The Maroons will open their 2021-22 basketball campaign on Monday night before a home crowd, welcoming Heritage Christian Academy Warriors to town for their first ever game as a member of the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) member.

“Heritage Christian is making that transition into KHSAA so they were looking for games to add to their schedule this year and reached out to us about an early season matchup,” said head coach Jon Newton. “ We were able to find a date that worked for both schools, so we are just happy with the opportunity to get a game in on opening night of the season.”

Although the match-up will be the start to the season for Madisonville, Heritage Christian comes into the game with four wins in the Kentucky Christian Athletics Association (KCAA) games already under their belt, having outscored Valor, Cornerstone, Lakeside and Oak Ridge by a combined 244-136. Under KHSAA guidelines, as a member, the Warriors are eligible to compete in both leagues, but as a new member, they will be ineligible for post season KHSAA play during a two-year probationary period.

“It’s always difficult to scout opponents within the first week of the season because of limited film so what we typically do is just make sure we are prepared on our end and focus on the things that we can control and the things that we do well, said Newton.

“We will adjust as the game goes on but early on the focus will be on us.”

The Maroons, however, aren’t coming into their season opener untested. They played a pair of preseason scrimmage games as a warm-up, defeating Grayson County by 25 and Paducah Tilghman by two. A year ago the team had to jump right into the season without facing any live action.

Madisonville won the 2nd Region tournament during the 2019-20 season, but had their chance at making a run in the state tournament cut short before they’d even played their first game due to the arrival of COVID-19. The team had hoped for a little retribution last season, but came up just two points shy of getting back to state, losing 63-61 in the regional championship to University Heights.

“We have the bulk of our team back from last year, so we are excited about the experience that we return,” said Newton. “These guys have been working really hard this preseason as well as early season practice, so they are excited about the tip-off to regular season. I think our style is a little more up-tempo and in your face this year. We will try to utilize our depth, length, and athleticism. Hopefully, we play a style and brand of basketball that Maroon fans will be proud of each night when they leave the gym.”

He added that on any given night, fans could potentially have the chance to see 13 to 15 guys on the court for the Maroons.

Monday’s season opener will tip-off at 7 p.m. Madisonville will then host UHA, the team that knocked them out of the post season last year, on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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