The Great Northern Conference (GNC) needs to make an adjustment to the way it schedules boys and girls athletics.

Specifically, basketball.

Growing up in a close-knit community where it was a fun experience to get to watch your peers play from night-to-night, it’s discouraging to see the home-away schedules that don’t allow for high school boys to watch high school girls games and the other way around.

Monday night was a big game in and across the Great Northern Conference boys basketball spectrum as Mosinee (6-0) came to face Pines (4-0) in what was likely a game to decide the league title.

The Northland Pines boys basketball team was coming into Monday’s matchup on the strength of a huge win on the road in Medford as the Eagles defeated a red-hot Raiders team by 12.

It was the first road win for Pines over Medford in 18 years, almost to the day. Going back to the days of the old Lumberjack Conference it’s hard to fathom there being a bigger game midseason for the Pines team than there was Monday night.

To be exact, it was Jan. 13, 2004 when Pines last went to Medford and came out of Raider Hall with a win (63-50).

Either way. That simply set the stage for what was to come Monday as Pines hosted Mosinee for a chance to take the driver’s seat on the way to the GNC title.

With a game like that happening in Eagle River, it would be nice to have the full strength of the student body jumping around in the stands at the Northland Pines Field House. And not just that, be great for fans, friends and peers to be able to take part in what being a student-athlete is all about.

Some of the greatest sports memories that take place on the court, are bolstered and supplemented by what surrounds it. Hundreds of screaming fans, many of whom student-athletes would get to see in the halls the weeks following the game and be able to trade stories with. Or reflect on even years down the road.

I for one feel cheated sometimes when parents, community members and athletic supporters are asked to choose between hitting the road and following one team, or staying back home and supporting another.

I understand from an organizational standpoint how having the girls and boys teams play on the same night, in opposite towns, is easy. It’s simple for all those involved behind the scenes in booking officials, game workers, concessions, transportation and so on.

But what the current type of scheduling eliminates is the chance for friends to see friends play throughout the season and that’s unfortunate.

I hope in years to come the GNC powers that be take a look at a way to keep this from being the normal.