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Damaged court causing confusion

Every athlete loves to feel that they have home-court advantage over their opponents.

Unfortunately, basketball teams from McKenzie School will not be that lucky.

In September Hurricane Ivan swept through the southern part of Butler County on its way to points north. The roof to the Tigers gym was a mere afterthought to the storm as it was left lying in its wake. As a result, the hardwood floors of the basketball court became saturated with water.

When that happened the court began to buckle and bend and became ultimately unplayable.

Two months later, this has become an issue and has forced the Tigers to look into alternate plans for the upcoming basketball season.

"What we've done now is inverted some of our games, what were home games are now away and what was away is now home," said James Brown, coach of the Tigers. "I think the alternative that they are looking at now is for us going and playing at what used to be the old Greenville Academy, now the new YMCA, the second half of the season."

McKenzie's basketball schedule is set where they will play the first 10 dates on their schedule on the road. Those road trips include J.F. Shields for the girls, Georgiana, Red Level, Brantley and Florala and then Goshen.

All three squads will compete in those games.

There was a rumor circulating that Georgiana High School will become the host site for the Tigers home games.

"We are not playing any home games at Georgiana as it stands unless someone tells us different," said Brown.

On Tuesday morning, both Roland Pettie, Principal of Georgiana High School and Randy Williams, Principal of McKenzie School confirmed the rumor.

"My understanding at this point is that they will be using our gym to play their home games after Christmas," said Pettie. "They've already got everything lined up and scheduled on what nights they will be playing here. Randy called and asked two weeks ago about the possibilities and of course we were going to help them any way we could."

Williams confirmed the rumor about the New Y.

Amanda Phillips, Executive Director of the Greenville YMCA confirmed that she was contacted by McKenzie School about using the new YMCA as a possible host facility for Tiger basketball.

"We are not going to play any home games during the first semester," Williams said. "We are probably going to go to Georgiana to play second semester. The YMCA was an option, but it was too far for us to use when we can go to Georgiana and use their facility."

For the Panthers questions about how this will work abounds from Derek Roberts, coach of Georgiana basketball.

"To tell you the truth I don't know how its going to work out," said Roberts. "Nobody's ever had to use the gym for two different schools. It's going to be a tough to thing to happen. I don't know how we are going to go about adjusting to it. It hasn't really been explained to me as of yet."

For the time being, dual usage of the Panther gym is not going to be an issue as McKenzie will spend the month of December on the road. However, when the second semester rolls around, the Tigers are scheduled to play eight of their 11 games at home.

"Its not that big of a problem to redo a schedule especially when you already have a game scheduled," said Williams. "All you have to do is talk to the other team either go to their place or get them to come to yours.

If we use Georgiana, then we won't have to change any dates, all we'll have to do is tell the team to come to a different place."

For the Panthers, they are scheduled for four home dates in the month of December and then three home dates in the month of January.

Another issue brought to the forefront is when will the floor get repaired.

"I think the floor getting fixed has as much to do with working around our schedule and the availability of a contractor," said Brown, "But that's just me speaking out of school here."

The Tigers are scheduled to take the court for the first time Dec. 2 and that game will be against J.F. Sheilds in Beatrice on Nov. 30. The Panthers first game of the season will be Nov. 22 at W.S. Neal in Brewton.