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Griffin Bears hope to tame No. 1 Fayette County Tigers

February 17, 2012
Griffin Grasshoppers

Griffin Bears hope to tame No. 1 Fayette County Tigers
Now the real fun begins for the Griffin High Bears basketball team.

Griffin (9-16) upset two teams in the 2012 Region 3-AAAA Tournament and now it’s time to really see what the Bears are made of as they face the Fayette County Tigers in the tournament semifinals tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Fayette County High School. The Tigers are not only the No. 1 seed in the tournament, they just happen to be the No. 1 team in the state in Class AAAA with a 24-1 record and a current 16-game winning streak. Last season, the Tigers made it to the Class AAAA state Final Four and are on pace to make it back there again — and beyond.

The winner of tonight’s game advances to the region championship game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and will be guaranteed a home game in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs next week. The loser will play in the third-place game against either Dutchtown or Alcovy Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and will start the state playoffs on the road.

Can the confident Bears catch lightning in a bottle three straight times and pull off the biggest upset in recent school history? Or will the Tigers’ size and experience (nine seniors on the roster) be too much for Griffin?

“One thing I know we’ll do is play aggressive for 32 minutes, that’s for sure,” said Bears head coach Prelvis Paster. “We can’t be overly aggressive, however, and get in foul trouble. And we definitely have to make our free throws.”

The Bears have done a decent job at the charity stripe in their wins over Upson-Lee and Jones County in this tournament, sinking 13 of 19 free throws against Upson-Lee and 19 of 30 against Jones. Paster said the key for Griffin tonight will be to make sure they keep Fayette, especially their 6-foot-9 senior center Ekene Anachebe, out of the paint.

“We don’t want them to get easy rebounds and throw long outlet passes for fast-break points,” he said. “We’ve got to harass the rebounder and get back on defense to stop them from getting easy opportunities. Fayette County wants to run and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Paster recognizes that getting a win over Fayette will be a tall order, especially trying to contain Anachebe and sophomore shooting guard C.J. Johnson, but he believes his young team will give it their best effort.

“Their big man is a load. They love to throw him the lob passes for dunks,” Paster said. “The plan is for my guys to force Fayette to shoot contested shots. I’ll be very happy if we do that to them and make them work for their points.”

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