There’s still leaves on the trees, in fact so many so, people have to be dreading when they all finally come down. That’s a lot of raking yet to do.
There’s still some nice weather outside. People can still fish, hunting season has begun and golf season isn’t quite over yet.
And above all, we’re only halfway through football season.
So forgive me if it seemed just a little odd to be sitting inside the Armory Gymnasium on a Saturday afternoon in early October watching the MSU-Northern Lights and Skylights play meaningful college basketball games. It was a little odd to me considering the North Carolina Tar Heels don’t even hold their annual “Late Night with Roy” until Friday night – that’s Carolina’s annual event to kick off their first day of basketball practice. I know, I’m a nerd when it comes to things like that.
But odd or not, it was good to see the Lights and Skylights back on the hardwood.
The Northern women and men both quickly dispatched the King’s University Eagles on Saturday, and both teams turned their respective games into blowouts before halftime.
But the lopsided margin of victory aside, it was interesting to see Northern basketball back in the fold because when last we saw the Lights and Skylights, things weren’t going as well as they did Saturday in Havre.
The Northern women had a long wait to start a new season, and start a road to redemption. The Skylights went 13-18 last year, lost in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs and also had to say goodbye to a pair of greats in Samm Schermele and Taylor Keller.
So it was good to see Northern looking sharp, excited and intense in its first game of what is sure to be an exciting 2011-12 campaign.
I know it’s only one game, but I saw plenty of positives out of the Skylights on Saturday, including the return of Laci Keller. The former Big Sandy prep star hasn’t played a real game since March of 2010, so seeing her healthy again is something to be very jazzed about. I also saw Northern showcase good young players like Taylor Cummings and Rachelle Bennett, while JC transfer Nikki Tresch is already looking like the shooting guard the Skylights will need for the upcoming season.
All-in-all, it was a good day for the MSU-N women.
On the men’s side, things were close to what I imagined they would be. The Lights are loaded with talent, returning every player from last year’s Frontier championship team. But as Northern head coach Shawn Huse pointed out, the Lights too ended last season with a loss – albeit in the NAIA national tournament.
Yes, the Lights were one of the only 32 teams left playing in March a year ago, but that loss in Kansas City has seemed to serve as a springboard for this season.
I fully expected Northern to beat up on the Eagles Saturday, but the ferocity in which the Lights played defense, the speed in which they ran in transition and the high percentage they shot from the outside went above and beyond what even I expected from a season-opener.
And with how good, talented and experienced this Lights’ team is, I expected a lot.
Like the Skylights, it was also a good day for the Lights, and now both teams are off and running.
Yes, I could still play golf tomorrow and yes, there’s still all kinds of local football to be played around these parts this fall, if fall is actually even really hear yet.
I'm glad for that too because I love covering football, I love fall and with basketball comes winter and I would like to think none of us are in any hurry to welcome in the winter that's predicted to hit the Hi-Line in the coming months.
But make no mistake, on Saturday afternoon, the Lights and Skylights emphatically announced that basketball season is here now, whether any of us were actually ready for it or not.