The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

February 18, 2014

26 DOWN, 4 TO GO

AHS not focused on winning streak ahead of game against Wenonah

Athens may be carrying a 23-game winning streak into today’s regional semifinals at Wallace State, but you wouldn’t know it. Athens coaches and players are more concerned about a different number: 4.

That’s how many games they must win for a state championship.

After Athens won its 20th consecutive game against Decatur in the regular season finale a few weeks ago, head coach Stace Tedford told his team to focus on the next seven games standing between them and a Blue Map.

After a pair of wins in the area tournament and sub-region victory over East Limestone, AHS is halfway there.

“Now, it’s a four-game season,” said junior guard Jackson Pettus. “Wenonah is the team we’ve been talking about playing all season.”

Athens players will hardly be strangers today at Tom Drake Coliseum. They won here two years ago to advance to the regional final against Lee, and they led Parker by double-digits in the semifinal last season.

This season, they’ve already won three games at Wallace State in a Christmas Tournament two months ago.

“Our players are coming in with a lot of confidence,” Tedford said. “We’ve already played some games there. They are approaching this game like any other. They don’t see them as Wenonah, they just see them as another team we have to beat.”

Since August, Tedford has prepared his team for this game. Along with scheduling the Christmas tournament at Wallace, Tedford broke the team’s season into two-game intervals, with brackets posted in the locker room.

“All season we approached games like a semifinal or a final,” Tedford said. “We knew in August we would have to play them (Wenonah). Everything we’ve worked for this year comes down to this game.”

Athens is prepared, confident and full of experience. But will it be enough against the three-time defending championship who just set the state record by scoring 154 points and winning a sub-region playoff game by 98 points?

“Wenonah is good, but we’re pretty good too,” Tedford said. “If we do what we’re suppose to do we can win. It should be a great game.”


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Local News 2
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