NEA

LASKER — Northeast Academy officially entered the winter sports season on Monday with the release of its 2020-2021 basketball schedule.

The slate, comprised of 12 regular-season games, begins on Dec. 11 at home versus Bethel Assembly Christian Academy and concludes with the Tar Heel Independent Conference Tournament at Albemarle in mid-February.

Per athletic director Joella Brown, the calendar is tentative, as the state continues to deal with emerging COVID-19 case numbers.

Replacing parts, piecesThe 2019-2020 men’s varsity unit endured a rough-and-tumble affair, finishing with a 5-13 overall mark (2-10 TIC).

Now the real work begins, as the Eagles must replace the night-in, night-out production of J.T. Simmons, who averaged 16.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game, and forward Brandyn Polson, who went for 10.1 points and 6.5 boards an evening.

No small task, rest assured.

Ready to roll, Part IIThe women’s program hit on all cylinders last winter, capturing nine games in a row during January to finish with a 14-5 overall record — bolstered, of course, by an undefeated sprint through TIC play, where it won each outing by an average of 24 points.

Leading Big Red, in all likelihood, will be senior guard Allie Liverman, who averaged 9.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game last year, and classmate Jessie Martin, who pieced together a nightly line of 11.6 points, 4.1 boards and 4.1 steals.

The Eagles will also benefit from the return of leading scorer Emalee Jones, who went for 12.8 points an evening to pair with 6.6 rebounds.

All things considered, it could be another banner winter for Northeast, which starts the slate by playing 4 of 5 games in Lasker.