Going all the way?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

It’s time to break out the clichs at Southside High School.

Starting Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m., the Panthers will have a chance to play for the whole ball of wax, all the marbles, the whole kit and caboodle, the big enchilada, the big chili dog and/or the state championship.

Coach Velton Robinson and his Panthers will travel to Birmingham today in preparation for what they hope will be a pair of games this week as they move towards the state title.

Email newsletter signup

But, Robinson says, he doesn’t want his boys thinking that far ahead.

“One game at a time,” he said pulling out another sports clich. “You can’t treat is as a two-game tournament because you lose, you go home.”

Robinson said his team has been fairly loose after earning the trip Saturday morning in Troy.

“Their holding up pretty well,” Robinson said. “I’m not worried about it, they get up for stuff like this.

They’re the same as always.”

The coach, however, may be a different story.

“I’m fine,” he said with a quick laugh. “(But) my wife thinks I’m a little iffy right now.”

The Panthers will face SAKS Wednesday for the right to move on to Friday’s state title game.

“I watched some film on them, I been watching that all weekend,” Robinson said. “They’re athletic, they’ve got a couple of big guys. We just have to focus on what we do.”

At this time last year, the Panthers were at home.

Despite a young lineup, they had put together a surprisingly strong playoff run only to come up short in Troy.

Robinson said his team learned from that experience.

“I think where it benefits us is coming in we’re a little more hungry than usual,” he said,

While Robinson won’t be breaking out the tape measure like coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers, he does plan to do a few things to help his kids adjust to the bigger arena.

“I’m not worried about it, they like that kind of stuff,” he said adding he’ll bring them to a game or two on Tuesday just so they can get used to the arena. “I’ll probably just let them get a feel for the arena.

I just want them to see the arena. I don’t want them to run out of the dressing room and it be the first time they see it.”

For Robinson, sharing this experience with this team has made it special.

“Basically, it’s the same guys I’ve been having the last three years.

I feel like these kids are my kids,” he said. “The only difference in this team from the last couple of years is they have maturity.”

In the end, Robinson believes his team has what it takes to win the whole shootin’ match.

“They work hard,” he said. “This is their year.”