KCHS set to open Region 5-2A Tourney Play Thursday
While there is no doubt that both the Kemper County High School girls and boys basketball teams would like to leave the gym at Philadelphia High School as Region 5-2A Tournament Champions, the most important thing for both teams to do is win their openers in the five-team tourney on Thursday night.
Wins on Thursday will assure the Lady Wildcats and Wildcats of hosting first-round games in the MHSAA Class 2A State Tournament that will begin on Monday at the home courts of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds coming out of the district tournament being held this week.
“You definitely want to have as many home games as you can,” said KCHS girls head coach Ronnie Slaughter. “It gives you a sense of confidence and you have the home crowd behind you”
The Lady Wildcats open play in the District Tournament tonight (Thursday) at 7 when they take on Newton High School. The other girl’s game has top-seeded Lake facing the winner of Tuesday night’s match-up between fourth-seeded Philadelphia and fifth-seeded Nanih Waiya.
The Lady Wildcats split with both Lake and Newton this season.
The top four teams will advance with the top two seeds hosting on Monday and the third and fourth seeds hitting the road to take on the top seeds in Region 6.
The girls consolation game is set for 4 p.m. on Friday, with the championship game scheduled for 7 p.m.
Both the Kemper County boys and girls are the second seeds in the event.
The KCHS boys are set to play host Philadelphia in the nightcap on Thursday, with the projected tip coming at 8:30 p.m. The other boys game on Thursday has top-seeded Newton taking on Tuesday’s Lake Nanih Waiya game at 5:30 p.m.
The boys consolation is set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday with scheduled tip-off for the boys championship slated for 8:30 p.m.
The top two boys teams will host first-round games in the state tourney on Tuesday, while the third and fourth place teams will hit the road the same night.
KCHS boys coach Michael Stringer knows his team will face a tough road to win the district tourney, having split with Philadelphia and lost to Newton twice, but also noted that it was a reachable goal.
“We are a good team,” Stringer said. “We just need to have a team concept and play strong defense. If we keep the confidence we can win.”
The Wildcats beat Philly in DeKalb in the regular season but lost in overtime on the road. “We had a big lead both games but couldn’t hold on to the big lead. We have to do a better job of that.”
While Stringer said he believes in a team concept, he did note that freshman point guard Lebron Johnson has done an exceptional job running the team. “He has a chance to be one of the best to come out of here,” Stringer said. “He just needs to keep working.”