Red Level has ‘tough’ road ahead

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 17, 2012

Red Level’s going to have to play tough to have a successful year of hoops in its new area, and its tip off at the Enterprise Thanksgiving Tournament will be its first big test.

RLS returns six players from last year’s team to the hardwood, as the Tigers aim for a shot at playing in the Final Four in Birmingham.

This will be the Tigers’ first year in Class 1A, dropping from Class 2A last season.

The drop in classification put the Tigers in the same area with J.F. Shields, Brantley, Georgiana and McKenzie, all in Area 3.

“It’s a very tough area,” Catrett said. “That’s why we made a tough non-area schedule. We’ve got to be able to prepare ourselves to be able to compete in that area.”

The non-area schedule Catrett was referring to includes a season-opening trip to play in Enterprise’s Thanksgiving Tournament, and individual games against teams more than two classifications above RLS. Those notable games for the Tigers include at 3A Opp on Dec. 4 and 6A Enterprise on Dec. 11; a home-opener against 3A Straughn on Dec. 17; and another game against Enterprise at home on Jan. 4, before area play starts.

“Beginning things like that is designed to try and get us ready to get us prepared for the post season,” Catrett said.

RLS has two seniors this year in KJ Lawrence and Justin Maddox; five juniors in Tim Sims, Dee Tolbert, Spencer Stallworth, William Crawford and Marcus Robinson; and two sophomores in Chavis Crittenden and Anthony McClain.

Catrett said that practice has gone well, and the players are doing a great job pushing themselves, the coach said.

Every day, the team goes over the proper techniques to stay fundamentally sound on offense and defense, he said.

“We’re working out some of the kinks,” Catrett said. “They know what we’re going to play, what they’re supposed to do.

“For the majority of these guys, it’s not a new learning curve,” he said. “It’s just polishing up from what we did last year.”

Last year, RLS employed a “defense first” approach.

“You don’t have an off night on defense,” Catrett said. “Defense is No. 1. If you play good with that, then that’s what we’re going to have to rely on all year.”

Red Level tips off its season at the Enterprise Thanksgiving Tournament on Monday at 3 p.m. against Houston Academy in Gym B at EHS.