Catawba Ridge’s Carter Hendrick, left, tries to go around teammate Owen Elliott during a recent practice.

While football is fresh on everyone’s brain, basketball season is creeping up rather quickly for Catawba Ridge.

The Copperheads’ varsity basketball teams open the 2020-2021 season this coming week as part of the Milltown Basketball Classic at all three local high schools. Catawba Ridge will tip-off against Andrew Jackson Monday, Nov. 23 in day one of the three-day event.

For the boys’ team, Catawba Ridge returns three players from last year’s team and adds two players who transferred in.

“We got some really good shooters,” said boys’ head coach Brett Childers. “If we can make some shots, we should be okay. We got a nice mix.”

The Copperheads’ return some height in 6’5” junior Carter Hendrick and add another 6’5” player in sophomore Tyler France. They also have four other players at 6’2” or taller.

“Our medium height is bigger,” Childers said. “Overall, our height has improved.”

Catawba Ridge has a 21-game schedule instead of the normal 26 games, with the COVID-19 issues still lingering over high school sports. Game schedules are subject to change during the season because of the coronavirus. The preseason Thanksgiving tournament they will be playing next week is their only tournament of the year, which is more of a round robin of games.

The Copperheads, both the boys’ and girls’ teams, will also play Spartanburg and Rock Hill in the Milltown Classic and then open the regular season Dec. 1 at Nation Ford. They will host Fort Mill Dec. 4 and then play Charlotte Latin and Blacksburg in non-region games before they open Region 3-4A Jan. 5 at South Pointe.

Being in 4A this season, Childers knows the competition will be harder to get that second playoff spot, as just like in fall sports, only the top two teams in each region are guaranteed a trip to the playoffs.

“I feel like we can get in there,” he said. “We have a chance.”

The boys’ team will also play in the Martin Luther King Showcase Jan. 18 at the Rock Hill Events Center against Lewisville and will finish the regular season in a two-game series against Clover. 

Girls’ team

The girls’ team is coming off a first round 3A playoff loss last season, but even in that their season was impressive in making the playoffs as a first-year squad.  Head coach Kate Edwards knows getting back there will be just as hard this year.

“We are excited to play,” she said. “There are so many unknowns.”

Catawba Ridge has all five starters back with two seniors in Emma Grace Hilton and Victoria Jordan. They also bring back sophomore Tatum Postel, who came on like a wildfire at the end of last season.

Edwards said her team is still young and they are continuing to learn at every practice. Edwards said the non-region season is important to get them ready, but with the coronavirus, one really never knows what will happen come January.

“I really want to have a region season,” she said. “South Pointe is very talented group. We feel like we will have a good chance.”

The girls’ team will have a similar schedule as the boys’ without playing Clover at the end of the season.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Catawba Ridge’s Tatum Postel looks to shoot a jumper during practice. Postel will be helping to lead the Copperheads back to the playoffs this year.