Kilgore College men’s basketball coach Brian Hoberecht (above, center) goes over strategy during a time-out last season. Both KC teams, it looks like, will be in action this year a little earlier than normal, as the NJCAA looks to work in a longer-than-usual holiday break due to caution with the coronavirus.

Kilgore College recently hit reboot on its basketball court floor at Masters Gymnasium.

And it looks like they’ll be using it a good bit sooner than usual this year.

Kilgore College, who competes in sports as a part of the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA), normally starts its football season in late August, and that looks to still be the case this year, as plans are still for the Rangers to kick off the season at home Aug. 22 against Tyler Junior College.

But men’s and women’s basketball will be moved up about a month for an October start, as a part of changes due to coronavirus.

The NJCAA has told schools to take a longer holiday break than normal. Typically, KC teams play their non-conference schedule largely in November, starting a little after Nov. 1, and begin their Region XIV Conference schedule later that month, or early December – and then a break for the duration of December until early January.

This year, the NJCAA is encouraging teams to pretty much break at Thanksgiving until Jan. 1, as a way of keeping coronavirus-spreading odds down.

As of Tuesday morning, both KC basketball schedule pages still displayed last year’s schedules. As mentioned, KC did put down a new floor on the court in Masters, so there will be a bit of a new look for the 2020-21 season.

The NJCAA also has fall softball, although primary softball season is in the spring. KC coach Leslie Messina, the only coach the program has ever had, resigned after the onset of the coronavirus break, to spend more time with her mother. The coaching vacancy has not yet been filled, KC director of public information Chris Craddock said Monday.

Coach Brian Hoberecht’s men’s program actually has a few upcoming dates of note.

The program will have tryouts on Saturday, July 11, and Saturday, Aug. 1, both beginning at 1 p.m. and both at Masters Gym (registration will start at noon on both days). The tryouts are open to any college-age basketball player with eligibility. The cost is $20 to try out, and is paid before the session begins, either with cash, or a check payable to Hoberecht.

All Centers of Disease Control (CDC) guidelines will be followed for social distancing, health and safety.

Obviously, the object of trying out is to make the Rangers men’s basketball team. Although no decisions will be announced the days of camp, coaches will evaluate talent and performances and those who draw interest will be contacted.

Athletes should wear rubber-soled basketball shoes, shorts and a T-shirt to the tryout.

Also, Kilgore College’s boys basketball camp is still planned, and is set for Monday, July 13, through Thursday, July 16, also at Masters, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. The cost is $100 per student, and it’s open for boys ages five through 17. All CDC guidelines will be followed at this camp, as well, for safety and social distancing.

Registration will be held that first day at 8:30 a.m., and the fee includes a camp ball, camp T-shirt, awards and lunch each day. Snacks and drinks will be available affordably during break times. This year, there won’t be a camp game on the last day, due to coronavirus safety.

Campers should bring appropriate workout clothes, such as basketball shorts, shoes, a shirt and socks, and some money for concessions. The camp will, of course, be directed by Hoberecht and assistant coaches, as well as other college coaches and current KC players.


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