With area private schools Community Christian, Greenfield and Wilson Christian having already tipped off their boys and girls basketball seasons, the public schools are next and Hunt will lead the way Friday night at Northern Nash.
Beddingfield gets under way Tuesday at Nash Central while Fike won't start until Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Greene Central.
Here are some things to keep in mind as another great season of high school hoops heats up.
• Fike boys head coach George Drawhorn is coaching his final season, his 19th as the Golden Demons head coach. Drawhorn has 478 career wins at Fike and Raeford Hoke. He succeeded the legendary Harvey Reid Jr. and has been just the second Fike coach since merger before the 1978-79 school year.
• Three seniors have already signed NCAA Division I scholarship offers (Greenfield's Brian McNair to Gardner-Webb and Beddingfield's Monique Spry and Southern Nash's Alyse Hall to Campbell) and there could be a few more by spring. Fike senior Jeremy Atkinson heads the list of area players still unsigned.
• The level of talent on the court this season will be pretty high. Besides the aforementioned quartet, look for big seasons from Greenfield juniors Brian Richardson and Jeremy Jeffers (both of whom have multiple Div. I offers) as well as Knights juniors Darian Cahill and Jarred Hinton, Hunt sophomore Damont Williams, Beddingfield seniors Jumal Rolle and Jermal Artis and junior Terry Davis, Fike junior Jerell Williams and seniors A.J. Hines and Darrus Parker and powerful Detrail Jenkins inside at SouthWest Edgecombe.
The girls side will have Beddingfield senior Shaniqua Clay, junior Casey Elliott and sophomores Ansia Dial and Vielka Givens, along with Jamie DeRatt who is making her high school basketball debut. Fike's Meredith Pruden, Jameka Thompson and Leslie Finch are a sophomore trio to complement senior guard Tramicka James while at SouthWest Edgecombe senior Monique Williams leads a talented cast including Quanedra Braswell and Nyneka Euwell. Don't forget Shante Neal, Hall's classmate at Southern Nash and rugged Shonice Pettaway at Greene Central and Vickie White and Amber Parrish at Hunt.
• The 33rd Eastern Carolina Classic Christmas Tournament, at Fike this year, will be a Saturday-Monday-Tuesday set-up.
• The Kinston boys should still be tough to beat in the Eastern Carolina Conference and ditto that for the Beddingfield girls, who will be without Spry for most of the season. In the NEW 6, Fike and Rocky Mount will resume their race for the top and the Lady Gryphons, Lady Demons and Ladybirds will challenge SouthWest.