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Jerry Garris doesn’t like the hand his Meade County Green Wave was dealt during Saturday’s draw meeting for the Boys’ 3rd Region Basketball Tournament.
Meade County (10-20), the 11th District runner-up, meets Owensboro, the 9th District champion, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals at the Owensboro Sportscenter. Garris said it was the worst thing that could happen to his team.
“We’re playing, but that wouldn’t have been my first choice,” Garris said Saturday evening. “But when you’re in the situation we’re in, you don’t get a choice. We’ve got a dandy.”
With no player taller than 6-foot-4 senior forward Connor Williams, Garris said the Red Devils (18-10) will present matchup problems for the Green Wave.
The retiring coach isn’t sure how Meade County will combat the size difference.
“They’ve got size everywhere. And they’re pretty fast,” Garris said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. I may just flip a coin. If we play man, they’ll beat us inside; if we go zone, they’ll beat us outside.”
Going to a 2-2-1 zone cost the Green Wave in Friday’s loss to Breckinridge County (21-7) in the district championship. The Fighting Tigers turned a one-point deficit into a 62-54 lead with three 3-pointers in a 55-second span and held on down the stretch.
“We’ve never faced this much size,” Garris said. “It’s just a bad matchup. We’ll probably use a little bit of both and see what happens. Hopefully they’re missing some shots and we can rebound and score on the other end.”
Meade County and Owensboro didn’t meet in the regular season, but the teams scrimmaged in November.
The Green Wave played two teams – John Hardin and North Hardin – Garris said are similar to Owensboro. He said all three teams have a combination of size and speed.
“They’re big and quick and athletic – everything we’re not is what it amounts to,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we keep playing teams like John Hardin and North. At some point, you’ve got to get through Owensboro to win this tournament.”
Garris said the team will get to practice for an hour today at the Sportscenter, where the Green Wave have gone 2-3 (including the regular season) since moving from the 5th Region in the 2005-06 season.
“We never have played well there,” Garris said. “We had two regional games last year, and even though we got to the semifinals, I don’t think we played extremely well in that gym. But we’ll go down there and give it our best shot. Our kids will give a good effort and we’ll see what happens.”
The Meade County-Owensboro winner advances to face the winner of Ohio County (22-7) and Grayson County (11-18) in the semifinals at 8:45 p.m. Friday. The final is set for 9 p.m. Saturday.
Unlike their male counterparts, the Lady Waves like their draw. Meade County, the 11th District champion, gets a rematch with 9th District runner-up Owensboro at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Lady Waves (21-9) rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Owensboro (19-11), 76-56 on Jan. 24. But longtime coach Josh Hurt said it really doesn’t matter that his team has a win over the Lady Devils.
“That score is misleading because they were up 12 in the second quarter,” he said. “But we came back. The score is not indicative of how good they are. It’s a tough draw, but they were all going to be tough draws.”
If Meade County wins, it will face the Edmonson County-Ohio County winner in the second semifinal at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. The championship game is set for 8 p.m. March 4.
The Lady Waves enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak. Hurt said Thursday’s 36-27 win over Hancock County in the district final showed his team it could win even when its shots aren’t falling.
“I think the district championship game set a good tone for us,” Hurt said. “It showed that we can win with defense and rebounding, even if we’re not shooting well. That’s where you want to be. When you rely on shooting and you don’t make shots, you get tight. What we’ve realized is we can shoot it poorly and still win, so I like where we are.”
The Lady Waves were able to practice in the Sportscenter following the draw meeting, which Hurt said should be beneficial when Thursday rolls around.
“It went really well. We shot the ball really well,” he said. “We were enthusiastic and pretty crisp. We felt really good about it. These guys have played three or four times in that gym. I hope the mystique of that place and that floor has worn off. We should be able to just play our game and play good basketball.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.