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No matter if his team has won 20 games or nine, Meade County coach Jerry Garris is a firm believer that anything can happen when the postseason starts.
While trying to get the Green Wave fired up for the Boys’ 11th District Basketball Tournament, Garris pointed to the Pikeville Shelby Valley Wildcats – who, after winning the state title in 2010, made it back to the state tournament in 2011 after winning nine games in the regular season.
“Their coach is telling his guys the same thing I’m telling mine: Tuesday is a one-game season,” Garris said following Thursday’s loss to Central Hardin in the regular-season finale. “Everybody in the state is saying that. It doesn’t matter what your record is. I’ve seen a lot of things happen, a lot of strange things.
“You get a fresh start,” he added. “I don’t care who you are. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of strange things happen. You can go back and look at a lot of districts and see a lot of upsets. There’s no pressure on us. We just go out there and play and not worry about too much. If we get hot, you never know what can happen. That’s the good thing about basketball.”
Second-seeded Meade County (9-19) hopes to get hot in the district tournament at Hancock County. The Green Wave face the third-seeded Hornets (10-16) in the second semifinal at 8 tonight. Top-seeded Breckinridge County (19-7) takes on fourth-seeded Cloverport Frederick Fraize (3-21) at 6:30.
It’s been and up-and-down season for Meade County, which lost two of its last three games. The Green Wave have had four losing streaks and they lost seven straight at one point.
Jerry Garris attributes that to the beefed-up schedule his team faced.
“We played eight teams that won 20 games, and 10 that won 17 or more,” he said. “I’m hoping that helps us (this) week. We’re never going to have a glamorous record, but I hope that helps us in the district.”
Something else that should help the Green Wave is the fact that they swept Hancock County in the regular season.
But as senior guard Bryce Garris said no three games are alike. Meade County beat the Hornets by three at home and 11 on the road.
“We can’t depend on what we’ve done in the past with them,” he said. “We’ve just got to go out there and play our hardest. We can’t go in the game thinking it’s going to be easy because we’ve beaten them twice and their best player broke his leg. We just can’t go into the game thinking we’ve got the game because of that. We can’t go in thinking like that. We have to give 100 percent and hope for the best.
“I like our chances. I think we can beat them again. We’ve got a bumpy road to get to the championship, but we can’t think about that right now.”
Jerry Garris said beating the Hornets again will be tough, especially since the game is on their home floor.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times, especially when you’re close,” he said. “If we beat Hancock by 20 both times, it wouldn’t bother me much to play them again. It was a three-point game in December and an 11-point game here, so I expect it to be a tough game. We’re going to have to play well on their floor.
“People remember what happens this time of year,” Garris added. “If we can get to the region tournament, you can say you’ve had a successful season. With the right draw, I think we can win a game in the region. But we’ve got to win Tuesday before we can even think about that.”
Even though the Hornets will be without junior guard Kolton Keown, who broke his leg earlier this season, Jerry Garris expects nothing less than a hostile environment. Through 22 games, Keown was averaging a team-best 14.4 points per game.
“I think we’re the favorites (today), but it’s going to be tough for us,” Garris said. “I’m looking forward to it and the kids are. They understand that we can make a successful season in a week or so if we can get a win or two here.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.