Tigers return to region play at Selma on Tuesday night

Published 10:14 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

Demopolis High head coach Jesse Bell was not altogether surprised with the 92-48 thrashing his team suffered at the hands of Meridian (Miss.) Tuesday night. He knew his Tigers were facing a bigger, stronger, faster team. His hope, however, was that Demopolis (3-6, 0-2) would emerge from that game better prepared for its return to region play next week.

“Coming off a great victory versus Hatch and playing a team like Meridian that has great athletes, your kids respond,” Bell said. “It will make you better.”

In Meridian, the Tigers encountered a large, athletic team that loves to play pressure defense.

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“Some of the kids responded real well,” Bell said of his team’s reaction to Meridian’s press. Among those were the Tigers’ top two scorers, Jeremy Wallace and Mike Scott, who finished the night with nine and eight points respectively.

After opening the season as a reserve, Scott has found a spot in the starting rotation and has since become on of the Tigers’ most prominent scoring threats.

“If he scores at least 10 points for us, we’ve got a great chance of winning,” Bell said. “We needed another scorer on the floor. Mainly it takes some pressure off Wallace. And he can also run point for us.”

Scott and Wallace will lead the Tigers attack Tuesday night when they will get their first look at the Selma Saints in only Demopolis’ second road region game this season.

The Tigers went 0-3 against the Saints a season ago, narrowly missing an upset opportunity in the area tournament.

“We had a chance to upset Selma last year in the area tournament, we just couldn’t get some shots to fall,” Bell said. “Hopefully this year we’ll go in with a different attitude.”

Attitude will not be the only obstacle for the Tigers, who will sit for a week before taking to the floor against Selma.

“We try to have live scrimmages and try to keep it in a game situation,” Bell said. “We’ve been working on our full-court man-to-man.”

In their first round of area games — a pair of losses to Carver and Chilton County — the Tigers struggled with free throw shooting, shot selection, rebounding and turnovers after opening their season on Dec. 12.

Bell said Demopolis has focused on correcting those issues.

“That is stuff we have to work on everyday. Come February, everything will fall into place,” Bell said. “Time is winding down. We’ve got to get better each and every game.”

The Tigers will also be facing a much different Selma team than the one that bested them three times a year ago. The Saints lost a number of players to graduation.

“They are young. They have two returning starters on the varsity,” Bell said. “We are looking to beat them.”

In order to beat the Saints, Bell is hoping to take advantage of the their youth and put pressure on the team’s ball handlers. Conversely, Selma figures to offer an array of defensive looks to the Tigers.

“They’re going to mix it up. They’ll play a little 2-3 zone. That’s their base defense,” Bell said. “They also will play a little man-to-man.”