Jason Ollison knows his Green Ridge Tigers haven’t played the big teams yet.
The Tigers are still unbeaten in Kaysinger Conference play at 6-0, but those six wins were not against Cole Camp, Tipton or Sacred Heart.
Those three games were scheduled to be the last three conference games Green Ridge will play this season.
“I looked at (the schedule) when the season started,” Ollison said. “With the group we have, as young as we are, it’s good that we had it at the end. I think the guys understand the system now. As we tweak the schedule a little bit, it would be good to have some of these mixed in.”
The Tigers’ first big test comes tonight as the last two unbeaten teams in the Kaysinger Conference, 6-0 Green Ridge and 7-0 Cole Camp, meet at 7:30 p.m. on Cole Camp’s Robert Farrington Court.
“I’ve got a whole bunch of kids who this is their first rodeo,” Ollison said. “We talked about not feeling the pressure and just having fun.”
Countering Green Ridge’s youth is Cole Camp’s experience.
“Cole Camp is hands down the best in the conference, there’s no doubt about that,” Ollison said. “They’ve got four seniors that start and Tanner Oelrichs as a junior is a very polished post player.”
The Bluebirds come into the game with a six-game winning streak. Cole Camp’s last loss came in the final of the Stover Invitational to Eldon. Since then the Bluebirds racked up a 19-point win over Stover, a 31-point win over Smithton, a 17-point win over Sacred Heart and a 35-point win over Northwest.
Ollison wants his team to limit Cole Camp’s effectiveness in transition.
“We can’t give up easy points because we’re slow getting back,” he said. “If we can play five-on-five, our chances increase a little bit. You do that by rebounding and not turning the ball over.”
Green Ridge also comes in with a six-game winning streak — the Tigers’ last loss came to Russellville in the semifinals of the Otterville tournament — but many of their recent wins have been close. Green Ridge beat La Monte, Windsor and Stover by less than 10 points before dispatching Lincoln 53-38.
“I want them to understand they’re 6-0,” Ollison said. “I want them to understand where they’re at but put it in the perspective that they haven’t played the three best teams in the conference. We have to learn from it.”
And he wants his team to have fun while learning how to play in front of a packed house.
“It’s not every day you go to Cole Camp and you’re 6-0 and their fans are hollering at us,” he said.
No matter who wins, the two could meet again next Tuesday. Cole Camp is the top seed in the Kaysinger tournament and will face the winner of the Smithton-Lincoln game at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Green Ridge entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed and will face Windsor at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. If both teams win they would face each other in the semifinal at 6 p.m. Feb. 5.