class 1A power Great Falls. FC plays at GF on Thursday, hosts the Red Devils on Friday and closes out the busy week at home against Blythewood. Rebuilding Hammond hosts Northwood on Tuesday and Class 3A Swansea on Wednesday, travels to Hilton Head Prep on Friday and returns home Saturday at face Newberry Academy. The Skyhawks have a short turnaround before meeting SCISA powerhouse Pinewood Prep on Dec. 7.

C.A. Johnson’s 1A eighth-ranked boys team plays Richland 1 rivals Eau Claire (No. 9 in 2A) and Keenan (No. 4 in 2A). The Green Hornets travel to EC on Tuesday, and host the Raiders on Friday.

Lower Richland’s girls and boys teams have two interesting games on tap in the first week of the regular season. On Tuesday, the three-time defending 4A state champion Lower Richland girls (preseason No. 1 in 3A) travel to face defending 2A state champion Keenan, and hit the road again on Friday to face 2A preseason No. 1 Eau Claire. The Diamond Hornets boys, meanwhile, have two tough games, as well. LR is ranked No. 6 in 3A.

The Swansea girls debut against defending 1A Upper State champion and preseason No. 1 Hunter-Kinard Tyler on Tuesday.

The Sumter boys, ranked No. 1 in 4A, have three games on tap, starting with a trip Tuesday to neighboring Lakewood, but the Gamecocks will be short handed because the football team is playing for a state championship on Saturday in Clemson.

Spring Valley’s girls debut under new coach Anne Long and with transfer freshman Asia Dozier in tow Tuesday against Irmo in a game that should provide and early indication of which direction the Vikings are heading.

Ridge View, ranked No. 2 in 4A, hosts Dutch Fork on Tuesday and Richland Northeast on Friday.

This week in Midlands hoops

Monday, Dec. 1

Gilbert at Pelion

McBee at Camden

Newberry at Whitmire

Tuesday, Dec. 2

White Knoll at Airport

Brookland-Cayce at Columbia

C.A. Johnson at Eau Claire

Camden at Chester

Mid-Carolina at Chapin

Crestwood at Manning

Dreher at Fairfield Central

Dutch Fork at Ridge View

Branchville at Gilbert

Irmo at Spring Valley

Lower Richland at Keenan

Lexington at South Aiken

Lugoff-Elgin at Buford

Pelion at Ridge Spring-Monetta

Sumter at Lakewood

Hunter-Kinard-Tyler at Swansea

Ben Lippen at Richland Winn

Northwood at Hammond

Newberry Academy at Heathwood Hall

Wilson Hall at Calhoun Academy

Wednesday, Dec. 3

Richland Northeast at Blythewood

Swansea at Hammond

North Central at Lugoff-Elgin

Hartsville at Manning

Orangeburg Prep at Heathwood Hall

Thursday, Dec. 4

Airport at A.C. Flora

Fairfield Central at Great Falls

Spring Valley at Sumter

Friday, Dec. 5

White Knoll at Brookland-Cayce

Keenan at C.A. Johnson

Lugoff-Elgin at Camden

Chapin at Newberry

Dreher at Columbia

Lower Richland at Eau Claire

Great Falls at Fairfield Central

Ninety Six at Gilbert

Box Hill at Lexington

Pelion at Wagener-Salley

Richland Northeast at Ridge View

Ben Lippen at Wilson Hall

Hammond at Hilton Head Prep

Cardinal Newman at Shannon Forest

Laurence Manning at Heathwood Hall

Saturday, Dec. 6

Blythewood at Fairfield Central

Crestwood at Sumter

Mid-Carolina at Emerald

Great Falls at Newberry

Spring Valley at South Aiken

Newberry Academy at Hammond

Australia at Cardinal Newman (girls only)