January 14, 2010 10:38:00 AM
The Lamar County and Sulligent high school boys basketball teams are getting quite familiar with one another this season.
The teams have already played twice and they meet again Friday in Vernon, Ala. The teams played at Sulligent on Saturday.
"There''s a good chance we''ll play them in the (Lamar) County (Tournament) the following week, and there''s a chance we''ll play them in the Area (Tournament), so we''ll play them four or five times," Sulligent coach Tommy Chism said. "It''s always exciting.
The action tips off with a junior varsity boys game at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity girls and varsity boys.
The varsity boys teams split the first two games, with Sulligent claiming a 71-69 victory in the WAC Tournament and Lamar County winning 64-56 at Sulligent.
"We''re pretty evenly matched," Lamar County coach Vance Herron said. "It''s whoever is playing at the best of their game at that point and time that is going to win. We''re sort of evenly matched on our athletic ability. He''s got the height on me. We might be a little quicker. They''re disciplined and we''re disciplined. It''s going to be a pretty good ballgame every time we play."
Lamar County and Sulligent won Tuesday, giving the teams two days to prepare for their second meeting in a week.
"It gives us another chance," Chism said. "We''re going to try to get ready on short notice. Their kids and our kids get up to play each other. I don''t care if it''s football or basketball or baseball. If we had a hockey team, it would be the same way. Everybody knows everybody. They''re cousins, family and friends. You want to get the best in that game, you know?"
Sulligent (13-7) figures to be the more seasoned team because it has played 10 more games than Lamar County (8-2).
Herron believes Sulligent has a height advantage with 6-foot-4 Dakota Carruth and 6-3 Tony Johnson. Lamar County''s tallest player is 6-3 senior Jimmy Lann.
Herron said the Bulldogs will have to protect the basketball and rely on their quickness against the taller Blue Devils.
"We can''t turn the ball over," Herron said. "If you do that you''re fixing to get beat. We''ve got to go to the hole against them and try to draw fouls and get their big folks in trouble so we can compete with them. It''s hard to compete with them when they''ve got three or four kids that are 6-4, 6-3 and my tallest kid is 6-3."
Chism said it will be equally important that the Blue Devils don''t turn the ball over.
"They''re real quick," Chism said. "If we can take care of the ball we''ve got a good shot. We didn''t do a good job the other night with that. That''s what we talk about a lot and work on a lot. They do a good job of making you turn it over. You know like I do, if you turn the ball over in any sport you''re going to get beat."
n Sulligent at Lamar County (G): The Lady Devils and Lady Bulldogs will meet for the second time this season after Sulligent won the first meeting 68-57 on Saturday.
Sulligent earned the victory even though Lamar County was 23 of 50 from the free-throw line.
"Hopefully this time they won''t shoot 50 free throws," Sulligent coach Ronnie Hubbert said. "We kind of got dictated there for awhile. We shot 40, but the last 12 were at the end of the game when we were holding the ball and they were fouling.
"Our game is running and playing defense. Our offense feeds off our defense and wearing the other team down. It''s hard to wear them down when they''re standing around and shooting free throws. I expect us to play a lot better Friday night."
Sulligent (16-2) will try for its seventh win in a row, while Lamar County (7-6) will attempt to build momentum coming off a 37-36 victory against Fayette County on Wednesday.
Kelsey Myles made a layup with 45 seconds remaining to provide the Lady Bulldogs with the winning basket. Myles and Victoria Godsey each had nine points and Jessie Smith added seven.
Lamar County coach Jason Clark believes it will help the Lady Bulldogs having just played Sulligent.
"It''s a challenge to play a team like Sulligent," Clark said. "They have good athletes, good shooters. When you play them a close game like we did the first time, I think it can be an advantage because it''s fresh on our girls minds and they know what to expect."
Clark, a 1996 graduate of Sulligent High, is looking forward to coaching against his alma mater. He said the Lady Bulldogs need to make a higher percentage of their free throws if they''re going to avenge the previous loss.
"We missed a lot of free throws (the first meeting). I mean a lot," Clark said. "If we get fouled we have to hit our free throws. When you leave 30 points off the scoreboard by missing free throws, that''s a big difference when you lose by 10."
Sulligent won the first meeting despite losing a 16-point lead. The Lady Blue Devils fell behind by one point in the fourth quarter before regrouping.
Lamar County had four of its starters foul out in the fourth quarter.
"We''ve got to keep those girls out of foul trouble, and we have to do a better job on our free throws," Clark said. "I think we can compete with them."