“Our goal is to make it to Jacksonville State,” Childersburg head coach Lin Slater said. “I have probably mentioned it every single game that we have played. We went through the regular season area and we were able to beat everybody for the first time to host an area tournament. I am very excited about that. I hope that we play with the same intensity in the area tournament that we played with through the regular season, because we want to win a championship.
“We know that we have to be focused and we can’t take anybody for granted. In the post season anyone can win. Records don’t matter anymore, it doesn’t matter who you have beat, and it doesn’t matter who you have lost too. It is like you are starting over from scratch and everybody has a chance. We just have to stay focus and go out there and play our hearts out every night.”
The Lady Tigers struggled in their last two games in the regular season as they fell to rivals Sylacauga and Talladega by double digits. Slater said their loses are a cause for concern, but she believes her team will be ready to play at a high level when the ball is thrown up tonight.
“Losing back–to-back games is always a concern,” Slater said. “We haven’t done that all season. It is a concern, because the last two years we have lost those last two regular season games and it didn’t turn out too good for us in the area. I think this team is different, I think they will bounce back strong. They just had two bad games. I guess I would rather have those two bad games now then have them in the area tournament. Maybe we got those bad games out of the way and now we will be ready to play. I expect us to come out with great energy, especially coming off two loses.”
Coming into the season Slater told her team that their youth would not be used an excuse on how their season turned out. Sophomore Mac Kelley and freshman Kalen Starks lead the Lady Tigers youth movement. Childersburg only has two upperclassmen on their team this season.
“I love this group,” Slater said. “I love this team. This is a great group of girls to be around. They have great attitudes, great energy, and they are hard workers. This is the youngest varsity team that I have had. They don’t play their age; they go out there and play hard. I told them it doesn’t matter how the season goes, I am not going to look at your age and say that we were young and that’s why we didn’t do it. I am going to say you know how to play basketball, you have been taught, you know the game and I expect you to get out there and perform. This group has been incredible and I have enjoyed this season. To be able to end the regular season 21-5 with freshmen and sophomores is incredible. I am excited about what the future holds.
Junior point guard Rodrieka Barclay believes that the hard work they put in the off-season has helped them get to this points.
“It started in the summer,” Barclay said. “Our hard work from weight training took over in the game. All of our players have been dedicated to the game and want it bad.”
The Lady Tigers host county foe the Lincoln Lady Golden Bears tonight in the semifinals of the Class 4A Area 9 tournament. Childersburg did what ever they like in the regular season meeting as they won by 42 and 39 points. The Lady Golden Bears gave the Lady Tigers a game in the Talladega County Tournament as they only won by 16 points.
“They played us the toughest in the county tournament, so we are definitely not going to take them for granted, Slater said they are definitely a competitive team, you know they are going to come and be ready to play. We have to bring our “A” game. It should be a very exciting game and I am looking forward to it. Hopefully we will come out on the winning side, so we will be able to advance in the area.”
Slater said that her team is excited about having the chance to reach their goal. She believes that her team has what it takes to take advantage of this opportunity that’s in front of them.
“They are definitely excited,” Slater said. “They are excited about just the idea of being able to go to Jacksonville State for the Northeast Regional Tournament. This team has not been to a Regional Tournament in eight or nine years. For them to have the opportunity to be able to get there this year, they are definitely excited about it. They know what they have to do to get there. They know that it is going to take a lot of hard work and focus. I am all about focus, I am all about being focused on what we need to do and not taking anything for granted. They understand that and that is why I feel confident in what they are going to accomplish this season.”