Tough road ahead for MS Tigers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 6, 2005

For the McKenzie Tigers, a crossroads is put before them. After struggling through the first part of their season with one win, the Tigers are looking at a three game stretch against Brantley High School, Kinston High School and finally Pleasant Home on Friday.

The varsity endured the tournament with six players and advanced to a third game against the Luverne Tigers. McKenzie battled and cut the halftime lead to four and then dropped the decision by nearly 20 points.

Competition is not going to get any easier for the Tigers.

"We've got Brantley first," said James Brown, coach of the McKenzie Tigers.

"Coach Stallworth has always got his kids ready to go and he's been there. But one of the problems I'm fighting here is turnover in the coaching staff. And that's a big problem. "

"It's hard to get the kids to buy in to the program when the coaches' keep changing. We keep having turnover in the coaching staff and as a result the kids don't know how to respond to that.

Kinston is an area foe and Pleasant Home is an area foe. We've just got to get our heads right and our hearts right and if we play like we can we are capable of going down there and playing with those teams, if not coming away with some w's. "

"We just really need something positive to happen for us right here after that break."

For the Lady Tigers, however, this is a chance for them to see where they stand in the region.

Currently the Lady Tigers are 3-6 with wins over Red Level, Brantley and Georgiana.

"If we put our heart into it, then we should come home with three wins," said Cindy Lowe, coach of the McKenzie Lady Tigers. "We lost to Brantley by one and then beat them in the next game. Kinston and Pleasant Home, we haven't played them at all."

The Lady Tigers will get their opportunity this weekend. McKenzie travels to Brantley Tuesday night and then travels to Kinston on Thursday and Pleasant Home on Friday.

Kinston and Pleasant Home are also in the Lady Tigers area.

This three game set will give the Lady Tigers the opportunity to rebound from the two losses that occurred in the Red Level Tournament.

After defeating the host Tigers in the first round, McKenzie advanced to the second round where they faced New Brocton. The Lady Tigers only scored one point in the second quarter and that came back to haunt them throughout the game.

It took them out of a slot in the championship against Samson and moved them into a consolation finals game against Paxton High School (FLA).

For the Lady Tigers, Paxton proved to be too much and won the game in a rout.

"What happened in the Red Level tournament wasn't against Paxton it was against New Brocton in the second place game when we didn't score but one point in the second quarter," said Lowe.

"They went to the championship and we went to the third place game. Now don't get me wrong, we got beat by a good team in Paxton High. But against New Brocton we didn't play all four quarters like we have been doing lately. That's also become our practice motto for the week, play all four quarters."

"I hope that game against Paxton is a wake-up call. I know they can do it, they have the skills and the tools to do it. But just getting them all to see it in themselves is the problem. I've tried everything I can think of from punishment to praise to get them to realize that. I've got nothing else to try to get them to do. I know they can do it. They may not know they can do it, but they can. I think it's going to take more than one win. "

"We came back from Brantley after losing by one and then beat them pretty good the second time. I've asked other coaches what to do, how do you get the motivation in them."

Tipoff for the Kinston and Pleasant Home games are set for 4:30 p.m. , and will be played on the road.