YORK -- High school football is dominating conversations all over the state.
Locally, talk turns to will Clover win a second straight state championship? Can Northwestern better last year's 12-2 record and get to the championship game? Will Rock Hill turn it around and get back on track? Can South Pointe win the state championship many observers have already pinned on the Stallions?
The beat goes on and on and we haven't even mentioned any of the area's outstanding players and the possible replacements for those who graduated.
But just up the road in York, another sport is taking center stage. Girls basketball is as good as it's ever been in this state, and fans wishing to get a sneak preview of what's in store when the season rolls around in late November can do so free of charge.
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York Comprehensive High School varsity girls coach Paula Blackwell and her staff are hosting the first of two York Summer Shootouts today and Wednesday and are bringing in an impressive field.
Leading the way is J.L. Mann, winner of three straight Class AAA state championships. Mann will play Wednesday and will be joined by a list who's who teams from around the state.
"This is a great time for coaches to evaluate players for next season," Blackwell said. "Players can begin to work on weaknesses and team chemistry.
"Coaches can take a more laid-back approach and continue to teach the fundamentals of the game. Fans can come in and get a sneak peek of the local action with the numerous York County schools involved."
Today's field includes Fort Mill, Mauldin, Palmetto, Spring Valley and York. All but Fort Mill made the playoffs last season.
Wednesday's field is loaded. Besides Mann, it includes South Pointe, which won 25 games, the Region 3-AAAA title and made it to the Class AAAA Upper State championship game; Broome, a Class AA Upper State finalist; Spartanburg, a 59-57 loser to South Pointe in the third round; York, a second-round advancer; Chesnee, Palmetto, Mauldin and Spring Valley, teams knocked out in the first round; and Fort Mill.
Play begins at 10 a.m. today and 11 on Wednesday. Games will be played at YCHS and Jefferson Elementary, across the street from the high school.
All games will consist of four 10-minute quarters with a running clock. The clock will only be stopped the last minute of the four quarter (regulation play) and for timeouts. Injuries will also stop the clock at the direction of the officials. Halftime will be three minutes.
Teams will shoot free throws for shooting fouls only. In the fourth quarter, all foul shots will be 1-and-1. Individual player fouls will not be kept.