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Tigers look to rebound against Chilton County

The season didn’t open quite like the Tigers would have preferred with Friday’s 52-44 season-opening loss to region foe Carver. However, head coach Jesse Bell was impressed with his team’s effort after less than a week of full-team practice.

Despite problems with turnovers and struggles at the free throw line, the Tigers found themselves down only five points with three minutes to go in the game.

Bell is hopeful his team can correct some of those woes this week as it gets ready to travel to Chilton County for a region contest Friday.

“Hopefully, we’ll have a great week of practice,” Bell said. “It’s going to take repetition. We didn’t run the plays. That’s going to come with time, with repetition.”

Demopolis shot an unsightly 4-for-14 from the charity stripe Friday, a problem Bell knows will prevent his team from winning close ball games if it persists.

“When you get to the free throw line, especially on the road, you’ve got to shoot 75-80 percent in order to win close ball games,” Bell said. “Guys have got to make free throws. We’ll put a lot of emphasis on that in practice.”

The Tigers did get solid play out of their bench Friday, a fact that has Bell optimistic about where the team is headed in the coming weeks.

“Right now, our bench has done a pretty good job of coming in,” Bell said. “Right now we can go eight deep on the bench and that is what we’re going to try to do Friday night (against Chilton) and save our starters for the latter part of the game.”

Carver’s ban from postseason play adds an extra emphasis to Friday’s game, creating what is essentially a three-team region in view of the area tournament.

“They know that,” Bell said of his players’ understanding of the situation. “It’s a must game Friday night. I know it’s early, but they know this game is very important.”

Despite the loss against Carver, the Tigers remain in great shape to achieve their goal of hosting the area tournament. That effort will not come easily though as the team must work through the majority of its issues in region games.

Still, Bell likes his squad’s chances as he looks at Friday night, citing a few key areas the Tigers must execute in order to get their first win of the season.

“We can’t get in foul trouble for one,” Bell said before turning his attention to the CCHS offense. “We’ve got to stop penetration. (But that will be tough) because they shoot the ball well against the zone.”