CAIRO — The Cairo Syrupmaids dominated Region 1-AAAA this year. It showed on the all-region team, and the Syrupmaids are slotted as a No. 1 seed heading into next week's state tournament.
Cairo will open the postseason Tuesday at home at 5:30 p.m. against West Laurens.
“We're feeling pretty good,” said Cairo coach Melissa McClendon, named the region coach of the year after leading the Syrupmaids to a 14-1 record. “We're not overconfident, of course, because anybody can be beaten on any given day. Our kids have worked real hard and are excited. They've been working hard in this time that we've been off. We believe we're going to match up well with them. We expect to just play our game.”
Cairo lost its regular season finale to Bainbridge on Feb. 5 after starting the season with 14 straight victories. Since the region tournament was canceled, it will be almost three weeks between games for the Syrupmaids.
Cairo is focused on taking it one playoff game at a time.
“It's crucial just to stay focused on what's right in front, stay in the moment and leave it all on the floor because you can only control the things that you can control,” McClendon said. “You have to look at it that way. The fact that we are senior heavy, they understand that. I think we have a lot of good leadership, a lot of maturity. Even though we've only played 15 games this year, being that these kids have played together so long, coming out of that Columbus region, we've got a lot of experience playing against the top teams. Being in the Columbus region, we played the state champs almost every year. The kids understand that. It's got to be one game at a time. You've just got to leave it out on the floor.”
Cairo was well-represented on the all-region team, led by the region player of the year Ambria Vicks. Chambria Vicks and Leah Perry were named to the all-region first team. Jy'Nijah Cooper was selected to the all-region second team. Ta'Kyah Bradshaw was named honorable mention.