The high school sports calender got a tad bit busier on Wednesday when most of the local and area high school girls' basketball teams, along with their counterparts throughout Texas, began working out for the first time.
According to University Interscholastic League rules, Wednesday was the first day that the ladies could practice — preseason drills commence next Wednesday for the boys.
Coach Tony Harris' Jacksonville Fight'n Maidens have been practicing in their new barn, the JISD Gymnasium, which was previously the Smith Gymnasium at Lon Morris College, twice daily since this week.
The Maidens were racked by graduation losses, but will have the services of senior Jasmine Parson and junior Monica Franklin coming back, so the cupboard is far from empty.
Parson was an all-district first team pick a year ago, while Mathis garnered second team mention.
Kim Crowley returns as the head freshmen coach and varsity assistant this year.
There will also be two new assistant coaches assisting Harris.
Abby Martin will serve as head junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach while Brittney Jacobs will assist in coaching the varsity and sub-varsity teams.
Martin, a Stephen F. Austin graduate, is in her first season at Jacksonville. She is from Sunray in the Texas Panhandle.
Martin was a multi-sport athlete (cross country, basketball, track and field) in high school.
Jacobs is from longview and is a Pine Tree High School and UT-Tyler product. She is also in her first season at Jacksonville.
Jacksonville's first scrimmage will take place beginning at 10 a.m. on Nov. 2 when the JHS girls trek to Palestine to take on the Ladycats.
The regular season gets under way on Nov. 5 with Jacksonville taking on Tyler Lee in Tyler
The Maidens' home opener is scheduled for Nov. 12 and is against the Ladyjacks from Diboll.
District 16-4A play will start on Jan. 3, 2014 when Jacksonville journeys to Whitehouse.
Four nights later John Tyler comes to town for the Maidens' home district lid lifter.
Harris has once again crafted a challenging non-conference schedule that will find the Maidens playing in three tournaments, including the Great East Texas Shootout in Brownsboro (Dec. 12-14).
On Dec. 5-7 Jacksonville will take part in the Hawkins Tournament, with the Maidens' final tourney slated for Dec. 27-28 when Jacksonville makes a return to the Kaufman Tournament.