Selma looks to bounce back after opening loss to Keith

Published 5:50 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2015

By Justin Fedich | The Selma Times-Journal

Inside of a locker room of the Selma High School gym, Saints head coach Woodie Jackson clenched his hand to his fist and thought about what could have been.

“I’m disappointed we lost,” Jackson said. We did a lot of things to contribute to that.”

The annual basketball game between the Selma Saints and Keith Bears serves many roles. It gets a crowd of 1,250 screaming fans excited for the basketball season, and it gives one team bragging rights for a few weeks, until the teams renew their rivalry in Orrville Dec. 4.

Keith won that opener 59-53, but the game allowed each team to take another look at its strengths and some flaws they need to fix as the season progresses.

Jackson had no trouble discerning where things went wrong for the Saints Friday.

“We started out real good,” Jackson said after the game. “We missed a lot of easy shots around the basket in the first half.”

Jackson said missed shots near the basket and missed free throws accounted for roughly 20 points Selma could have gotten. In a six-point loss, it was those shots that he felt made the difference.

Another lesson Jackson said his team could take away from the Keith loss was learning to play with poise down the stretch. Jackson said he’s coached teams that have won games down by seven points with 30 seconds left in a game, and that a game is never over until the clock hits zero.

“One play never loses the game,” Jackson said.

The biggest story of the Keith-Selma game was John Pettway, who scored 36 points. While Pettway was a clear star of the game, Keith head coach Tommy Tisdale disputed the fact that Pettway will be the sole player the team depends on all season.

“Tomorrow it may be Thomas’ night and the next night it may be Powell’s night,” Tisdale said after the Selma game. “The boys know it. It doesn’t bother us of who does what because we’re a team.”

Tisdale was right. On Tuesday, it was Morris Collins who hit a game-winner for the Bears to push them to 2-0 in a victory over R.C. Hatch.

The rivalry game between Keith and Selma is over, but the rivalry lives on another week. Keith defeated R.C. Hatch, and now the ball is in Selma’s court as the Saints host the Bobcats Friday.

Jackson said last Friday that he expects his team to rebound from the crushing loss to Keith.

He knows his team is capable of putting together a stronger performance against R.C. Hatch, and he expects that the opening season loss will push his players to be even better moving forward.

“It should motivate you, which I think it will,” Jackson said.

“Some of them are brothers to the kids [at Keith]. We have to match wits with them,” Jackson said. “As a team, we definitely feel like we’re better.”