"It is the fourth time and if we are both able to win in the first round of the County Tournament we will play them for a fifth time in the semifinals," Sylacauga head coach Josh Golden said. "It is tough because this being the fourth time and there is not a lot of secrets. We both know what each other are going to do, at the same time if you are going to play somebody that many times you would prefer to be a rivalry game, because everyone still gets excited about it. It is still Sylacauga versus Childersburg. This is our regular season home game versus them. We are excited about it and I think our fans are excited about it. It should be a good game."
Both Sylacauga (eighth in 5A) and Childersburg (10thin 4A) are ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, which adds another dimension to the rivalry.
"Both teams are ranked in the top 10," Golden said. "With talking to people in Sylacauga I think it has been a few years since this game has taken place with both teams in the top 10. That adds a little bit to it and it should be an exciting night."
The Aggies look to tie the season series at two games apiece. The Tigers defeated the Aggies, 55-53 in the Sylacauga Tournament on a DJ Jones putback. In their regular season game at Childersburg, the Tigers won 64-54. In their last meeting in Childersburg's Catfish Classic, the Aggies got revenge with 54-46 victory.
"Childersburg has beaten us twice this year," Golden said. "We won the last one at their place. I think we realize now playing them this time and potentially playing them again in the County Tournament there is a chance for us to win the season series. This is our home court where we don't like to lose. I think every one is excited about. It is another chance to play against a quality opponent. Childersburg has a good team this year and we have been playing well lately. This is another opportunity for us to get better."
The loss to Childersburg on Dec. 15th proved a much-needed spark for the Aggies. Since that game they have won eight of their last nine games. The Aggies defense has picked up during their streak. Sylacauga has held seven of their last eight opponents under 50 points.
"We have beat some quality opponents during that stretch," Golden said. "The loss came to Shelby County. We lost by four points up there. I think we've had contributions from a lot of different guys. I think for us the biggest turn around has been defensively. We watched some film yesterday (Wednesday) and when we got done we put up a points that we have allowed over that stretch and no one has scored more than 50 over that eight game stretch. We have averaged giving up 43 points per game over those eight games. I think for us that has been the key. We have played multiple defenses, but no matter what we are in I think we have to have that defense intensity. We have to have commitment to getting stops and then have a commitment of rebounding and holding teams to only one shot. That has been the big difference for us. We have grown a lot offensively. We have a bunch of guys that can be contributors or be our top scorer every night. The one thing that has remained consistent through that stretch is us playing good defense."
The Aggies defense will have to have another strong performance if they are going to top Childersburg tonight. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m.