When a team beats another by a combined 42 points during two regular-season meetings, it’d be easy to think a meeting in the playoffs is going to be a walk in the park. That’s even more so the case when that same team is coming off a staggering 90-37 victory in the area semifinals.
But Dadeville’s boys basketball team is going to have to put all of that out of its mind for the Class 3A Area 7 championship tonight.
The Tigers are coming off their biggest victory of the season, during which they defeated Beulah by the 90-37 mark in the area semifinals Tuesday night. And now, they’re set to face Randolph County tonight.
“They’re well coached though,” Dadeville coach Jesse Foster said. “(Randolph County) coach (Cliff) Drummonds does a great job with them but we just have to come out and play. If we play our game, we should take care of business.”
The Tigers (16-7) defeated Randolph County by scores of 62-38 and 71-53 during the regular season. But Foster isn’t going to allow his players to think that means tonight’s result is a given.
“I tell them all the time that it’s hard to beat somebody three times in one season,” Foster said. “There’s no telling what they’re going to throw at us. They’re liable to come out in anything. They don’t have nothing to lose so we have to be prepared for anything.”
The good news is, though, the Tigers gained valuable experience Tuesday night up and down the lineup. Because Dadeville jumped ahead so early, it played all 11 on the roster, including some who were recently brought up from the JV squad. Not only did everyone get a chance to play, they all contributed and scored at least a bucket.
“It’s great to pull a couple guys up and actually give them a chance to play,” Foster said. “When I told them I was bringing them up, they might not play much because the other guys really deserve to play but they were going to come help out. I was glad to get a chance to get them in and let them play. They don’t have a running clock (in area playoffs), so the younger guys got to play the whole fourth quarter.”
Although the younger guys did get out on the court, it was still the usual suspects who led the offensive onslaught. PJ Eason paced the Tigers with 17 points and Daquan Doss followed closely behind with 16.
Despite scoring a season-high 90 points, Foster was most pleased with the Tigers’ defensive effort against the Bobcats.
“We put a lot of pressure on them,” he said. “We went full court, stayed in that man-to-man pressure, did some 2-2-1 pressure. It put all different kinds of pressure on them all night so we just wore them down.”
Tonight’s area championship begins at 6 p.m. at Dadeville.