This past week signaled the beginning of the high school basketball season. The girls tipped off the Friday after Thanksgiving and this past Friday, the boys took the court for the first time of the 2012-13 season.
Here's what I've noticed, good and bad, from the first week of the season.
In case anyone was wondering: Jeff Rasile is back at McDonald.
If you didn't know, all you had to do was look at Saturday's paper and see the number "94" in the box score.
After a year away, Rasile is back on the sideline for the Blue Devils - which means anyone who attends a McDonald game needs to be ready to not blink for two hours. Because if you do, there's a good chance you could miss 20 points and six steals.
While fans know what to expect out of Rasile, all eyes this basketball season will be on Warren G. Harding and first-year coach Andy Vlajkovich.
Raider fans have become used to a certain way when it comes to basketball - and that's winning. And unfortunately, with the success former coach Steve Arnold had on the football field this season, the pressure is even more on Vlajkovich to produce a winner in Warren.
Vlajkovich has his hands full, as the graduation bug hit the Raiders hard. Hopefully, he finds success, and doesn't have to live in the shadow of his predecessor for long. That will only happen if fans give him time to instill his brand of basketball, and not to make comparisons to the man who held the position last.
The girls' basketball scene is not as predictable as years' past. Howland, for as long as I can remember, has been at the top of the Trumbull County girls' basketball pyramid. For years, it seemed as if the town had a water system that produced tall, quality post players, accompanied by a quick, hot-shooting guard.
However, this year coach John Diehl is working with a smaller lineup and a court full of fresh faces. The tallest player on the roster is 5-foot-11 Gabby Cvengros, who I assume will be seeing a lot of work underneath the basket.
It will be interesting to see how the Tigers fare this year. While they don't have the targets on their backs like years past, they still come from a program that knows how to win. Diehl will make sure that is instilled in this bunch.
I'd like to take you back to a conversation heard on Friday night at the Tribune Chronicle.
Reporter 1: "Man I had a lot of foul shots tonight."
Reporter 2: "Me too, I had 54."
Reporter 3: "Ha, I beat you. I had 70."
Reporter 1: "I beat you all. There were 73 in my game."
Just in three games, Tribune reporters covered games that had a total of 197 foul shots taken. In all on Friday night, out of 14 games that were reported, 636 foul shots were taken on Friday night. That's an average of 45.4 shots per game.
When I was talking to these reporters about why there were an obscene amount of free throws taken, every one had a different answer. In some cases, it was just a sloppy, beginning of the season game. In others, it was the case of referees calling every "tic-tac" foul made.
Either way, 45.4 foul shots a game is not an average that players, coaches, fans or referees want to see continue all season. I hope it cleans up as the year progresses. And if it doesn't, every team better be shooting 90-percent from the line, because they will definitely have had enough attempts to practice.