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Who’s got game? Teams prepare for district tourney

By Ryan Naus

After a regular season where local teams enjoyed highs and lows, the district tournament will start on Feb. 23 at Williamstown High School.

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The Lady Demons and Lady Braves will start the tournament on Feb. 23. The Lady Demons, the district third seed, will take on second seed Walton-Verona at 6 p.m., while the fourth seed Lady Braves will take on first seed Simon Kenton at 7:30 p.m.

Williamstown split the season series with Walton-Verona and Lady Demons coach Mark Wilhoit hopes his team has learned from their regular season matchups.

“I think we’re going to have to contain their size,” Wilhoit said. “We can’t let them kill us on the boards. If they’re going to beat us, they need to beat us from the outside. We split with them so I feel we have just as good a chance of beating them.

“We have to play smart and stay out of foul trouble. I think our quickness and our ball handling are strengths. We present them with matchup problems, just like they present us with problems,” Wilhoit said. “It’s going to come down to our quickness against their size. This is the best chance we’ve had of making it to the region.”

The Lady Braves lost both games to Simon Kenton during the regular season, but have shown marked improvement over the past several weeks and hope to take down one of the strongest teams in the region.

“We need to beat their pressure,” coach Darrell Guffey said. “We’ve got to learn to handle the pressure. We can’t have a four or five minute spurt where we turn the ball over. If we do, we’ll be in trouble. Defensively, we have to do a great job of containing. They’ve got five seniors and are a good basketball team. If we can guard, box out and rebound, a lot can happen.

“We’ve been talking a lot about them and what they do,” Guffey said. “We’ve gotten a lot better. We’ve won five out of six games and have gotten better defensively. That’s the most important thing for us. We’ll take our chances come tournament time.”

For Williamstown, the fourth seed Demons will take on number one seed Simon Kenton on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The Demons lost both regular season games, despite keeping the games close.

“We have to stop Casey Sorrell and Langdon Barnes,” coach Stacey May said. “They score 60 to 70 percent of their points. If you can limit their good looks and scoring options, I think you have a better chance of beating them. On offense, we have to play. If we don’t shoot the ball well, we’ll struggle. Zack Anglin makes a difference for us. He draws the defense. We come and go with his decision-making.

“We’ll go back and look at the game tape,” May said. “The coaching staff will sit down and pick it apart as far as what they do and what we want to make them do. It’s going to come down to who plays well that individual night.”

The Grant County boys’ team earned the second seed after a blind draw and will play on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. against third seed Walton-Verona. Each team won on their opponents home court during the regular season and the Braves are looking for the chance to get to the region tournament with one win in the district tournament.

“Walton-Verona is a guard dominated team,” coach Ron Kinmon said. “We have to guard the three point shot. When they beat us, they hit 10 three pointers. We have to make sure we get our hands up and guard the drive to the hole. Offensively, we need to take advantage of our size and move the ball to attack the rim.

“We want to be the best team in the district and be the district champion,” Kinmon said. “If we defend and rebound, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”