Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

November 26, 2012

Tiger Tuesday: Focus turns to hoops

Playoff drought should end for boys, girls

Corsicana — This time last year in Tiger Nation, it was all about Frisco Centennial and an eventual football showdown with Johnathan Gray and Aledo.

This week, the focus is on Forney coming to town Tuesday night for a basketball doubleheader.

Judging by the Corsicana basketball crowds so far this season, it’s taking you a while to get pumped up about hoops.

We know, We know. The Thanksgiving holidays. Hunting. Tweeting. Cyber sales. Cyber dating. The Twilight Saga.

We get it. You’re busy.

We just don’t want you to wake up on Jan. 1 and say, “dude, our Corsicana basketball teams are pretty good.”

Write it down. Cut this column out. Send an e-mail to yourself.

The Tigers — boys and girls — will both make the playoffs in basketball this season.

The boys will end a four-year playoff drought. The girls? One that goes all the way back to 1993.

And you ask, why so confident newspaper boy?

Well, let’s see. I’ve seen it up close and most of you haven’t.

Don Newton’s boys have skill and shooters. The Tigers have size too.

Mike Lewis, Dzifa Mallet and Tim Lang can all shoot it. Ernest McGhee can go get rebounds, and when the game slows down for him just a little, he’ll score five or six buckets a night off of offensive rebounds.

The Tigers wait on point guard Raphael Watts to recover from a football injury. Which is interesting because this is the least the Tigers have relied on football players since the 2008-09 Corsicana team won their way into the postseason.

The Tiger boys take a 3-1 record into Tuesday’s game against Forney.

The girls are 6-4 and play a up-tempo style. They average a steal a minute, at least it seems like that.

In fact, at most home games, they have an “S” corner (kind of like a “K” corner in baseball) where fans post an S on the railing for every steal.

It’s hard to keep up with, trust me.

The Lady Tigers are figuring out how to slow down the game. When they lose it’s because their transition defense suffers. And their defensive rebounding.

They also play five freshmen and a lot of underclassmen, which explains a lot.

And most of these girls play AAU summer league basketball, and my theory is it’s tough sometimes to adjust to high school coaching where you need more structure to win.

Which also leaves me optimistic because the more practice time the girls get with Art Prevost — and it wasn’t much for a week with eight games played on five days — the Lady Tigers will improve and be a force to be reckoned with once district play starts on Jan. 4.

If you remember, that’s six weeks later than the first district game in nine-team 15-4A the last two years.

The Lady Tigers have a dynamic guard trio with Shamara Taylor, Calae Wilson and Alexis Baston. They have a shooter in Erica Melendez. There’s the most improved athlete in any Corsicana program — Briana Biltz — to help in the middle.

With lots of youth on the way with many more names you’ll become familiar with over the next three months.

That is if you come to the games. Hope to see you soon.

And just FYI, you can tweet at Tiger Gym.

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