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High school basketball season tips off

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Ready or not, here it comes.

The VHSL basketball season begins Monday.

While a handful of schools have postponed boys games because of extended football seasons and a few private schools already have hit the court, by the end of the week almost every Timesland team will have tipped off in 2021-22.

The shortened 2020-21 season is in the books.

Teams are allowed their full, 22-game regular-season schedules.

Invitational tournaments — some of them anyway — are back as travel restrictions have been lifted.

What are some things to watch in 2021-22?

Here’s a starting five:

Whistle-stop tour

Private-school boys basketball in the Roanoke Valley will have an increased Virginia Tech flavor.

Former Tech star guard Shawn Good remains at Roanoke Catholic, but this year he has been joined by new North Cross coach Page Moir.

Moir was the longtime head coach at Roanoke College and is the son of former Maroons and Virginia Tech coach Charlie Moir, playing and serving as an assistant for the Hokies.

Moir is hardly the only new head coach in Timesland.

Both jobs at William Byrd changed, with Brad Greenway leaving the girls post to take the boys position, with former Hidden Valley girls coach Randy Bush taking the Terriers girls job.

Patrick Henry’s new girls coach is Eugene “Blue” Cook, taking over for Mike Hedrick, who left for a new school in Georgia.

Hidden Valley’s boys underwent a late coaching change as Brad Hutchins is filling an interim role following the resignation of Phil Miron earlier this month.

Kevin Garst, who coached Salem’s boys to a state championship in 2014, has returned as the Spartans’ head coach after stepping aside for a year.

Glenvar has a new boys coach in former assistant Cliff Bordewisch.

Other new coaches include: Austin Cooper (Giles boys), Marshall Doss (Grayson County boys), John Mallamaci (Bland County boys), David Williams (Liberty boys), Josiah Somers (Roanoke Valley Christian boys), Robert Winfield (Rockbridge County boys), Matt Linkous (Blacksburg girls), Ryan Firebaugh (James River girls), Scott Jester (Salem girls) and Karen Radford (Floyd County girls).

Also, Billy Hicks, who coached Cave Spring to three VHSL boys state titles, has returned to the bench as a boys assistant under Andrew Hart at Lord Botetourt.

Moving on up

Spencer Hamilton is Timesland’s tallest player at 6 feet, 11 inches.

The Parry McCluer senior also appears to be the area’s top recruit with a Division I scholarship offer from Radford University.

Parry McCluer coach Mike Cartolaro said Wake Forest, Liberty and Virginia Tech are keeping tabs on the slender Hamilton, who projects as a ‘stretch-four’ because of his perimeter shooting ability.

Auburn guard Ethan Millirons already has signed with Division II St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.).

On the girls side, Patrick Henry guard Shelby Fiddler will be in the Division I ranks after signing with Niagara.

Turning to tournaments

The usual in-season tournament schedule has a different look.

The K-Guard Classic at Salem Civic Center, the Lea’s Winter Classic at Roanoke’s Berglund Center, the 540/Flycodes Invitational at William Fleming and the Austin Cloyd Memorial at Blacksburg are not on this year’s slate.

While Cave Spring is not running the tournament in Salem, the Knights are holding a two-day, four-team boys event in its place this weekend with Hidden Valley, Carroll County and Jefferson Forest.

The 2021-22 in-season schedule also includes the following:

Narrows Athletic Foundation, at Narrows H.S. (boys, girls), Dec. 9-11; Roy Stanley Invitational (boys, girls) at Roanoke College: Dec. 11; Jayden Baker Classic at Parry McCluer (girls), Dec. 17-18; Alcova Mortgage Classic at Alleghany (boys, girls): Dec. 17-18; Knights Winter Classic at Cave Spring (girls): Dec. 27-29; Northside Invitational (boys): Dec. 28-30; First Virginia Bank Classic at Fort Chiswell (boys): Dec. 28-30; Chance Harman Classic at Floyd County (boys, girls): Jan. 7-8; Rock the Ribbon at Rockbridge County (boys, girls): Jan. 14-15; Adam Ward Classic at Glenvar (boys, girls): Feb 5.

Lord Botetourt will hold a one-day boys event Dec. 18 for high school teams whose head coaches played at Emory & Henry College for the late Bob Johnson.

Auburn’s boys will take a trip to Florida to play in the KSA Classic on Dec. 16-18.

Carroll County’s girls will play in the Smoky Mountain Classic in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Dec. 20-22.

Pulaski County’s girls are in a tournament in Greeneville, Tennessee, on Dec. 28-31.

The road to Richmond

The VHSL will return its boys and girls state championship games to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond after the 2021 finals were played at high schools across the state.

The finals at VCU will be held March 10-12.

Region runner-ups will advance to the state tournament. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be played at neutral sites.

The VISAA will hold its boys state tournaments March 4-5 at Virginia State University in Ettrick.

Free throws

• Salem will play its home games at Andrew Lewis Middle School because of ongoing renovations at the high school. The Adam Ward tournament has been moved to Glenvar.

• Martinsville’s boys and girls are scheduled to play their first games in more than 20 months after sitting out the entire 2020-21 season because of COVID-19.

• Parry McCluer’s boys (VHSL Class 1), Smith Mountain Lake Christian’s boys (VACA) and SWVa Home School (girls) are defending state champions.

• Patrick Henry’s girls (VHSL Class 5), Pulaski County’s girls (VHSL Class 4) and Roanoke Valley Christian’s girls (VACA) are returning state runners-up.

• North Carolina recruit Tyler Nickel of East Rockingham will appear in the Chance Harman Classic against host Floyd County on Jan. 8.

Contact Robert Anderson at robert.anderson@roanoke.com or 981-3123

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