There are few better cures for seasonal affective disorder than high school basketball. Just as the nights turn bitterly cold, dark and long, dozens of opportunities to walk into brightly lit, raucous high school gymnasiums start showing up on the calendar.
High school basketball is simply the best value for sports fans in town. A few reasons:
1. It's cheap. For less than $10, you can take yourself and two kids to a game, treat them to a snack and put them in seats so close to the court you can eavesdrop on the huddles.
2. The quality of play is tremendous. If you've followed Memorial in recent years, you've seen Michael Nelson, Wesley Matthews and Keaton Nankivil from close range. All three currently start for Division I college teams (North Dakota State, Marquette and Wisconsin, respectively). The Spartans feature Jeronne Maymon, a senior forward bound for Marquette next year, and Vander Blue, a junior guard who has committed to Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Marquis Mason, who is contemplating whether he'll choose basketball or football in college, plays for East High, and D.J. Fuller, another two-sport star, plays for La Follette.
3. Basketball is only part of the show. Student fans are nearly as competitive as the players, with theme nights and costumes becoming de rigueur. Entire student sections clad in black, white, holiday sweaters and hunting gear were spotted last year. And halftime entertainment has come a long way, with show choirs, jazz combos and drill teams taking the floor.
All of the local high schools have boys and girls teams in action this weekend. Check out wishoops.net for schedules and standings.