Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 14, 2014

Thomasville hoops shift focus

Basketball squads eye state tournament

Daniel Kramer
CNHI

THOMASVILLE —

Thomasville’s 25 mile bus ride home from Pelham on Friday was riddled with a clutter of mixed emotions.

The boys won 47-44 in their consolation game against Cook County in dramatic fashion after bowing to No. 1 Pelham, 58-41 in Thursday’s 1-AA semifinal. They finished No. 3 in in the region with a 14-13 record.

The girls, still recuperating after Thursday’s 57-48 gut-wrenching overtime loss, “just didn’t come to play” on Friday, coach Antonio Wade said, and lost to Cook, 41-27.

“Playing for third place isn’t as important as playing for first place. I think that’s the mindset we had.”

Wade said that Cook didn’t employ any difficult defensive tactics – just that his team didn’t take advantage of shot opportunities.

Though his defense held its opponent to under 42 points for the 13th time this season, Wade wasn’t keen to find a silver lining. He said he won’t reflect much from Friday’s contest as he begins gameplan prepartion for the state tournament, which begins late next week.

“I’m not taking anything away from this game,” Wade said. “As far as the season, I can take away things that we’ve done well.

“I think we’ll have a good week of practice. The girls have to buy into the gameplan I put together.”

But what’s the most mounmental factor moving forward?

“We can’t be afraid of the moment,” Wade said. “Whatever gym we go to, it’s going to be tough. But that doesn’t mean we can’t win. And they have to believe that.”

The Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in the region and will play in the Laney bracket.

Tillman’s bunch, on the other hand, rode home Friday with a persevering attitude.

His Bulldogs dropped their third game of the season to Pelham on Thursday but bounced back to beat Cook in the final minutes.

Thomasville led by 10 at the half but let the Hornets creep their way back in the third quarter.

Then Jay Bowdry seized opportunity with three foul shots in the final minute to secure the 47-44 win.

“He’s really come alive and been the heart and soul of this team the last couple of weeks,” Tillman said. “He might not be scoring a whole lot of points, but he’s doing the dirty work getting rebounds and steals.”

Bowdry only scored five points on Friday – all in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs won’t know who they play until next week, as much of the northern schools have endured delayed games due to the Atlanta icestorms.

Both teams know that they’ll be playing in the Laney region bracket, which makes for tough competition.

The boys, as the No. 3 seed, will play the No. 2 once that tournament is setlled; likely on Monday. The No. 4 girls will play the top seed, which will likely be Laney.

Both coaches are eager to have a full week off to tweak their rosters and gameplans before next weekend’s games.

“That helps,” Wade said. “That will give Zmobria Morrow more time to get [her] ankle straight and get back into the flow of things mentally. It’ll also give me time to put together a gameplan, because we’re going to be playing the best teams from the other region.”

Tillman added: “It gives an opportunity to get re-focused. In the tournament, it’s all about one game – if you win, you move on, if you lose, you go home. It gives us a great time to get focused and rededicated and committed to what we do.”

“Like I told the kids in the locker room, this group is built with a special spirit. It’s a constant battle to try and persevere sometimes, but you’re going to have those situations in your life.”