Hatch prepared for title defense

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

UNIONTOWN &045; When you win eight state basketball titles, including last year’s championship, teams are either intimidated or are anxious to play against you. When you are a championship team most of your opponents will probably play their best game.

The R.C. Hatch Bobcats have begun the defense of their state championship. &8220;We take nothing for granted,&8221; said second year coach Homer Davis. &8220;We prepare and play one game at a time and as if it’s a championship game.&8221;

Hatch, who has won three out of the last four 2A state championships, attended a conditioning team camp at the University of Alabama this past summer. &8220;We are better prepared this year than last year,&8221; Davis said. &8220;We stayed on campus at the University of Alabama, ate in their cafeteria, and played some very tough teams in the process. They all were bigger schools.&8221;

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The exposure to that kind of environment will be a confidence builder for the Bobcats. The Hatch coaching staff also introduced a pre-season weight-training program, the first for the school. &8220;It won’t matter if a team is more talented than we are,&8221; said Davis, a graduate of Alabama A&M, we will be in better condition and that will always payoff toward the end of any ball game.&8221;

The Bobcats have worked on more spacing on the floor as well as better communication on the floor.

Hatch returns two starters from last year’s championship team. They are senior Calvin Pope and junior Frankie Sullivan, Jr. Both have played on three state championship teams. Pope and Sullivan will be expected to provide leadership for the team on and off the floor. The Bobcats have four other seniors on the team, including Kejuan Brooks, who Coach Davis expects to play a big role around the basket. Junior Rodney Scott is also looked to step up and make a big contribution to the team as well.

The area teams that the Bobcats will go against are the Keith Bears and the Southern Choctaw Indians. Of course Hatch is the favorite to win the area.

The schools philosophy is to prepare the players to win a state championship. Hatch finished last season with a 32-3 record. They are already off to a 4-1 mark so far this season, losing to rival Wilcox Central.