The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Hoops: Playing The Waiting Game

  • Smithpeters makes due, while football continues postseason run
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  • It's not an occurrence as long as Haley's Comet, but it's been the better part of 12 years since Randy Smithpeters took to the basketball court while football was still being played.
    Yet, that was the exact situation the Harrisburg boys' basketball coach found himself in Monday as basketball officially tipped off in the Land of Lincoln.
    With some eight guys still devoting their time to football as the Bulldogs prepare for a Class 4A third round playoff game with Alton-Marquette, Smithpeters' pickings were slim when it came to throwing out a basketball at half court.
    This all coming on the heels of Harrisburg having 20 days from Monday to prepare for the season opener, Nov. 26.
    We had about nine returners from last year out," Smithpeters said.
    Three of those were Tyler Smithpeters, Eli Taborn Scott and Bahari Amaya, while guys like Ryne Roper, Capel Henshaw, Justin Younger, Daniel Lewis, Gabe Oglesby and Dakota Upchurch are still playing football.
    Smithpeters is well aware that it could be a seamless transition from football cleats to high tops, but with a basketball team considered the cream of the crop in southern Illinois and Smithpeters himself needing to implement certain and different aspects to this year's club, he's doing what he can, which is patiently waiting.
    Although, this is not uncharted territory for Smithpeters. The 20th year head coach at Harrisburg High School was in the same situation back in 2000 and if he remembers anything from then it was that "winning breads winning."
    "We've had some really good football teams in the past that come that first Saturday of basketball practice, guys are walking around hanging their head in the gym because they are thinking 'we should be playing X team today.
    "What I know is that in that year of 2000, we had two guys, Kyle (Smithpeters) and Braden Jones miss the first three games of the season and one of those was a 24-point loss to Massac County. We turn around in January and beat them by 24 and that's really what this season is going to be all about for us. We want to be better in February than we are in November," Smithpeters said.
    Smithpeters also recalls that same year and season having about a week long break in-between about three or four games. That's not the case this season.
    Harrisburg will play nearly 1/4 of their schedule in a two-week span, which includes opening up with Gallatin County in the Harrisburg Invitational, playing at the Marshall County Hoop Fest and the SIU Shoot Out.
    "We may take it on the chin a little early and our goal is to be better at the end then we are at the beginning."
    Harrisburg was forced to practice at the middle school Tuesday as Davenport Gymnasium was being used as a polling place.
    Page 2 of 2 - Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister.com. Follow him on Twitter @spydieshooter.
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