Red Level not ready to ‘pack it up’ tonight

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

Red Level is not ready to “pack it up” in area play tonight as it faces Excel in the first round of the area tournament in Red Level.

The Tigers (19-8, 6-0 in Class 2A, Area 1) closed out the season with two straight losses against Straughn and McKenzie.

Red Level coach Fred Kelley said the game tonight is big for his team.

“It’s huge and it’s one that keeps you playing,” Kelley said. “This is the one that will extend your season or cause you to pack it up and we’re not ready to pack it up. We’re ready to continue on to play and we know we have our work cut out for us.

“We’re thankful we’re at home and we know what we’ve got to do,” he said. “We’ve got some seniors that know what it’s going to take and we’re ready to get back on the winning side.”

Kelley added his team is ready to put that two-game losing streak behind them.

“We’ve had a couple of games against tough opponents, but we’re ready to bounce back and be ready to hopefully to have a chance to play for the area championship Monday night if we get by (tonight),” he said.

Kelley said it is essential for his team to get ahead early in the game.

“We need to establish the tempo of the game early,” Kelley said. “We’re going to need to apply a lot of pressure and keep the tempo up. We can’t get in a half court set and get into mismatches.

“Our size is such that we’re not that big, so we have to be careful in that situation.”

Another thing Kelley said he will be relying on tonight is bench play.

“Our bench has got to step up (tonight),” he said. “They’ve done that throughout the year, but we’re going to have to have some big bench play. You know Kyle Nolen is back and I believe he is at full speed. He’ll be starting the first time since the (Dec. 5) Greenville game. That’s going to be huge for us having our depth back. The depth is what we’ve been hoping to get back.

“We hope our fans come out and get behind us and let’s see if we can extend the season,” he said.

Tip off in Red Level is at 7 p.m.