Home court advantage is a big part of any athletic event, Tuesday afternoon, the Greenville High Tigers took full advantage of it. The game against Georgiana was set with a 1 p.m. tip so that the Tiger basketball team could play in front of the Greenville High Student Body.
Playing a team two classes up can be a challenge, but playing them on the road in front of their student body is even more of a challenge.
First year coach Derek Roberts had his Georgiana Panthers up for the challenge, but after the opening tip, it was clear that the Panthers were out-manned.
The Tigers jumped in front with a 7-0 run led by Devoski McMeans and Gavinston Warren.
The Panthers tried to push the ball up the court only to be met with an attacking Tiger half-court defense that forced multiple turnovers.
At that point, the Tigers set the tempo that Georgiana could not match. Greenville was in firm control at the end of the first quarter with a 22-0 lead.
"I expected to jump out to a lead," said Randy Fullington coach of the Greenville Tigers. "I didn't know it was going to be that big of a lead. I was real proud of the guys for keeping up their defensive intensity pretty much throughout the whole game even though we had a big lead.
The only flaw in Greenville's game plan was that they kept fouling Tiger shooters, sending them to the line for two shots.
Kenny Peterson capitalized on the freebies and landed one to break the shutout and then landed to two more on his next trip to the line.
But, the Tigers were too much and were cruising with a 50-12 halftime lead.
"They were pretty much outmatched the whole game," said Fullington. "It's a real challenge as a coach and a player to stay focused and stay motivated and to keep your intensity up. That's how upsets happen. They let their opponent get a few shots and start to feel good about things. That was our goal during the half to stay focused and keep the intensity up."
The Panthers came out and had their offense clicking and actually scored a couple of baskets.
"The only positive thing I can take away from this is the way my guys played the second half," said Roberts. "We didn't put up big numbers but we still came out and played hard. I think they were a little bit intimidated by the size of Greenville.."
In a show of class, Fullington pulled his starters and played some of the second team and then changed the flow of the game. The Tigers aggressive style of play that they had shown all game had been backed off.
"I didn't want to pressure them. I preach to my guys all the time about having class and when we have a big lead on a team like that I tell our guys to show class," said Fullington. "As far as dropping back, I wanted to work on our man-to-man defense anyway. So we pulled out of our half-court trap. We made them take bad shots and pretty much shut down their penetration and made them take bad shots. "
Even with the backed off style of play, the Tigers offense was still rolling. At the end of the game, the Tigers posted a 97-25 victory.
The Tigers were lead in scoring by McMeans with 23 points, Demetrius Posey with 14 and Curtis Fields with 13. The squad had five players in double digits. Isiah Mack, Josh Hawkins and Gavinston Warren. Hawkins finished the night with 11 points and 9 rebounds for the Tigers.
For the Panthers, Peterson was the leading scorer with 12 followed by Terrance Mathews with six.
Greenville will be back in action next week when they travel to Hillcrest High in Evergreen. Georgiana will also be in action when they play host to McKenzie High at Georgiana.