Tigers prepare for to battle for title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Johnathan Driver puts in late points in the win over Clarke County.

Johnathan Driver puts in late points in the win over Clarke County.

The stage is set for the AHSAA class 4A State Finals this week in Birmingham, and the Straughn Tigers (21-8) have their sights set on Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats (20-11).


The Wildcats are not a high scoring offense, but it has been their play on defense that has landed them in the Birmingham.


Over the last three games, the Wildcats have held their opponents to an average of just 36.7 points.


They aren’t flashy on offense, but their defense has been described as tenacious.


They live in the passing lanes, and are hard to beat to the baseline.


Wildcats’ head coach Ronnie Stapler said that they have been great all season on defense and that is what they hang their hats on.


A group of tremendously talented and selfless seniors have led the Tigers this season.


Brice Scott was named 4A MVP in the South Regional in Dothan last week, and is one of the most versatile players on the floor for the Tigers. Scott has been a key feature for in the Tigers offense, but he isn’t alone.


The Tigers also rely on Tucker Lawless to contribute consistently. Lawless is a master at drawing fouls, and getting to the line for free throws. Lawless was lights out from the free throw line during the South Regional, and provided the Tigers with several crucial second-shot opportunities.


Marshall Farley has quickly morphed into one the Tigers’ best passers. Farley is strong deep-threat for Tigers, but recently has been flashing his skills as passer. Farley made several passes through traffic that lead to easy baskets for the Tigers doing the South Regional.


Rollin Kinsaul isn’t always near the top in points scored, but Kinsaul’s on-court leadership is immeasurable. He leads by example, and his attitude is contagious. He always wants to win, and understands the hard work it takes to achieve it.


Although not a senior, junior Johnathan Driver has been reliable player off the bench for the Tigers all season. Last week during the South Regional, Driver scored most of his points in the fourth periods of the Tigers’ wins.  Driver’s knack for hitting clutch shots is just part of the Tigers’ success this season.


The Tigers also have a lot of talented players that don’t get to see the floor as often, but Coach Rusty Andrews calls them extremely instrumental in the Tigers’ success.

“I can’t say enough about the guys we have on this team,” Andrews said. “Not just the starters, but these guys on the bench that push them so hard during practice. They are the reason we are where we are. They push are starters every day in practice, and it shows during our games. We are use to intensity and pressure. We see it every day in practice.”


The Tigers and the Wildcats will tip-off tonight at 7:30, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.


On the other side of the 4A bracket, the West Limestone Wildcats (30-3) will face the Bibb County Choctaws today at 4:30 p.m., also at the BJCC.