Lady Saints ready for Lady Poets

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Take the Selma High School Lady Saints’ last two meetings against Sidney Lanier – both losses – and throw them right out the window, says Selma coach Anthony Harris.

The Lady Saints open Class 6A Southeast Regional tournament action this morning against Sidney Lanier. The winner will advance to the semifinals on Friday.

The Lady Saints qualified for the Class 6A Southeast Regional tournament with a 61-36 beating of Smiths Station last Friday night. Sidney Lanier also got into the Southeast Regional tournament with a 50-37 victory over Dothan last week.

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Overall, Selma has lost two of three to Sidney Lanier this season. The Lady Saints won the first game by double digits before losing the next two meetings by five and 13 points, respectively.

“They put pressure on us and we panicked,” Harris said. “If you turn the ball over too many times, they’ll hit you with their lay-ups. They feed off your mistakes.”

One way in which Sidney Lanier took advantage of Selma’s mistakes earlier this season was by dominating the inside. Harris said Sidney Lanier scored 52 points in the paint in its last victory over the Lady Saints. The Selma coach said he had some surprise changes in store for Lanier this time.

“They have no outside shooters,” Harris said. “They get penetration and make lay-ups.

“We’re going to take their inside game away and force them to beat us from the perimeter,” Harris added.

The way to do that, Harris said, is to abandon the 1-2-2 zone defense that Selma used in the three previous meetings and install a 2-3 zone.

“We’ve got to make them beat us from the outside,” he said.

This year’s regional tournament is a change of scenery for the Lady Saints, who coasted into the tournament after winning the area tourney last year.

This season, however, Selma enters the state tournament not so much the favorite to win the crown as it has in the past. Despite being ranked in the top 10 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association prep poll, the Lady Saints have been inconsistent at times this season.

Despite his team’s unusual underdog status, Harris said the Lady Saints must still be considered the favorite to win it all until proven otherwise.

“We went through the front door last year. We’re going through the back door this season,” Harris said. “We have to go through the regional tournament this year. No matter what happens, the Final Four has to come through Selma.”