Jays opening season a little short-handed

Paul McMahon, (35), drives toward the basket for  Jefferson City during the Central Bank Shootout Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16, 2010, at Rackers Fieldhouse. The Jays fell, 66-41, to the Vianney Golden Griffins.

Paul McMahon, (35), drives toward the basket for Jefferson City during the Central Bank Shootout Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16, 2010, at Rackers Fieldhouse. The Jays fell, 66-41, to the Vianney Golden Griffins. Photo by Kelley McCall.

For the Jefferson City boys basketball team, the beginning of the season is quickly turning into an example of Murphy’s Law.

For years, the Jays tried to make the transition from fall sports to basketball while playing a murderous first week of games.

The ruggedness of the early season schedule has eased, but a new problem has popped up in its place — injuries.

“We’ve been in the St. Charles West Tournament since the mid-90s, and it’s been a great tournament from all respects, with some great competition,” Jefferson City coach David Fox said. “The problem has been that on the front and back of that, we’ve had games, so we’ve played five games in eight days to start the season. With the transition of kids from other sports, it’s been very difficult. ... So we’ve backed off the number of games in a short period of time to start the season with the hope of helping that transition.”

So while the Jays are getting started later than most — they’ll open the season at 3:30 p.m. today against Kirkwood at Columbia College in the Norm Stewart Classic — they’ll be doing so with a makeshift lineup.

Three players expected to play significant minutes this season — senior guard Kody Walker and senior forwards Joel Robinett and Johnny Richert — will miss the early portion of the schedule with injuries.

“When we do get them back, it will help our team, and at the same time, it’s given an opportunity to some other guys to step up,” Fox said. “Even though we’re unfortunate to have the injuries that we do, this does allow us to develop some depth.”

The injury bug has forced the Jays to reassess some expectations.

“Nov. 8, when practice started, we were returning several kids off last year’s team — we had a lot of experience and felt pretty positive about what we had,” Fox said. “Now that we’re at game time, this changes things.”

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