Alexander will be looking for a little revenge into tonight’s Region 5-AAAAAA contest against Tri-Cities.
Last season, the Cougars defeated the East Point school twice during the regular season by an average of 10.5 points. However, Tri-Cities defeated Alexander by two points in the quarterfinals of the region playoffs.
With that win, Tri-Cities clinched a berth into the state playoffs where it advanced to the quarterfinals.
“Last year they beat us to get into the playoffs,” Alexander senior guard Chris Lunsford said. “I feel like we should come into this game with a chip on our shoulders. We just can’t let them come in here and get a win.”
Said Alexander coach Jason Slate: “It is a home game, and you have to win at home. They are a good team, a ranked team, so we have to play real well.”
Tri-Cities got hot at the right time last season during region and state tournament time. The Bulldogs finished as region runner-up after a five-point loss to South Paulding in the region championship game.
Coming into the season, Tri-Cities has garnered recognition in the early-season rankings.
“To us, this is big like any other game,” guard Sidni White said. “We’ve had some good practices so I know we are ready.”
The Bulldogs played in the first round of the Peach State Classic at Maynard Jackson High in Atlanta on Tuesday night. Tri-Cities went into its game against Therrell with a five-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs only non-region loss during the season was 82-69 to Class AAAAAAA Westlake.
They are 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the region.
Alexander has also been on a brief hot streak lately in winning its last two games. The Cougars have defeated Northgate and Creekside to improve to 4-4 and 3-2.
Coming into the game, Tri-Cities is in second place with Alexander holding down the No. 4 spot in the standing behind Douglas County. Langston Hughes is the region leader and only team without a region loss.
Tri-Cities opened the season at home with an overtime loss to Douglas County last month.
During its two-game winning streak, the Cougars have held their opponents to an average of 40 points.
“Defense is what the coaches preach everyday in practice,” Lunsford said. “We know its going to be our defense that will have to carry us. The offense will come, but our coaches always talk about defense.”
Tri-Cities has played well on the road this season in going 3-0 coming into tonight’s game.
“Playing defense is big for us,” White said. “Our main objective is to sit down and guard our opponent. If we make a good stop, it will turn into some points on offense.”
Slate praised the defense but also said the team has to do a better job of scoring points.
“We are turning the ball over too much,” he said. “We are pounding the ball and dribbling too much, and that is not scoring points.”
Following tonight’s game, Tri-Cities will resume playing in the Peach State Classic. The Cougars take on Cedar Grove in the opening round of the Lake City Classic at Allatoona High.
Alexander won last year’s tournament with a win over Carrollton in the championship game.