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Fans can only wonder how Sparta-Chadwick matchup this season would turn out

SPARTA'S JAKE LAFFERTY makes a move to the bucket.
SPARTA'S JAKE LAFFERTY makes a move to the bucket.

The Sparta-Chadwick rivalry remains on hold for a second straight basketball season, and it’s not clear if it will be renewed anytime soon.

Sparta and Chadwick stopped playing each other after the Lady Trojans dropped the Lady Cards from their schedule in preparation for the 2022-23 season.

In turn, the Cardinals dropped the Trojans from their schedule.

For this season, Chadwick’s boys inquired about playing Sparta again, but the Trojans opted to go elsewhere to fill an opening in their schedule.

"I'm not going to say yes or no. We'll see," Sparta boys coach Deric Link said when asked if the teams will play each other next season. “I respect what (Chadwick coach Shaun Guerin) does over there — phenomenal. He's got that program running. The Chadwick community loves basketball. There's no environment better, in my opinion, than playing at Chadwick.

“They tried to pick us up this year. But it didn't work out,” Link added. “I wanted to play someone different. It allows us to play different people and not have so much pressure on the moment. It was between playing them and playing Carthage, and I really wanted to go to Carthage. I felt that would be a good experience for us.”

In the past, Chadwick’s boys and girls took part in Sparta’s tournaments. But this is the second straight season the Cardinals and Lady Cards went elsewhere for tourney play.

This season, Sparta wasn’t able to fill an eight-team bracket for either its boys or girls tournament. Meanwhile, Chadwick made nearly a two-hour drive back and forth last week to play in the Stockton Tournament.

Fans are missing out on the rivalry, particularly with Sparta’s Jake Lafferty and Chadwick’s Clayton Garrison having established themselves among the most exciting players in SWMO.

Entering this week, Sparta is 15-3 and Chadwick 14-2.

Lafferty doesn’t mind that the Trojans and Cardinals haven’t met since playing each other three times during the 2021-22 season.

“I think it means more for the older generation,” Lafferty said. “For the younger generation, we've all become good friends. It wouldn't be us talking trash, it would be the fans talking trash.”

Garrison actually played with Sparta last summer in a league at Strafford.

“He wore a Sparta jersey, it was a good look for him,” Lafferty said. “We got really close over the summer and became really good friends. We wanted him to come to Sparta. But we were just wishing that would happen.”