Opp prepares for tough area

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Opp Bobcats hope to turn their season around as area play nears and the way they can do that, according to coach Ronnie Sansom, is by doing a better job of scoring.

“We’ve just got to start scoring,” Sansom said. “We pretty much have to worry about us right now instead of what each team is doing before us. We lost (Dec. 19) and missed 21 shots in the paint and you’re not just going to beat anybody playing like that.

“We just really need to focus on us, continue to play hard and just get some shots to fall if we’re going to compete with anybody,” he said.

Sansom said the area they are playing in is one of the most challenging in the state with Bullock County and Brewbaker Tech.

“With their good starts this year, it’s going to be extremely tough,” he said.

The difference between this year and last year is that Opp will be playing against five teams, including Bullock and Brewbaker Tech, along with Ashford and St. James.

“Last year, we were just in a three-team area,” Sansom said. “It was just us, Daleville and Ashford. We had some really close games with Daleville and Ashford. This year we’ve got five teams so if you don’t finish second or third, you’ve got to play that extra game to get in the sub regional.”

As far as what teams are of concern to Opp, Sansom said that he will not take any team lightly in their area.

“All of them concern us,” he said. “Bullock is the defending state champs. Brewbaker Tech has a lot of their guys returning and they are a very athletic team. Ashford has got two really good guards coming back. They all have region experience and are looking to get back there and it’ll be tough.”

Sansom said his strategy going into area is to gain control of the pace in each game.

“We’re going to have to control the tempo of the game,” Sansom said. “We can’t let them dictate the pace of the game. If we do that, it’s going to be a long night for us. We’ve got to control the ball on offense and be very sound defensively to try and slow things down.”

At practice, Sansom said he will be primarily focusing on the defensive side of the ball.

“We’re focusing on defense,” he said. “We’ve got to be really sound defensively whether we’re pressing or playing man to man. We’ve just got take our intensity on defense up to another level.”

In order to be successful this year, Sansom said his team will have to play a full 32 minutes.

“We’ve go to put a complete game together in our area games,” Sansom said. “We can’t have any lapses, be it free throws, offense or defense. We’ve got to put a complete game together because (the other area teams) have a lot of playoff experience between them and they have their eyes set on a bigger prize than the area championship.

“So, we’re going to have to play really sound all around if we’re to have a chance,” he said.

Opp starts its area play on Jan. 2 as it travels to play Bullock County.