Black Belt makes its presence felt in NCAA

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 4, 2004

Winning in the Final Four may be big, but to the Black Belt &045; and a sizable portion of Alabama &045; making the Elite Eight is just as big, if not bigger.

Antione Pettway, a standout at Wilcox-Central, and Chuck Davis, a former Southside star, both started for Alabama during their seemingly unstoppable run at the NCAA championship. The run ended when UA lost to the University of Connecticut in the Elite Eight, but these two young men are still heroes to many in Dallas County.

After losing to the University of Connecticut, the boys said that they felt a little down, but after a couple of days a feeling of accomplishment started to sink in.

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His teammate Antione Pettway, in a separate interview, agreed.

Of course, that doesn’t take the sting of losing away.

Making state and school history is definitely special, Davis said. The gravity of the achievement didn’t escape the starting forward sophomore, who is now heading into his junior year.

That &uot;underdog&uot; status Alabama carried into the tournament made the two players from the Black Belt the center of media attention nationwide.

Pettway said the experience helped the team, rather than increasing the pressure.

And while it was exciting, both of them &045; and the rest of the team &045; managed to keep their heads.

Of course the team appreciated the attention and fan support.

Both players said that part of the reason Alabama accomplished so much was the fact that the Crimson Tide team formed a tight-knit group.

They all take care of each other, and Pettway is a big part of that, said Davis, the younger of the two.

Pettway feels the entire team is a unit. When freshman arrive, like Davis did, all the upperclassmen make sure they’re taken care of.

Although the team has generated some buzz for next year already, this year is Pettway’s last. He’s hoping to make a showing in the NAB, but that’s still in the works.

For Davis and the rest of the Tide, next year is filled with a potential shot at the Final Four.

Kennedy Winston, Earnest Sheraton, Chuck Davis and Germane Davidson are all returning starters for next year.

They plan to do their best to get as far&045;or farther&045;next season as they did this season. But that will take some hard work on the part of the team.