Tonight’s Greene-Livingston matchup key in area race

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

After tonight there could be a new king of the court in Class 4A Area 8 when the 9-9 2002 defending state champion Livingston High School Cougars travel to Eutaw to take on the 6-9 Greene County Tigers.

The last time these two teams met back on December 19, the Cougars dominated over the Tigers and pulled away in the end to beat the Tigers by as much as 20 points. But times have changed and the Tigers now feel that they have the confidence they need to play with the big boys.

Tigers head coach Rodney Wesley has seen his young team hang closely with some of the best teams in West Alabama and knows that his team is fully capable of taking the crown away from Livingston.

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The Tigers have seen themselves match-up well against teams like R.C. Hatch, Central and most recently the No. 2 ranked 3A Sumter County Wildcats. The Tigers hosted the Wildcats Saturday night in a double-overtime 65-61 battle. But despite the loss, the Tigers now realize that they are capable of playing with some of the best talent in the state.

And though Livingston blew us out earlier this year, we now feel after playing these teams as well as we have that we have a mental edge going into tonight’s game that we didn’t have back in December," Wesley said.

But Livingston head coach Kenneth Threadgill doesn’t see any exchanges of any crown happening just yet.

With the return of point guard Corey Speight, who has been out most of the season with a football injury, the Cougars feel they are back playing basketball at a championship level.

At the time of their last meeting with the Tigers, the Cougars were 4-9, but have not lost a single game since and are sitting at the top of Area 8 with a 2-0 record. And with Speight back on the court averaging 20 points per game, it doesn’t look like the Cougars will have any problems staying on top.

But the Tigers do have a few weapons of their own that know how to find the basket and when they are fully functional, they are as dangerous as any.

Six-foot-six sophomore Howard Crawford has been on fire lately and is averaging 15 points per game, while 6’8" sophomore Curtis Mixon has been dominating the boards for the Tigers averaging 8 rebounds and 10 points per game.

The stage is set and with all this talent on one court, folks in Eutaw are sure to see one great basketball came tonight.