PHS, FHS meet in area bout

Published 8:01 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

Two county teams will meet head to head tonight to decide who will still remain undefeated in Class 1A, Area 3.

Pleasant Home and Florala both picked up their first area wins Tuesday night.

The Eagles (9-6, 1-0) defeated McKenzie 57-48, while the Wildcats (1-11, 1-0) took a 59-49 win over Kinston — Florala’s first victory of the season.

“I think that it is the biggest thing that we got the win and hopefully that’s going to get us a little motivated and give us a little more confidence,” Florala coach Brad Garner said of the win against Kinston. “That’s what I think we were lacking as much as anything, just doubting if we could win one.”

Garner added his team executed well on both sides of the ball.

“Our kids played real hard,” he said. “We had the lead the whole game and I think it was good to play on top a little bit, which helped us out. Kinston shoots the ball real well and we knew that.

“We got out and defended the perimeter real well,” he said. “Offensively, we finally got to where we attacked the basket, finished and made some plays.”

For Pleasant Home coach Jerry Davis, the match up tonight will be “big” for his team due to Florala’s recent success.

“(The Wildcats are coming) off their first win and they’re going to probably be pumped up and we have three injured players,” Davis said. “So, it’s going to be tough. They have been playing pretty good basketball and I know (Florala) have still been losing some close games.

“I’ve seen them play three or four times now and they’ve got my attention especially beating Kinston the other night.”

Davis said the game will be the same depth wise on both teams and that he will determine how the Eagles deal with their injuries.

“We’re going to see come game time what they can do,” he said. “In basketball you can be injured, but with an injured arm and an injured leg you can’t move at full speed. That’s the problem with basketball, but in football you can play with a broken arms and shoulders. You can’t do that in basketball, you’ve got to have all of your limbs working.”

Despite its lack of wins this season, Florala is ready to play what Garner said is the “team to beat.”

“I still think (Pleasant Home) is the team to beat in our area,” Garner said. “I’ve seen them play a couple of times and I know the personnel real well. Coach Davis, he just does a great job with them. He’s one of the best coaches around here in my opinion and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he does with them.”

Garner added the caliber of play on Pleasant Home is such that his team will have to play a perfect game.

“They play hard and play very sound basketball,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of people that can score and we’re going to have to play an excellent ball game to be able to compete with them.

“I’m glad we’ve got them at home for the first time and I think it will help us out,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s an advantage, but I know that it’s not a disadvantage (like if we had) to play first over there.”

Going into the game tonight, Davis said his team will not be making the same mistakes they made in Tuesday night’s area opener.

“We are not going to be stupid and come out like we did against McKenzie and try to chase the ball all over the gym,” Davis said. “We’re going to play more like we were. We feel like we’re getting to where we’re executing more on offense and we’re solid in most the stuff we have to do on court defense.

“The ball game won’t get out of hand one way or the other and I think we’ve been in a lot more tighter and closer games. That’s the way the play is going to be anyway. You’ve got to get to where you can handle those type of situations and lately, when we get down and it gets tight, we play well and execute well.”

Davis added that his team will stick to their game plan and will get after Florala if they needed to do so.

“Hopefully we can play well down the stretch,” he said. “It’s a two-half game and we’re capable of getting after you if we have to. We’re looking forward to it and I know Florala’s looking forward to it. One of us will come out of it 2-0 in our area.”

Garner said there have been no significant changes on his team, but work continues on both the offense and defense.

“We’ve been working real hard on some basic things,” Garner said. “Defensively, we’ve been doing a lot of fundamental stuff and even offensively in shooting the basketball. We’ve simplified things a bit and have been doing that for couple of weeks and just trying to find one or two things on both sides of the basketball so that we can do well.”

Tip off tonight for both teams will be at 4:30 p.m. with the B-team.