Tigers try for another county title

Published 4:38 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

No surprise: Chilton County this week is expected to win the boys county basketball tournament.

The Tigers have won seven consecutive titles, will play on their home court even Thorsby is technically the tournament host, and are the No. 1 seed, giving them a first-round bye.

Game 1: Thorsby (No. 4 seed) vs. Verbena (5) – 7 p.m. Jan. 11

Game 2: Maplesville (3) vs. Isabella (6) – 7 p.m. Jan. 12

Game 3: Chilton Co. (1) vs. Game 1 winner – 7 p.m. Jan. 14

Game 4: Jemison (2) vs. Game 2 winner – 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15

Championship game: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16

CCHS came to dominate the event under coach Donnie Hand by taking a different approach.

“We don’t talk much about the county tournament until that week gets here,” Hand said. “Before I got here, they would put so much emphasis on the tournament that, when it was over with, they thought the season was over with.”

An interesting cast will try to end the Tigers’ reign.

The winner of Monday’s Thorsby-Verbena game will get first crack at CCHS.

Thorsby pushed CCHS for three quarters in last year’s championship game before finally fading.

Verbena, meanwhile, is the county’s most surprising team. The Red Devils have won nine games this season—more than they’ve won the past decade combined.

On the other side of the bracket, Maplesville and Isabella will play Tuesday, and the winner will play No. 2 seed Jemison on Friday.

Maplesville is the last team to hand CCHS a tournament loss, topping the Tigers in the semifinal round before going on to win the 2001-02 tournament.

If the Red Devils are to turn the trick again this year, they would have to win three games a five days.

“If you’re guys are used to playing, it’s not a problem,” Maplesville coach Eric Bailey said.

Hand agreed that a bye can be overrated.

“A first-round bye doesn’t help as much as you would think,” he said. “In basketball, you want to play as much as you can, and we will have almost a week before the 1 or 2 seed gets to play.”