Bob Jones finished the regular season with a disappointing 7-19 mark and no area wins (0-6).
However, as last season’s Patriots team learned, regular season success or failure does not always lead to the same postseason results.
Bob Jones was 27-1 entering last season’s Class 6A, Area 15 tournament but had its postseason abruptly ended when they fell to Decatur 56-50 in the first round.
“Our guys can look back to last year,” Patriots coach Graham Aderholt said.
Aderholt said Bob Jones will need to overcome the inconsistent play that plagued them the entire season. Several winnable games have slipped away from the Patriots. Twelve of their 19 losses have been by single digits.
Aderholt said that it will be important for his team to maintain its focus.
“We’ve been preaching to them that it’s a one-game season,” Aderholt said.
In order to secure a win and a spot in next week’s sub-regional, Bob Jones will have to beat Area 15 regular-season champion and tourney host Sparkman (23-6, 6-0). They contest is scheduled to begin Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The winner will advance to the tourney final against Buckhorn or Hazel Green on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
The Senators have struggled in recent weeks having lost five of its last eight games. After winning comfortably over Bob Jones, 60-45, in their first meeting it took a Jason Russell go-ahead basket with 1.5 seconds left to lift the Senators to a 50-46 win in the rematch.
Aderholt will be counting on players such as senior Jamarcus Jones, sophomore Dalton Barkley and junior Tanner Finley to make big plays.
“Jamarcus has come on strong,” Aderholt said. “Dalton Barkley has been pretty consistent for us. Tanner Finley has stepped up and made some big shots.”
No. 5 Bob Jones (27-4, 4-2) won its last four games heading into the Area 15 tournament at Sparkman High.
The second seed will play Buckhorn (22-8, 2-4) for a chance to meet Class 6A, No. 1 and top-seeded Sparkman or Hazel Green in the tourney final Monday at 6 p.m.
Bob Jones and Buckhorn played each other three times this season, with the Patriots winning all three contests. In addition to the two area games they also faced off in the Decatur Orthopedic Clinic classic in December.