For the third year in a row, Enterprise and Jeff Davis will meet Tuesday night in a game that will send the winner to the regional tournament and end the loser’s season.
“It’s become a rival for us — two team that are familiar with each other,” EHS varsity boys coach Rhett Harrelson said Monday morning. “We play well against each other. They’re always just tough, hard-fought games.
“They’re a really good team. They’re really talented. They’re really big on the inside. Some of those inside guys can step out and shoot it. They’ve got guards who can really get to the rim and can shoot it. It’s going to be a good a good challenge for us.”
More than anything, though, Harrelson said the win-or-go-home scenario is “fun.”
“This is what it’s about, this time right here,” the coach said. “You’ve got to fight like crazy and just go compete.”
Two years ago, Jeff Davis ended the Wildcats’ season. Last year, Enterprise won and advanced to the regional. Class 7A does not have a sub-regional round that the other six classes must survive.
Jeff Davis (13-13) and Enterprise (16-12) split the two regular-season meetings. The home team won both times — the Vols prevailed 70-65 in Montgomery on Jan. 7 and the Wildcats won 57-45 on Jan. 14. Tuesday night’s game is being played at area champion Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery.
JD’s size is a concern, Harrelson said.
“It’s going to come down to the rebounding battle,” the coach said. “If we’re able to win the rebounding battle, or even stay within a couple give or take, I like our chances. If they shoot it until they score and continue to get offensive rebounds, that’s where they could pose some problems for us.”
Both games were close. Jeff Davis had a stretch in the second half when it got several second-chance baskets and pulled away. In Enterprise, the teams were tied 36-all going to the fourth quarter and the Wildcats opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to open some breathing room.
“The game we played here we played really good half-court defense and created a lot of turnovers, so they didn’t have as many opportunities to get those offensive rebounds,” Harrelson said. “For us, this game’s going to be about our defense.
“It’s going to come down to our half-court defense — stand between them and the rim, make them shoot it over us, and once they do shoot it we’ve got to find bodies and block out and finish possessions with rebounds.”
Jeff Davis will be led by Rongie Gordon, a 6-foot-8 senior forward who is averaging a double-double in points in rebounds against Enterprise.
The Vols typically get solid contributions from Sakeivian Haynes, a left-handed guard, and Le’Tarion White, a 6-4 junior forward.
Harrelson said Haynes and White have been held in check in the two games against the Wildcats.
“If one of them gets going and we contain the other two, that’s OK,” the coach said. “If all three get going, that’s bad news.”
But just as he has maintained all season, it’s about Enterprise. When the Wildcats are playing tenacious defense and forcing turnovers, they have been hard to beat. When they struggle defensively, they have their hands full.
“That’s been our focus the second half of the season, focus on us and the way we play. Some of that’s executing, some of that’s playing hard, being in the right spots, rotating on defense,” Harrelson said. “When we’re mentally locked in to start the game, we’ve done those things. We’ve been prepared and ready to go for JD both times we played them this year. Hopefully we’ll be ready to go again Tuesday night.”
The Enterprise girls play Jeff Davis on Wednesday night at Robert E. Lee High School in a similar win-or-else showdown. Both area title games are Friday at Lee.
It’s tournament time everywhere this week. Coffee County’s girls teams played Monday night in area tournaments.
At Elba, the top-seeded Tigers played host to Brantley and Florala played Kinston in the Class 1A, Area 3 Tournament.
In Class 2A, Area 4 at Samson, top-seeded Samson played New Brockton at 5:30, followed by Zion Chapel vs. Goshen.
The winners will meet in the title games on Thursday night.
The boys area tournaments begin tonight. In 1A, Area 3 at Florala, the host Wildcats play Elba at 7:30 and Kinston and Brantley play at 6.
In 2A, Area 4 at Goshen, the host Eagles play Samson at 7 and New Brockton and Zion Chapel play at 5:30 p.m.
The winners will play for the area titles and a home game in the sub-regional round on Friday night.