HILLARY SMITH: Thank Mother Nature as the playbook is thrown out the window

2014-02-02T21:00:00Z HILLARY SMITH: Thank Mother Nature as the playbook is thrown out the windowHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 02, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

Some girls basketball teams prefer to ease their way into the postseason.

They're happy to end their regular season on Feb. 1 and take a week to prepare after the sectional draw.

Other teams want to back load games, play the toughest and the best and be roaring into the playoffs.

Mother Nature had other ideas.

Hanover Central's original schedule had the Wildcats playing two games this week: against Kouts and North Newton.

As it is, Hanover has three conference games left to play, thanks to postponements and movement because of the weather. A game against Westville was canceled and there are multiple inches of snow predicted for Tuesday, when the Wildcats are slated to play Kouts.

What does that mean for Hanover Central, which would like to be able to prepare for New Prairie?

"We do have to worry about makeups," coach Doug Nelson said. "We have Whiting (today), then two other conference games to get in. Then after that, as we get closer to the weekend, we can start working on New Prairie."

Merrillville was a team that had back-loaded its schedule. The Pirates play Penn today (originally scheduled for last week), but lost a game against Northridge (14-4). The Raiders had to drop Merrillville in order to fit in remaining conference games.

Merrillville hasn't played since Jan. 25, though it was supposed to have played two games last week. The Penn game has been rescheduled twice.

"The past week was a lost week for us," Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. "As long as we play (today) at Penn, and later this week at Kankakee Valley, those are two tough road games and will help us prepare. Hopefully the weather helps out a little bit, too."

The game against the Kingsmen was originally scheduled for Jan. 4.

The first counter to most complaints about the weather is that everyone has to deal with it. However, all teams are dealing with it in different ways.

At some schools, if classes are canceled, so are all after-school activities, regardless of the reason for canceling class. At other schools, the discretion is left to the coach to make practice optional if school is canceled.

So while some teams are practicing, others aren't.

Defending sectional champ Lake Central is one of the lucky teams. The Indians had planned to have all of last week without a game. They're completely caught up with postponements, survived without a cancellation and — as long as Tuesday's game against Andrean is played — could end the season with all 20 scheduled games.

L.C.'s preparation for the sectional opener against Highland can start as soon as the Indians are ready.

"I think we'll approach it like we do most games, with three or four days leading up and really focusing on the game plan of what we're going to do," Lake Central coach Marc Urban said.

The temptation to stare down Mother Nature certainly exists for most region basketball fans, whose preseason schedules are filled with ink blotches and eraser marks.

However, the sectional tournament is a weeklong, and that's too much time to anger Mother Nature.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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