Reeltown’s area hopes were on the line last week but there was still a path forward that the program could see.
In the end, they grasped their destiny and punched a ticket to regionals. But the road beforehand was not easy.
Head coach Kelli Hilyer says that this is where the program wants to be at this point of their season after a considerably rocky start.
“I like for us to play higher classification and tougher teams at the beginning of the season to help prepare for the postseason and it has paid off once again,” Hilyer said. “Plus, we are peaking at the right time. Some teams peak too soon, but we are playing our best right now.”
With the Rebels considered to be one of the top 32 teams in the state for their classification right now, the Rebels did have another thing to contend with. They moved up in class and this is the first time they’ve been able to reach this level of play within this new classification. Hilyer says that she tells her program that them reaching regionals is not always a guarantee but it does set the stage for the future of the program and team in 3A.
The Rebels will play at Lagoon Park and face Childersburg. Hilyer admits she hasn’t heard much about Childersburg but does have familiarity with the fields they’ll be playing on.
“We have played quite a few times at Lagoon Park this year, so the team knows what to expect from that aspect,” Hilyer said. “I haven't heard much about Childersburg yet, except that they will put the ball in play. So right now, we are approaching our game against them like any other game – play our best and adapt.”
Around the school, the vibe is there as well. Hilyer says that she’s heard so much from the occasional ‘congratulations’ to a few saying they ‘can’t wait for Friday’, the vibe is electrifying.
Hilyer is far from concerned about the program entering regionals tired or exhausted
“There hasn't been any concern about tiredness because at the beginning of the season I always plan to have the week before the area tournament set aside for practice,” Hilyer said. “And a day of rest if needed.”
At the end of it all, the Rebels know that this point of the season is the toughest competition they’ll face and being prepared to play.
Hilyer is aware of many different things for her program this year.
“This point of the season: you have to be prepared to play your best because you are playing some of the best,” Hilyer said. “This year is a little different for us since it’s our first time competing in 3A. So, we are kind of going into unknown territory but this isn’t our first time playing at Regionals.
“Purposeful preparation is key, everyone knowing and accepting their role is key, and doing whatever it takes for the team is key,” she continued. “This team has bought in all season on what we are trying to do and that’s why we have made it this far.”