“I’ve been part of hosting quite a few times,” Sylacauga Lady Aggies head coach Derrick Crawford said. “Myself and Chucky Miller, we’ve probably been involved with more county tournaments than anybody, along with Jannie (Keith) and Al (Barnett). This is not my first rodeo. It’ll be a long, long week; we’re looking forward to great competition out of the brackets with different teams. It should be a fun week for the people of Talladega County, as well as Sylacauga. We’re looking forward to hosting this tournament, myself and coach (Will) Copeland.”
The Lady Aggies at 12-3 have the exact same record as they did last year when the tournament seeding was determined. Class 5A’s third-ranked team (updated rankings will be released later today) earned the second seed in the tournament last season and went on to win the tournament. This season, they start the tournament against sixth seed Childersburg (5-7).
Crawford said the county tournament is important in preparing teams for the many challenges teams face during area tournaments in February.
“We use this as a warm-up for area tournament and those things and most of us (coaches) do,” he said. “We go in and work on things that we’re probably going to use later on down in the year. Also, you give your fans an opportunity to come out and be involved in a great atmosphere, a playoff atmosphere. We always love playing at home. You have a chance to play in front of a big crowd if you win. The key is you’ve got to win and put yourself in a position to play on the weekend. If we do that, we will have the opportunity to play in front of a huge crowd on Saturday. We’ve played in front of a championship crowd the last two years. It’s great; it gets you ready for the playoffs. That’s what we look at: get ready for those big crowds for the playoffs.”
The Fayetteville Lady Wolves (9-2) earned the top seed after being the sixth seed last season. They will face the winner of the game matchup between eighth seed Comer (3-9) and ninth seed Lincoln (0-14).
The Munford Lady Lions (8-2) earned the second seed and will face Talladega (5-9).
The final first round matchup is between archrivals Winterboro and TC Central, both with 13-4 overall records.
Exact times for each matchup have yet to be determined. The championship games for both the girls and boys tournaments will be held Jan. 25 with game times forthcoming.
In the boys seeding, the Aggies (10-7) earned the third seed and will face cross-town rival B.B. Comer (6-9), the sixth seed.
Sylacauga head coach Will Copeland said he isn’t concerned with the seeding because every team involved has talent.
“In this county you get seeded, but I think with a lot of teams it doesn’t matter where you’re seeded,” he said. “I think there are some really good teams. You look at all the scores and Childersburg is seven and they played us close two times and played Talladega close. We played Comer and the first time we played them, they were right there with us. I think every team that’s in it is good.”
Talladega (16-2) earned the rights to the top seed and will face the winner of the matchup between eighth seed Winterboro (3-12) and ninth seed Fayetteville (1-9). Talladega won the county tournament last season.
TC Central (9-5) earned the second seed and will face seventh seed Childersburg (5-9).
Lincoln (7-6) earned the fourth seed and will play rival Munford (5-6), the fifth seed.
Copeland said all the hard work involved with hosting the tournament will be worthwhile if his team wins.
“When you host a tournament, you’ve got six days of work,” he said. “I told coach Crawford it’s a lot easier to work if you can win. We’ve got a tough matchup and tough side of our bracket that we’ve got to go through. It’s a lot of work outside, but also you want to do well in the tournament, especially hosting the tournament. It’s a little pressure on you. You want to be able to play and participate because it’s a lot easier to work if you win.”