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Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Andalusia Bulldogs climbed to the No. 1 position in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll released on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs improved to 18-2 overall and 5-0 in Class 4A, Area 3 Tuesday night after defeating Hillcrest-Evergreen 72-50 to clinch the area.

“We’re appreciative for the recognition for our school, town and community, but what we’re doing is taking each game one at a time and trying to win them all,” Andalusia coach Richard Robertson said. “We just had a meeting (Wednesday) on that it doesn’t matter that we’ve won the area,” he said. “That doesn’t mean anything, but that we’re having our area tournament at home. You could still lose at home as well as on the road. So, we’ve got to play better. We’re working on that now.”

In one week, Andalusia climbed from No. 3 to No. 2, before settling in at its current position.

Since the beginning of January, the Bulldogs have won six games in a row, five of which were against area opponents.

Robertson said the team’s current ranking has little meaning compared to what needs to take place on the court.

“Last year we were picked to win the state championship, and we got beat in the first round,” he said. “The thing is that you’ve got to win it on the court and not be concerned about the rankings. All we want to do is win the next one and then after that the next one.”

Asked how he thinks the Bulldogs have gotten to this point in the season, Robertson said it all comes down to what he has been telling his players all season.

“Well, at times we’ve been erratic,” he said. “Friday night against Clarke County, I gave them a 90 and (Tuesday night), I gave us an 86 because we got away from what we were doing and allowed them to get back in the ball game from a 27-point lead.

“We let them cut it to 20, and then we won by 22,” he said. “I want consistency the whole time. We’re not playing against the opponent — we’re playing against perfection. If we can run our system to perfection, then we’ll be all right.”

Looking ahead, Andalusia will travel this Friday to play Thomasville in its last area game of the regular season.

Then on Saturday, Andalusia will host Dothan in a regular season game.

Next week, Andalusia is on the road in Brantley, Northview (Dothan) and Opp before closing at home on Feb. 1 against Carroll (Ozark) before the area tournament.

“We’re very appreciative of the statewide recognition, but you’ve got to realize that we’ve still got to win on the road,” Robertson said. “I’ve had teams that have ever been ranked before to win the state tournament. You’ve got to do it on the court and that’s the biggest focus for us right now.

“We want to win them all,” he said. “Out of 20 ball games, we’ve lost two. We have six regular season games to go and a tournament and all our focus right now is on Thomasville.”