The Abbeville Yellow Jackets will be without their head coach for the rest of the week.
Anthony Carter, the Jackets’ boys coach and a member of the 161st Medical Battalion of the Alabama National Guard out of Mobile, was called into duty this week. He expects, though, to be back next week.
“It is nothing serious,” Carter said. “I am only going to be gone for a week. You can’t really say much, but we have to practice. I plan to be back in place at the beginning of the (next) week.”
Abbeville principal Darryl Brooks said the school administration knew about Carter’s situation last month.
“We knew this back in December that he was going to have to be gone for a few days,” Brooks said. “He will be back (in town) on Sunday and be back in school on Monday. There is nothing about him being deployed.”
Carter, who is in his second year at Abbeville, missed Tuesday night’s 50-44 win over Ariton. He is also expected to miss Thursday’s game against G.W. Long and Saturday’s contest versus Dothan.
In his absence, assistant coach Wesley Person will direct the team. Person, a former Auburn standout who had an 11-year career in the NBA, has been with the Yellow Jackets since last January.
“With coach Wesley Person being my assistant coach, the team is very good hands, I can assure you that,” Carter said. “I probably have one of the top assistant coaches in the state of Alabama.”
Abbeville is currently 7-8 overall and 1-1 in Class 2A, Area 5 play.
Clements misses games at Lakeside: Lakeside veteran boys basketball coach Tom Clements has missed the last three Chiefs games and his schedule for the rest of the season will be determined around his new job.
Clements, who has guided Lakeside for the last 13 years, left the school as a teacher in mid-December and accepted a new job at Tessenderlo Kerley in Eufaula. In addition to his role at boys basketball coach, he was the school’s athletics director and a physical education teacher.
“This job offers insurance and benefits which I didn’t have,” Clements said. “I was having to pay insurance out of pocket and it has gotten too expensive. I wish the timing was better. I wish I could finish out the year (without interruptions). Right now, I am doing basketball when I can.”
Clements said he has continued to coach practices since he is usually able to hold those around his work schedule. The games, though, are more problematic.
He plans to coach the Chiefs in Friday’s game at Hope Hull against Hooper Academy, but doesn’t expect to be with the team on Saturday against Tuscaloosa.
In his absence, Josh McConnell takes over as boys coach.
McConnell, the Chiefs’ head football coach, has also taken over as the school athletics director.
Clements said he doesn’t plan to coach the boys basketball team next year.
Gearing toward postseason: The basketball season for girls and boys teams in the area kicked into high gear this week as area play began for most teams.
In the AHSAA, teams compete in area action over the next two weeks to Jan. 24 before the final regular season week of play in the final week of January. Area tournaments are set for Feb. 3-8 with sub-regional play Feb. 10-11 and regional tournament action in Montgomery on Feb. 12-20. The state championships are Feb. 24-29 in Birmingham.
In the AISA, area play concludes on Jan. 27 with the first rounds of the state tournament on Feb. 4-6 and the Elite Eight and Final Four Feb. 10-15.