FAIRMONT — Michael Baker’s seen enough snow.
Wintry weather has pulled Fairmont’s basketball coach away from his team longer than expected, a group clinging to a one-game lead in the Three Rivers Conference with a pivotal three-game stretch next week.
“In my 30 years of coaching, I’ve never seen a year where so many games have been pushed back or postponed,” Baker said Friday during the Public Schools of Robeson County’s fourth straight snow day. “We have to roll with it and let it go. I don’t even know what our team looks like.”
It’s been more than a week since Fairmont’s last game — a 64-61 loss to Whiteville on Feb. 7 — and the Golden Tornadoes haven’t practiced in four days.
The area’s other five boys basketball teams — in addition to the girls — are in the same boat.
Red Springs can put the pressure on the Golden Tornadoes with a win Tuesday at West Columbus and could essentially be playing for a co-conference championship Friday against St. Pauls if Fairmont falls Wednesday at South Columbus.
Even with a loss, Fairmont has locked in the league’s top playoff berth since it holds the tiebreaker over the Red Devils.
“Our guys know they still have a chance to tie for the regular-season championship and that would be a cool thing to happen,” Red Springs coach Glenn Patterson said. “We talked a little bit about catching Fairmont after the Whiteville win, but we know we need some help. I don’t think missing practice time is going to matter that much. If we don’t know it by now, we won’t know it”
Baker’s still trying to grasp his team’s treacherous rescheduled slate.
“I haven’t seen my team since (last week) and I’ve only talked to a few of the guys (on the phone),” Baker said. “We’ve got a game Monday against a good team in East Columbus with no practice time beforehand. Then, we’ve got two more. We’ve got our work cut out for us and I know our guys were looking forward to playing in the conference tournament.”
Fairmont’s one of two teams playing three times next week thanks to postponements. Lumberton originally scheduled its first makeup game at Scotland for Saturday, but that would’ve put the Pirates with three games in four days without preparation.
Since the Southeastern Conference tournament was cancelled Friday, Lumberton sandwiched the makeup contest on Wednesday between games with Pinecrest and rival Purnell Swett. According to most recent playoffs projections, the Pirates (10-10) must win all three to qualify for the postseason.
“Some teams had to revisit these rescheduled games now that the Three Rivers and Southeastern Conferences have called off the tournaments,” said Robeson County athletic director Jason Suggs. “Everything hinges on the regular season (for playoff seeding) and this was a necessary move with the weather postponements.”
Fairmont at East Columbus
South Robeson at Whiteville
Red Springs at West Columbus
East Columbus at St. Pauls
Lumberton at Pinecrest
Swett at Hoke
South Columbus at Fairmont
Lumberton at Scotland
Fairmont at South Robeson
St. Pauls at Red Springs
Swett at Lumberton
Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or at email@example.com.