MOULTON — Like he does at nearly every practice, Lawrence County High coach Kenny Coffey paced the sideline Monday morning, calling out plays as the girls team ran through their regular drills.
Up and early, the Red Devils were handling the time change just fine.
They got a dose of it Saturday and Monday, but the real test will take place at 9 a.m. today when Lawrence County (26-6) opens the Northwest Regional tournament against Wenonah (26-6) at Wallace State-Hanceville.
“It was pretty rough,” Adrien Coffey said of Saturday’s early practice, designed to acclimate the girls team to the tournament time.
Adrien Coffey and two other seniors agreed that while they are awake by 9 o’clock, whether or not they are alert and ticking is another question. Game time will change the pace for their morning routines. But by Monday, the plan seemed to be coming along.
“I thought we were a little bit more alert today,” Kenny Coffey said. “It’s not normal to be playing ball at 9 o’clock in the morning. That’s one of the reasons why you play in some tournaments at Christmas or Thanksgiving, to try to get used to playing at different times of the day.”
Coffey said the key to the game against No. 4 Wenonah will be limiting turnovers and grabbing rebounds. Though he approaches regionals like any other game, he said the big adjustment for players who enter regionals is playing on a bigger court, along with larger crowds and a heightened atmosphere.
“None of these kids have ever played at Wallace. If you’re mature, and you’ve been there that makes a big difference. It’s going to be interesting to see how we’re going to handle that, how we react to that,” he said.
The Red Devils are led by Adrien Coffey and Rachael Childress, a freshman. Childress is one of the area’s leading scorers, averaging more than 15 points per game. Lawrence County girls basketball has not won a regional title since 2000.
Adrien Coffey, Whitney Woodard and Tori McDaniel said they are nervous but excited about their first regional appearance. Planning for today’s 7 a.m. departure call, they said they would try to go to sleep early.
“I’ve just been trying to think that it’s a game and that we’re going out there to win it. We’re not there to be nervous,” Adrien Coffey said. “It’s just another game that we’re there to play. It’s just for a bigger chance.”
In the second half of the season, the Red Devils got hot.
Entering the regionals on a 13-game winning streak, the team hopes to keep rolling.
“We really try to get out and get a fast start and kind of play the game on our terms,” Kenny Coffey said. “We know (Wenonah is) very athletic, so we’re just trying to run things according to what we think they might do.”
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawrence County Girls Basketball practice