February 4, 2010 8:45:00 AM
The Pickens Academy girls basketball team has won all 12 of its region games this season.
Pickens County, of Carrollton, Ala., will attempt to continue that success this weekend when it plays in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA, Region 2 Tournament at Marion, Ala.
Pickens County (23-3) earned a first-round bye and will play the winner of Marengo Academy and Southern Academy at 2 p.m. Friday.
Winning all the region games exceeded the expectations of Pickens Academy coach Wade Goodman at the beginning of the season.
"That was not a goal for us," Goodman said. "Our goal was to win all our games at home and hopefully win a few of the region games on the road and just get ourselves in a good situation come region tournament time. All things just worked out. I just told them to protect the home court."
The Lady Pirates did just that by going 12-0 at home in the regular season.
Goodman feels good about his team''s chances of continuing its success against in the tournament. The Lady Pirates beat Tuscaloosa Academy on Monday to win their eighth game in a row.
"I feel we are playing probably some of our best basketball," Goodman said. "I don''t see how we can have any more confidence. They have really bought into me. They don''t harp on the last game or the last two games. They really play them one at a time. They''ve kind of bought into that."
Goodman said he''s cautioned his players about taking things for granted because an early loss could spoil what has been a successful campaign.
"It''s like I tell our girls, the last game you play does not mean anything," Goodman said. "It''s just like the last shot you take. You can miss five in a row and it doesn''t mean anything. It''s just like the game. You can win 20 in a row and it doesn''t mean anything. You''re only as good as your next game. You can go out and stink up the joint. That''s all anybody''s going to remember.
"We hear so much around the school how good we are, how good we are. I mean, deservedly so. I just tell them to guard against that. If they go out there and stink it up that''s all they''ll remember."
Pickens Academy, which is seeking its first state championship since 2001, is led by seniors Tate Fuller, Catherine Johnson, and Callie Minor.
Minor, a 5-foot-10 post player, averages 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Johnson, a 5-7 point guard, averages 11 points, six assists, and six steals.
The other starters are junior guard Lincoln Pearson and freshman guard Elisabeth Hankins.
Pearson averages nine points and seven rebounds a game.
"The three seniors have been special," Goodman said. "They''ve missed one practice since I''ve been here and they were in the 10th grade. When the door opens they''re there."
Hankins twisted her ankle two weeks ago, but has recovered from her injury and is contributing.
"We played (Patrician Academy) Friday and she had 12 or 14 points," Goodman said. "(Monday against Tuscaloosa Academy) she did a good job playing defense on their best player and handling the ball for us."
While the Pickens Academy girls team earned a first-round bye, the boys team plays Lowndes Academy at 1:30 p.m. today in the tournament.
Alabama High School Athletic Association schools also begin area tournaments. Girls area tournaments tip off today, and boys area tournaments get under way Friday.
In girls games today, Aliceville plays Greene County in the Class 3A, Area 6 Tournament at Eutaw, Ala., Pickens County plays Isabella in the Class 2A, Area 7 Tournament at American Christian in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Lamar County plays Oakman, and Sulligent plays Winston County in the Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament at Sulligent, Ala.,
The girls Class A, Area 10 Tournament at Berry, Ala., doesn''t start until Friday, with South Lamar playing Hubbertville.
The girls championship games are Saturday night.
In boys games Friday, Aliceville plays Greene County and Gordo plays Sumter County in the Class 3A, Area 6 Tournament at York, Ala., Pickens County plays Isabella in the Class 2A, Area 7 Tournament at Reform, Ala., Lamar County plays Oakman, Sulligent plays Winston County in the Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament at Sulligent, and South Lamar plays Parrish in the Class A, Area 10 Tournament at Berry.
The boys championship games are Monday night.