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Patriots must break press at state

After a heart-wrenching sub-state game that included a blown lead and several misses on would-be game winners and that took an extra period to decide a winner, Chilton Christian coach Chris Jones wants only one thing from today’s state tournament game: “I’m hoping for no OT,” Jones said.

Jones, of course, also wants his team to play well and win when it plays Victory (Columbus, Miss.) at 1:30 p.m. at Shelton State Community College. To do that, the Patriots (10-10) will have to handle a pressure defense better than they did in the 54-49 win over Calvary (Montgomery) on Feb. 12.

“We need to make them pay early,” Jones said about breaking the press and forcing Victory into a more conventional defense. “We need to control the tempo of the game.”

That is especially true because Victory (15-4) has enough depth to wear opponents down. Victory utilizes a nine-man playing rotation, and CCA usually employs only seven players.

Jones said he wants his Patriots to keep Victory’s quick guards from penetrating. Instead, CCA needs to force outside shots and then rebound the basketball.

That’s something Chilton has done well this season. In fact, the Patriots have outrebounded their opponents in every game. But they have yet to play a team with the height boasted by Victory’s Taylor Robertson and Nick Hairston.

CCA’s appearance in the state tournament is its fourth in as many years. The least time CCA played Victory, in 2007, the Patriots won by one point in a semifinal game.

If CCA wins the first game of the single-elimination, eight-team tournament, it would play at 1:30 p.m. Friday the winner of the Northside (Dothan)-Flint Hill (Bessemer) game.