After thrilling wins over Greensboro, Tigers face formidable January

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Because of their late start this season, the Demopolis High School Tigers varsity boys and girls basketball teams are on course for a long and fast paced month of basketball that is sure to test them at every level.

While most high school teams will play two games a week for the remainder of the season, the Tigers will see as many as three games a week, which doesn’t leave much time for practice. That means no more fishing or hunting for either DHS head coaches Tony Pittman and Jesse Bell.

DHS Tigers varsity boy’s head coach Jesse Bell put away his orange hunting cap and rifle this week, grabbed his coach’s whistle and went back to work on the hard court. And though this month may be a long and tiring one for both the DHS players and coaches, it’s one they must endure if they want to play basketball.

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And with two big wins this week over Francis Marion and Greensboro it looks that the Tigers are very much up to the challenge. After walking away with a 73-54 New Year’s Eve victory over Francis Marion last week the DHS Tigers stepped into the new year in good fashion and continued their winning streak Friday night with a hard fought triple overtime 78-74 victory over the Greensboro Raiders.

Sophomore Dontrell Miller led the way for the Tigers Friday night with 14 points along with junior Greg McClain who also had 14 points. But it was Millers’ defensive performance that caught the attention of Bell.

With the win the Tigers improve to 5-1 for the season and 1-0 in area play, but there is still work that needs to be done on the court, according to Bell. "Our performance at the line is very disturbing to me," he said.

The Tigers led throughout the game until their performance at the line finally caught up with them in the fourth period. After missing free throw after free throw the Tigers’ lead began to fade and as the clock wound down the Raiders were able to come from behind to tie it at 54-54.

When it comes to free throws the Tigers look about as impressive as Shaq as they were 21-of-47 from the line Friday night and coach Bell knows that the problem and solution to the problem come from the same source.

With all their free throw problems the boys might want to take a few lessons from DHS Lady Tigers senior point guard Janet Woods, who hit 8-of-10 from the line Friday night to help the Lady Tigers gain their first area win over the Greensboro Lady Raiders 55-39.

Woods lead the way with 12 points for the Lady Tigers along with sophomore Kelly Johnson who also racked up 12 points on the night and lead the team with eight rebounds.

The Lady Tigers improved their overall record to 3-2 and are 1-0 in area play, but head coach Tony Pittman is not impressed. The Lady Tigers are still facing problems that have haunted them for far too long with turnovers. They posted an eye popping 27 turnovers against Greensboro.

And just like the boys, the Lady Tigers will see plenty of action this month as they too will be playing three games a week throughout the month of January.

This week both squads will travel to Choctaw County tonight for a non-area match-up with the Tigers, then return home Wednesday night to face Sumter County and finish the long week off on Friday night with a rematch with Thomasville.