Boys play tonight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Thursday was girls night out. Tonight, the boys get to do their thing at sub-regional playoff games. Three varsity boys basketball teams from Covington County will be on the hardwood tonight in sub-regional games.

Straughn at Calhoun

The Straughn Tigers will travel to Calhoun High School in Letohatchee for a 7 p.m. sub-regional playoff game against the Calhoun Tigers.

Straughn (17-13) will take on the No. 8-ranked Calhoun Tigers on their home court in hopes of knocking the defending champs out of the playoffs.

Straughn Head Coach Jonny Mitchell said his Tigers are excited about being in the playoffs and representing Straughn High School in the basketball playoffs for the first time in eight or nine years.

"They are the defending state champions in 3A," Mitchell explained. "They lost several starters and some good players who played a lot last season."

Mitchell expects the Calhoun Tigers to be tough despite the loss of players to graduation.

"They are traditionally in the regional final and the Final Four (in Birmingham)," Mitchell said about Calhoun's basketball program.

"I think we have a chance, but they're used to being there too," he added. "So, it'll be a fight."

McIntosh at Red Level

The McIntosh Demons visit Red Level tonight for a 7 p.m. sub-regional game.

The Tigers (21-5) are looking for a win and a return trip to the Southwest Regional at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Red Level Head Coach Fred Kelley said the Tigers have been working real hard and have adopted the slogan "lost opportunities never return" as they prepare for tonight's game and the playoffs.

"Our guys have been focused," Kelley said. "We fell like this might be our year."

If it is the year of the Tigers it begins with a tough first-round test in the playoffs.

"They are the kind of team that looks real athletic," Kelley said regarding the Demons. "When they get hot, they're really hot.

"I've played McIntosh in the past and they always have real good teams," Kelley added.

Playing at home should be a big advantage for the Tigers due to the "great" support they have enjoyed this season, Kelley said.

"We hope to have a good crowd," he said. "We've been blessed. We really have. We've had tremendous support and we are looking to pack the gym Friday night."

Florala at Coffeeville

The Florala Wildcats travel to Coffeeville for a Class 1A sub-regional playoff game set to tip-off at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats (16-12) will be on the road against a good Coffeeville Panthers squad. Coffeeville (21-7) finished the season ranked No. 4 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association poll.

Florala Head Coach Brent Zessin said the Wildcats have a plan and if the strategy works it could be their ticket to the Southwest Regional in Mobile.

"They like to shoot threes (three-point shots)," Zessin said. "They can shoot 30 threes in a game. They live and die by the three."

The Panthers also have a huge presence in the paint with a 6-foot-4, 330-pound offensive lineman turned hoops star.

The Wildcats plan to slow down the Panthers run and gun offense and force them to run set plays.

"We hope to go and play a control game," Zessin said. "Our keywords this week in practice have been 'focus' and 'execution.' We have to control the tempo."