Southside ready, as win would send Panthers to BirminghamPublished 10:09pm Friday, February 22, 2013
After Thursday’s win over Barbour County, the Southside Panthers now find themselves one win away from their goal of going to Birmingham for the Class 3A Final Four and the continued quest for a state championship.
The Panthers (22-9) will face Cottage Hill (19-11) on Saturday at 5:20 p.m. in the Dothan Civic Center for the Class 3A South Regional Championship, with the winner advancing to the Class 3A Final Four in Birmingham starting next week.
Cedric Brown, head boys basketball coach of Southside, said the Panthers got a chance to see Cottage Hill against Daleville after their win over Barbour County, and worked on their tendencies in Friday’s practice.
“We actually, as a team, sat down and had a chance to evaluate them after we played,” Brown said. “And we just kind of watched what they do as a team defensively and offensively. They like to feed the post a lot, and they will shoot the 3-pointer. Today in practice, we just kind of clarified some of those things about who will shoot, what shots they’ll take and just some tendencies that we can kind of pick up and bring us over the hump.”
Just as they did against Barbour County, Brown said the Panthers are looking to pressure the ball when Cottage Hill throws it into the low post.
“We’re going to try to mix it up on defense and try to keep them guessing, try to keep them confused, and try to pressure the ball,” Brown said. “We want to make them feel real uncomfortable offensively. We just want to bring a lot of pressure.”
While the Panthers only had one day to prepare for Saturday’s matchup, Brown said staying focused will help Southside overcome the short prep time.
“The guys just have to stay focused and stay the course,” Brown said. “Birmingham was our goal at the beginning of the year, and here we are at the end, and it’s still our goal. The guys just have to remain focused and take no opponents lightly … because any given night, you can be beat.”
Brown said the Panthers will also continue to count on the senior trio of Jeffery Mack, Sammarkus Jones and Octavius Gulley.
“They’ve carried us this far, and just like the Kentucky Derby, we’re going to saddle up and try to ride those three horses into Birmingham next week,” Brown said.
And as this group of Panthers enters new territory on Saturday, Brown said they’re looking to add a regional championship to their area title and sub-regional win.
“Prior to getting this far, myself, along with guys, we had never made it this far,” Brown said. “It’d be wonderful if it’s one of those situations where we can win the area tournament, won a sub-regional game, and if we can win a regional championship, that’ll be right in line for us. That’s our goal, winning championships, and making it to Birmingham. That’s the ultimate goal and that’s what we have our eyes on, one game at a time.”