THOMASVILLE -- Clifford Kerbo is a veteran with the coin toss.

Unfortunately, he's 0-for-3.

The Thomas County Central boys basketball coach lost his third Saturday to Lee County, dropping the Yellow Jackets to the No. 4 seed in this week's Region 1-AAAA tournament. More importantly, it forces the Yellow Jackets to have to beat Americus-Sumter tonight at Thomas County Central to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1998-99.

Kerbo, though, is heading into tonight's game with optimism.

"We've got the opportunity to play an extra game," Kerbo said. "We look at this as a challenge along as an opportunity. I still feel like we're a No. 3 seed."

Central (11-13) is very familiar with beating Americus-Sumter, having knocked off the Panthers twice this season. The Yellow Jackets' first victory, 50-47, came on Jan. 15. Their other defeat of the Panthers came last Thursday in Americus, 56-52.

Kerbo believes tonight's game will be just as tough for his Yellow Jackets.

"It's that time of year when records don't matter anymore," Kerbo said. "Everybody's going in with the same objective, win and move on."

A win would automatically put the Yellow Jackets in the state tournament for just the fourth time in school history. It also would pit Central against Bainbridge in the second round of the region playoffs on Friday at Bainbridge. Kerbo is confident about his team's chances.

"I feel good about our team. It's just a matter of executing and staying focused," said Kerbo. Game time tonight is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

It follows the girls game between Americus-Sumter and Lee County.

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