• 77°

Wildcats take bronze medal at 2016 Alabama State Games

Florala’s Rashaad Coleman (10) dribbles through a crowd of Bobcats on Tuesday.

Florala’s Rashaad Coleman (10) dribbles through a crowd of Bobcats on Tuesday.

The Florala Wildcats’ junior high school basketball team traveled to Dothan over the weekend came home with the bronze medal in the 14U boys basketball tournament at the 2016 Alabama State Games.

“It was just a really big accomplishment for the boys and for Florala,” Wildcats’ head coach Troy Stewart said. “I was very proud of them.”

Stewart said he received a flyer in the mail a few months back telling him about the games and he felt it was something they should do.

“I was wanting to do a little summer camp type thing for the guys and when I get the flyer telling me about the games I knew that was something I wanted to do,” Stewart said. “It was also a chance to get them up against some very quality opponents.”

The Wildcats came out strong and finished with a 3-4 record during the tournament.

“We started out in pool play with a win and then we lost the next two games,” Stewart said. “We just made some mental mistakes. We were careless with our passes, and we didn’t move the ball like we can.”

One of the losses in pool play was an overtime loss, but Stewart said he liked the way the kids bounced back from that.

“We lost to this team in overtime and then we had to play them again in bracket play,” Stewart said. “This time we were able to beat them and that was for the bronze medal.”

Stewart said he was pleased with the way they played all around, but the Wildcats’ defense is what carried them through bracket play.

“Our defense really stepped up for us during the tournament,” Stewart said. “They gave us the momentum we needed to get through bracket play.”

The Wildcats ability to overcome adversity was another key in the bronze medal win.

“Theses guys just continue to fight their way into games,” Stewart said. “They could have hung their head after the overtime loss, but they didn’t. They overcame the adversity and our defensive pressure was exactly what we have been working on all year.”

With the state games in the books, Stewart said the Wildcats will now focus their sights on the regular season.

“We plays these types of games to get ready for the season,” Stewart. “There were a lot of talented teams over there and that is going to really help us come October.”