For much of the season, Bryan County High School boys' basketball coach Allen Clark has said he wants his team to be playing its best come tournament time.
Well, it's tournament time and it appears the Redskins might be right on schedule.
"We have played really well the last three ball games," Clark said, after his team fell 50-48 to Calvary on Tuesday night. "Other than winning all three, I could not ask for anything better than the effort I am getting for my team."
The Redskins (4-20, 2-8) have been a work in progress after winning only one game last season. But despite a midseason hiccup that saw Bryan County suffer a string of double-digit losses, the team has improved since 2010-11 and could pull some surprises when the Region 3-A tourney gets under way next week in Claxton. That would be just fine with Clark.
"We would love nothing more than to upset a few teams," he Clark said. "To be playing the spoiler was not at the top of our list at the beginning of the season, but right now we welcome the challenge."
Jaylan Rawls finished with 17 in the losing effort Tuesday night while Kajana Dixon had 10 points for the Redskins, who will be either a No. 5 or No. 6 seed from the east subregion when the tourney begins. The team is trying to make the most of its minutes on the court, Clark said.
"Right now we are trying to continue to improve until the last whistle blows," he said. "We want to go out and compete every night."
Though the Redskins will play one of the west region's top two teams - either Portal, Montgomerly County or perhaps Jenkins County -- Clark believes the Redskins can make a run if they play hard.
"When we play with a lot of energy and passion we play well," he said. If we are putting forth maxium effort during a ball game then it is up to me to get us in the right defensive and offensive strategies to have a chance to win."
While the Redskins look to play Cinderalla, the Lady Redskins are the defending Region 3-A champs and advanced to the Class A Sweet 16 last season.
But Bryan County (15-8, 5-5) has struggled at times this season and finds itself as a likely No. 3 seed in the region tourney. Despite that, the Lady Wildcats, led by Satashala Beasley, Tiffany Howard and Diamond Mcgirt, will look to make the state playoffs for the third straight year under coach Mario Mincey. What's more, the first two rounds of the girls' 3-A tourney is in Bryan County.
"We have talked about having to win two games in the tournament in order to get to the state playoffs," Mincey said. "I feel good about our chances. The key will be our bench play. We also have to play better on the defensive side of the ball. If we can get those two things going, then we'll be fine."