President Bill Clinton was in the White House the last time the boys’ basketball team at Bryan County High School made the playoffs.
That changed Monday night, when the Redskins (12-16) pulled out a 53-42 win over Benedictine in the quarterfinals of the Region 2-AA tournament to not only advance to the semifinals Friday, but also get their foot in the door of the state Class AA tournament.
The trip is the Redskins’ first to the state playoffs since the 1998-99 school year, second-year coach David Elmore confirmed.
And yeah, folks are excited.
“It is a great accomplishment for these boys,” he said. “It is great to see that hard work is paying off.”
It’s also another step in a reclamation project that Elmore took on when he inherited a team that finished 4-21 in 2011-12, went winless the year before that and hadn’t won more than seven games in a single season since at least 2004.
And despite going 1-24 in Elmore’s first year, the Redskins kept scrapping. Though they’re still sub -.500 in terms of overall record, Bryan County had already recorded a dozen wins heading into the 2-AA semifinals Friday night.
“These kids have trusted me as a coach and have really bought in to what we are trying to do,” Elmore said. “I have continued to tell them that this team this year can compete for a region title and that has been our goal. Through all the close losses and wins we have continued to work towards that goal despite the record.”
Teamwork has been key for the Redskins, but so has make sure players believe teamwork matters on and off the court.
“The key for us this year is believing in our ability as a team,” Elmore said. “We have really preached being a family and supporting each other all the time.”
Now, the Redskins get a shot at pulling off some surprises in the tournament and perhaps making a run for the ages. It can happen if the team continues to believe in itself, Elmore said.
“For us to play Cinderalla, we have to continue to believe in our abilities as a team,” he said. “The goal is to compete for a region championship and work our way through the state.”
Every team is comprised of individuals, and the Redskins are no different. Bryan County has gotten great play from Kajana Dixon, who made a game winning shot against Atkinson County in the first round of the 2-AA tournament, and both A.J. Simmons and Jeremy McClendon have played well down the stretch.
In addition, “My two seniors, Raekwon Love and Sherron Bacon, have played great in the region tournament and refused to end their season early,” Elmore said.