Chillicothe (Mo.) HS basketball Hornets not home much until February

Winter sport slates review; cage 'jamboree' here Tuesday

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

Any fans of Chillicothe High School’s 2021-22 boys’ basketball teams who want to watch them play in person will need to sing along with Willie Nelson until February, because the Hornets will be on the road again – and again and again – after prospectively making their season debut at home just before Thanksgiving.

Even as two CHS fall sports teams extended their seasons to this weekend and perhaps beyond – forcing postponement of Monday’s planned “Meet the Hornets” event (although public-welcome intrasquad basketball scrimmages still will occur that night, starting at 6:30 p.m.), athletics director Dan Nagel announced Thursday, preseason practices for the winter sports (basketball and wrestling) have been underway for a couple of weeks.

Those preparations are pointed toward scheduled regular-season openers on Tuesday, Nov. 23, for the basketball Hornets and Lady Hornets and a Thursday, Dec. 2, home debut for the wrestling Hornets and Lady Hornets.

Before those basketball games start to “count,”, Chillicothe again is slated to host a 3-schools hoops “jamboree” of scrimmages also involving neighbors Trenton and Brookfield this coming Tuesday, beginning at 5 p.m.

The “jamboree” will commence with the Lady Hornets and Trenton meeting for three 6-minutes segments, followed by the same for those schools’ boys’ squads.

The Trenton and Brookfield girls and boys will follow, starting at about 6:30 p.m., before Chillicothe and Brookfield wrap things up with girls’ and then boys’ scrimmages projected to begin at about 8 p.m.

There will be admission charged for the “jamboree” ($5 for adults, $3 for students, Nagel reports) to help cover costs for officials, etc.

Once regular-season competition begins, the basketball Hornets will make themselves scarce from local eyes.

If the Nov. 23 girls/boys home varsity doubleheader against Hamilton: Penney happens – both Chillicothe’s and Hamilton’s football teams still are in competition and could be then, which likely would lead to their game being postponed, returning head coach Tim Cool’s Hornets would make only one other game appearance on their home court until February while playing up to 13 times on the road.

CHS’ only boys’ basketball home date in December or January (assuming the Hamilton game doesn’t have to be rescheduled and lands in that calendar window) is due to be on Tuesday, Jan. 4, when they and the girls are due to usher in 2022 with a varsity/JV quadruple-header against Lawson.

While the Lady Hornets will have had one December home tilt in the interim – Saturday, Dec. 18, vs. Columbia: Hickman – and two subsequent January home appearances (Jan. 7 vs. St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond and  Jan. 21 vs. Marshall), the Hornets will be nomads, journeying as far away as Camdenton.

Once February arrives, however, Chillicothe hoops fans can, by and large, put the gearshift in park and enjoy a bunch of home-floor play, including four varsity doubleheaders (some also involving jayvee action).

Of the Hornets’ eight regular-season varsity contests in February (assuming no postponements crowding in), six will be in the CHS gym. The Lady Hornets similarly will have five of seven pre-district games in February in front of the home crowd.

Outside of possible tournament opposition, the varsity-level basketball schedules don’t involve any “new” excursions or foes. For the second-straight years, both programs again will compete in the same three tournaments – Savannah Nov. 29-Dec. 4, Lawson Jan. 10-15, and Cameron Jan. 24-29.

Under recent Missouri State High School Activities Association procedures, Chillicothe does not yet have confirmation of whether it again will compete in Class 3 in the postseason, as has been the case most of the past half-dozen years, or elevate to Class 4 again. Neither does it know what other schools will be in its district.

Once classifications and districts are settled, the process of determining host sites for district tournaments will occur, with public disclosure of the sites not likely until late December or early January.

On the wrestling front, Chillicothe’s boys have two December home appearances planned, another two in January (including the second-annual Chillicothe Invitational Saturday, Jan. 14-15), and the regular-season finale against Hallsville on Feb. 3.

As was the case last year, in addition to their own event, the Hornets’ home slate includes varsity-level invitational tournaments at Pleasant Hill Dec. 3-4, Carrollton Dec. 10-11, Moberly Dec. 17-18, Cameron Jan. 8, and Odessa Jan. 29.

The Midland Empire Conference Championships will be conducted at St. Joseph: Benton Jan. 22, with the district tournament Feb. 11-12 (site TBA) and the state tournament due to return to Mizzou Arena in Columbia with its normal 3-days format Feb. 17-19.

For the Lady Hornets grapplers, they’ll share the mat at the middle school fieldhouse with the Hornets for the Dec. 2  home opener against Marshall.

Their only other home outing, however, will be in the Jan. 14-15 Chillicothe Invitational.

Interestingly, but a bit surprisingly, the girls’ Midland Empire Conference Championships (conference tournament) is listed as occurring only a couple of weeks into the season on Dec. 14, long before competitors will have been shaped and sharpened by their competition during the season.

Chillicothe’s girls also are listed in participating in a Dec. 10 tournament at Excelsior Springs and a Brookfield tourney Jan. 21 before their district tourney in, apparently, early February.

Chillicothe’s winter sports head coaching roster is unchanged from the past half-dozen years. Cool is in charge of boys’ basketball for the 11th year and Darren and Chad Smith of the basketball girls and wrestling, respectively, for an eighth season. Wrestling assistant Joey Rinehart handles oversight of the female squad.