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DHS molds together at right time

On February 11, Jeremahi Devon Bell -Demopolis High Tigers head basketball coach Jesse Bell’s newborn son-was born into the world. The next night as the Tigers prepared to play against the Greene County Tigers in the Area 8 tournament, coach Bell whore his son’s hospital identification band on his wrist and the Tigers declared to win in honor of Jeremahi. The Tigers won 48-29.

Two days later, the Tigers faced the 2003 defending 4A state champion Livingston High Cougars. Again coach Bell wore his son’s band and again the Tigers won, 52-51 for the area championship. In fact, since Feb. 11, coach Bell has not removed the band from his wrist, and the Tigers have not lost a game.

“It is not coming off till we loose,” coach Bell said.

Some may call it luck, but perhaps there is more to it than that. Since pledging to win in honor of their coach’s newborn son, the Tigers have come together as a team, playing with purpose.

It is that determination that has landed the Tigers in Mobile, playing for the first time in six years in a 4A Southwest Regional game.

The long wait is officially over for the DHS Tigers as today they take their (14-10) record along with Jeremahi’s band to Mobile for the 4A Southwest Regional quarterfinal match-up with the Choctaw County Tigers.

The Tigers come into today’s game having lost both previous games this season against the Choctaw Tigers with a 61-60 loss on the road and a 61-42 loss at home. But that was before Jeremahi came into the picture.

“We are a different team right now,” Bell said. “We’ve won four out of our last five games. We have confidence in ourselves. That’s something that wasn’t there before.”

The Tigers head to Mobile knowing they can win, but in order to do so they must play together for four solid quarters. Choctaw has great speed and outstanding jumping abilities, not tot mention a fairly decent outside game.

“Our defense will be the key,” Bell said. “We are going to have to play our best defensive game ever to win.”

While defense will most definitely be a key factor for the Tigers, there are also other things to consider. In their first match-up with Choctaw, the Tigers played great defense, but missed 14 free throws on the night to loose by 1 point.

The Tigers were in full control going into the final period, like they have been in many games this season, and then watched the Choctaw Tigers walk away with the win. That cannot happen today.

“We can’t let up for one second,” Bell said. “Full throttle all the way.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the pace of the game needs to be full throttle. With games being played one behind the other, the game will already be a fast one. The last thing the Tigers need to do is make it faster.

“Tempo control is a must for us,” Bell said.

If the Tigers can control the tempo long enough to pick up another win today they will make history, being the only DHS team to ever win in Mobile.

Starting Lineups

4 Greg McClain – junior (forward) 6-2

20 Dontrell Miller – sophomore (guard) 5-9

24 Lequintin Lomax – senior (forward) 6-2

22 Cedric McKinley – sophomore (center) 6-6

10 G.W. Washington – junior (guard) 6-2

Choctaw

20 Clinton Thomas – junior (forward) 6-3

11 Theadore Jimerson – senior (forward) 6-4

33 Deon President – junior (forward) 6-8

3 Jamal Smith – senior (guard) 5-8

12 Robert Deloach – junior (guard) 6-0