COVINGTON - Forget the fact that the Alcovy Tigers are a No. 4 seed playing a No. 1 seed on the road far from home. Forget the fact that their opponent, Richmond Academy, is the No. 3 ranked team in Class AAAA.
Alcovy coach Eugene Brown feels his team has what it takes to win in the first round of the playoffs at 7 tonight in Augusta.
"They like to run, they like to score and we like to defend. In that sense it will be a classic match up. I think we're a pretty good defensive team and they're a pretty good offensive team," Brown said. "We're going to try to control the basketball, burn a little bit of the clock, run our offense until we get the shot we're looking for. Hopefully, they'll get a little frustrated. But we have a game plan that we've been working on for about a week now. If we can execute on that we'll be OK."
If the Tigers are to have a chance to beat the Musketeers, they will have to find a way to slow down their high-powered offense.
Richmond Academy has scored 80 or more points six times with seven games scoring in the 70s.
One way Brown intends to neutralize Richmond Academy is by forcing it out of its game.
"We got all the information we could about the other team. We implemented the things we needed to in order to combat what they're going to try to do and also try to correct our weaknesses from the lack couple of games," he said. "We feel like we need to make them play defense for an extended period of time and try to lull them to sleep and pick our spot. These guys are used to running up and down the floor, taking a lot of shots and being in high-scoring games."
While the Tigers know what they must do to keep the Musketeers off balance, they will have to find a way to do something they've had a hard time doing the last few game - score points.
Even though the team as a whole has not been finding the mark as of late, Devon Edwards, Julian and Jordan Butts and Kevin Boyle have kept the Tigers in a lot of games offensively.
"They've stepped forward. We haven't been scoring well all year. We've been encouraging them to shoot the ball more and look for their shot. Kevin and Julian have come up big for us the past few games; they've been the guys we can go to in certain situations. We're counting on Devon staying out of foul trouble, and Jordan. If these guys can continue to improve and put it all together this one game anything can happen," Brown said.
Alcovy has played teams similar to Richmond Academy including Class AAAAA Riverdale. Even though Alcovy lost that game, the Tigers played well against them until the fourth quarter.
"They're like Riverdale, big and athletic, until the fourth quarter when we ran out of gas," Brown said. "They're real athletic and they like to shoot a lot and they don't defend that much."
Another aspect of Alcovy's game that has to improve is the amount of times they turn the ball over.
The Tigers can reduce Richmond Academy's opportunity to score by cutting down their turnovers and keeping the ball in their possession more than the Musketeers have it in theirs.
"We have to make sure it's a four-quarter type of ball game," Brown said, "so they start to feel the pressure of being a ranked team and a No. 1 seed at home."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com