1-game season

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 7, 2014

Opp’s JaKeith Edwards (left) and Straughn’s Devin Scott play during an earlier area game this season. The Tigers and Bobcats will square off tonight at 7:30. | Photos by Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp’s JaKeith Edwards (left) and Straughn’s Devin Scott play during an earlier area game this season. The Tigers and Bobcats will square off tonight at 7:30. | Photos by Andrew Garner/Star-News

From here on out, it’s a one-game season.

That’s the mind set local basketball teams are taking as the postseason begins today in boys and girls area tournament action.

Andalusia’s boys will travel to Evergreen to play Hillcrest-Evergreen in the semifinals of the Class 4A, Area 2 tournament.

In Andalusia’s last meeting with HHS, the game got out of hand in the second period, where the Jaguars outscored the Bulldogs 25-4.

Bulldogs coach Richard Robertson said the game plan is to “play our game.”

“In the first quarter, when we played them down there, we led them 16-10 at the end of the first,” Robertson said. “Then, we came out and they started pressing us and beat us 25-4 in the second quarter.”

Robertson said it’s crucial of the boys to play their game tonight, where tip off is slated for 7:30.

“We’ve got to play our ball game,” the coach said. “They’re going to try to play up tempo.

“If they follow their roles and do what they’re supposed to do, then we’ll be alright,” he said.

The Bulldogs enter tonight’s game 8-17 on the season.

Robertson’s message to the players this week has been just sticking to the team’s philosophy on the court, which is play good defense and take the ball inside.

Robertson said he’s “proud” for how the players have hung in there.

“We’ve still got all of our people,” he said. “We’re not young anymore. I appreciate the effort they’ve given.

“They’ve stayed the course and showed up (every day),” he said. “I know things haven’t gone our way the last couple years. I’m not going to give up on them.”

Every day, Robertson speaks to the team about this and that. A constant point that he puts across to them is that of optimism.

“Like I tell them every day, you never know what can happen,” Robertson said.

Andalusia’s girls will tip off today at 3 p.m. against Wilcox Central.

In the Class 3A, Area 2 tournament, rivals Straughn and Opp will tip off tonight at around 8 for another showdown to see who advances and who goes home.

The sixth-ranked Tigers (17-4) will be facing an Opp team that’s had more than a week to prepare for the game tonight, which makes it a tough game, SHS coach Rusty Andrews said.

“I expect it to be probably the toughest ball game we’ve played,” Andrews said. “Opp has really improved from the beginning of the year. I expect them to play their best game they’ve played this year.

“They would love nothing more than to beat us in the first round,” he said.

For the last two weeks, the Bobcats have been looking forward to tonight’s game, OHS coach Sterling Driver said.

“Our preparation has been slightly different because we know what Straughn’s going to bring,” Driver said. “We kind of tweaked a couple things that have helped us.

“The guys definitely have bought into the goal for (today), and that’s to be good enough,” he said. “We’ve continued to get better with each game that we’ve played, and (today) is when it counts.”

Straughn’s ability to pass the ball quickly and effectively while finding the open man under the basket has helped lead the Tigers to recent success this season. Opp will have to play good defense to try and break SHS down on offense, and is going to find ways to convert on transition.

Driver said his message to the team has been keyed around what the Bobcats do well.

“We definitely have had a focus on our defense. I believe that defense not only will keep us in the game, but we will come away with a possible opportunity to change the momentum of the game against a team like Straughn.”

Andrews said he’s reminded his team to not “take anything for granted.”

“This is a new season,” he said. “It’s one and done if you don’t play well. I keep reminding them to forget about what you’ve done in the past. It’s about who plays the best ball (tonight).”

Straughn and Opp’s girls tip off at 6:30 p.m. for their semifinal game.

In Class 1A, Area 2 action, Pleasant Home’s girls and boys play Kinston at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively, in Geneva County. Florala’s girls and boys play GCHS at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, in the semifinals.

Teams will need to win their first games in order to play in the sub regional.