Basketball lovers unite.

The start of the high school basketball season officially begins this week as the Serpent Classic rolls into town today for the three-day tournament.

Play begins Thursday at noon at both the Mineral County High and junior high gyms and will finish Saturday evening. The annual tourney features a total of 22 teams from around the region with 10 boys and 12 girls squads playing a combined 52 games.

The Serpent boys and girls will play in five of those games and will face some tough tests from larger schools. The girls open play Thursday against Lovelock at 3:45 p.m. at the junior high gym while the boys take on Battle Mountain in the final game of the day at the MCHS gym at 7:30 p.m.

The Serpent boys will be back on the court early the next day when they play White Pine at 9:45 a.m. before battling Lovelock at 7:30 p.m. later that night. The girls will play two as well on Friday as they take on Bishop at 6:30 p.m. and Hug at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, the girls open with Battle Mountain at 10:45 a.m. before finishing with Yerington at 5 p.m. that evening. The boys play Spring Mountain at 1:15 p.m. before wrapping up the tournament at 6:15 p.m. against Yerington.

It will be the first games of the season for both teams. The Serpent boys return a good chunk of their 2017-18 state runner-up squad that finished 25-7 overall and 15-1 in conference play.

The girls lost four seniors from last years team that finished 24-4 and a perfect 16-0 in league play, but return some key parts of the team that was stunned by Wells in the first round of the regional playoffs.

Both the boy and girls will be competing in the new 1A Central basketball conference when league play begins in January.