By Matthew Martin/Sports Correspondent
The Gadsden City High boys basketball team picked up a huge win against Huffman, 66-48, last Tuesday (Jan. 29).
Add the big victory on senior night with other recent impressive performances, and the Titans have a strong resume hea-ding into postseason play.
Gadsden City (14-9) has won four-straight games and is 8-1 over its last nine, with rest of the state eyeing two marquee contests to close the regular season.
The solid win over Huffman began a brutal three-game stretch for Gadsden City. The Titans looked to run their winning streak to five Thursday (Jan. 31) with a date on the road against Hoover (26-2).
Game results were not available prior to press time.
After the game against the Class 6A No. 3 Bucs, the Titans face another of the state’s best Saturday, when Class 5A, No. 1 Wenonah (25-1) comes to town.
“The home game against the Dragons will feature just B-team boys’ and varsity boys’ games
These games, especially right before the area tournament and the state tournament, gives Gadsden City head coach Reginald Huff and his team a chance to see where they stand against the best the state has to offer.
Huff schedules opponents out of state as well, along with in-season tournaments in order to make his team better in the long run.
“That’s the whole point of playing them (Hoover and Wenonah),” Huff said. “I’ve been doing this for years. It’s my 18th, 19th year of doing this, and that’s how I’ve always played it. It’s been successful tool of mine to play a tough schedule [and] prepare the guys night-in and night-out.
“It’s almost like playing in the SEC. You want to play a tough game every night.”
It can sometimes mean the Titans are better than their record shows.
This year’s team could be reflective of that possibility.
Another aspect of playing a demanding schedule is getting the players ready for a run at a state title, not only as a team, but also individually. Huff said it is a little different now, and he has had to change his approach slightly, when dealing with today’s athletes. He said he hopes playing against the best competition will focus his team.
“It’s hard,” Huff said on dealing with his players. “Kids today are so different. Sometimes they don’t understand the object of the game is winning and not to see how many points you can get. It’s not about trying to see who can score the most points. Once we get to the point where we are not like that, we are going to be a really good team.”
One drawback to both scheduling Hoover and Wenonah so late in the season and playing three games in five nights is that Gadsden City must quickly recharge its batteries.
Huff has scheduled tough schedules each year he has been a varsity basketball coach, going all the way back to his days at Litchfield High.
Huff has not delineated from that approach this season.
“It prepares you,” Huff said. “It’s grueling and it wears on you. But if you work hard enough, it prepares you to contend and make a run for a state championship. That’s our goal.
“I could schedule 30 wins every season, but we go out of state and play some the best teams that’s around. It’s also so my guys can see who they are fighting against for scholarships. It gives us a chance to see what it takes to be the best.”
Huff is hoping that playing the Hoovers and Wenonahs will make this year’s team better down the stretch, as Gadsden City attempts to advance into state tournament play.
The Class 6A, Area 9 Tournament begins Friday at Clay-Chalkville, with Gadsden City taking on Oxford. The Titans and Yellow Jackets split the two meetings between the schools during the regular season.