Barnett: Season like 'Groundhog Day'
by Erich Hilkert
Jan 31, 2014 | 1314 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Like Phil Connors, Childersburg is hoping to escape waking up to the same disappointing reality that has plagued them this season.

“Our season has been a little like Groundhog Day,” head coach Al Barnett said. “As hard as we try, it seems to be the same thing every day. The kids play hard, hard, hard and then lose by some freaky something at the last minute. The season has been like Groundhog Day, but we’re about to break out of it. Our goal in the area tournament is to break out of it.”

Childersburg hosts a doubleheader today with an early matinee showing at 11:30 a.m. against area opponent Holtville and a county matchup against Talladega with varsity action beginning at 7:30 p.m. Holtville may offer somewhat of a preview with the Childersburg boys team facing Holtville again Tuesday in the area tournament at Dallas County.

“The varsity girls start at 10,” Barnett explained. “We play Talladega at 4:30 p.m. The games start at 4:30 p.m.—B-team, girls to follow and then boys. It’s our senior night. My thoughts are: most people kind of have a case of cabin fever from the week. They would probably like to get out. This would be a great opportunity. This is the last weekend of the regular season and they can come out and see some good basketball.”

The program will take the opportunity to recognize the senior players. Barnett spoke to each one of his seniors.

“This season, at this point, hasn’t gone quite as well as we would have liked,” he said. “We’re 8-15. However, we lost two games by one, two games by two, two in overtime; with the exception of three games, everything has been decided by six points or less. This group of seniors has led really well. Trevor Bates, a three year varsity guy, has played well for us for three years. David Cowlin is an undersized post player at 5’10”. I needed to bring somebody up from the B-team when he was in the 10th grade. I had too many kids on the B-team and only had about nine guys on the varsity. I said ‘Hey, will somebody volunteer to come up to the varsity so we can have a little bit more room on the B-team?’ David volunteered knowing his playing time would be very limited, but he got better that year as a 10th grader and has just been a steady performer for us. Reeves Brashear has been with us two years—four years in the program, but two on varsity. He’s a great teammate and a great guy to have around and will do anything you ask him to do. Jamel Lawson, he’s our resident Weather Man. He studies the weather and Jamel Lawson is a great teammate because he pulls for everybody. He may not get that many minutes; however, his minutes have gone up recently because he’s played well. He has always pulled for his teammates. During the girls game, he’s pulling for the girls. He’s just a great guy to have around. We’ve got Dre McElrath who’s done some good things as well. We enjoyed having him around, too.”

For the evening tilt against Talladega, Barnett knows his team faces a stiff challenge against a team that has only lost two games on the season.

“The big thing is you cannot let Talladega have those runs where they score 10, 12 points,” Barnett said. “That’s what they feed off of. They’re like sharks in the water. If you make a turnover, next thing you know, you’ve made five turnovers. You want to dictate pace, play good half-court defense, and not let their press get to you. Of course, all of that is easier said than done. We’ve just got to control pace and hopefully give ourselves a chance at the end. One thing about Childersburg and Talladega is we have a healthy rivalry—a lot of respect between coaching staffs and players. We just want people to come out.”

Even if they haven’t tabulated a more pleasing number of wins, others have noticed the efforts of this Childersburg team.

“You don’t judge a champion by how things are when times are really good; you judge a champion when things are kind of tough,” Barnett said. “This group of kids has played so hard. When we got back from (a tournament in) Kentucky, the coach from the host school called and talked about how hard our kids had played. He was really impressed with how hard they played. Our kids have played hard and they deserve to have a good crowd come out.”