James Clemens will get its first taste of post-season basketball beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Jets (15-15, 3-3 in Class 6A, Area 16) will face Florence at Austin High. The teams split their two regular-season meetings with each winning on its home court.
The winner will advance to the area tourney final against Austin or Decatur on Monday at 7:30 p.m. The semifinal winner also qualifies for a spot in next week’s sub-regional round.
Clemens lost its regular season finale, 38-35, to Lee-Huntsville on Monday. Despite the loss Jets coach Luther Tiggs saw reasons to be optimistic about his team’s chances in the tournament.
“For the first time this year we played with a level of intensity that it takes for us to advance in the playoffs,” Tiggs said. “We played with a lot of poise, a lot of determination and with a sense of urgency. Hopefully there will be a carryover.”
Tiggs said the game with Lee presented the Jets with some of the same challenges they will face against Florence.
Florence is “athletic, similar to Lee,” he said. “They are an excellent rebounding team and transition team. We’ve got to control the offensive boards. We can’t give up any easy baskets.”
Tiggs emphasized the importance of playing solid defense.
“I’m a defensive-minded coach,” he said. “We made a lot of improvements on the defensive end.”
Clemens coach Jeff Dunnavant said he wanted the Jets to use the regular season to get ready for February basketball, when post-season play begins.
Dunnavant will see how far the Jets have come when they open area tournament play at Austin High on Thursday at 6p.m. against Florence. The Jets (15-14, 3-3) won both regular season meetings between the teams.
The winner will advance to the finals Monday at 6p.m. against Austin or Decatur.