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Area squads start division tournaments

February 5, 2012

West Oktibbeha coach Danny Crawford directs his team during a game. The Timberwolves host the Class A, Region 4, District 1 Tournament this week in Maben. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

District Tournaments are a great way for teams to gain momentum for the final stretch.

For example, the East Oktibbeha Titans' boys team has won the district tournament three years in a row. That type of win can really boost a team's attitude.

Area schools will be taking to the hard court this week battling for a division tournament crown.

Class A, Region 4, District 1

West Oktibbeha will be hosting its own district tournament.

The Timberwolves enter as the No. 1 seed and will get a bye in the first round. They will play on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. against the winner of the Vardaman-Tupelo Christian game.

Head coach Danny Crawford's club is poised to make a deep run into the playoffs and it starts this week.

"Win the tournament for the first time," Crawford said of what the focus is this week. "I want by kids to be focused. Everything means something from here on out."

Although the Timberwolves are the favorite to win the tournament, they do not plan to take it lightly.

"We want to stay focused at the goal at hand," Crawford said. "Our minds are on one goal. We are two wins away from winning the tournament."

West Oktibbeha finished the regular season 21-7 and 5-0 in district play.
The Lady Timberwolves enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed. They will start their postseason Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against the No. 6 seed Smithville.

Head coach Marcus Johnson knows exactly what his team has to do and that is what they are focused on this week.

"We need to beat Smithville again," Johnson said. "Then we need to beat Tremont and close this out. (We need to) win this tournament."

Tremont gave the Lady Timberwolves a disappointing loss on senior night over a week ago.

"We are excited to play Tremont again," Johnson said. "It won't be the same ballgame."

Class A, Region 4, District 1

East Oktibbeha will travel to Ethel for its district tournament.

The Titans come in as the No. 3 seed and will open up the tournament against Nanih Waiya today at 8:30 p.m.

"We know no one is going to give us anything," Titan head coach Barnett Robinson said. "We are the district champions three years in a row and we know we are going to have to come out and play every night. When you are the champion everyone wants to knock you off. We just have to continue to get better."

The Titans will be focusing on defense this week in preparation for postseason play.

"Defense wins ball games," Robinson said. "If you can score 100 points but the other team scores 101, you can't win the ballgame."

The Lady Titans earned the No. 2 seed and will also be in action today.

"We are looking forward to going and playing strong, hard and hopefully coming out No. 1," head coach Pam Roberts said.

The Lady Titans are going to focus on their game as a whole. They are going to try and improve in all areas to get ready for this stretch.

"We are going to stress that same defense," Roberts said. "We are going to stress that everybody has to be shooting and everybody has to be rebounding."

Class 2A, Region 5, District 4

Ackerman will be playing host to its own district tournament. Other area teams participating will be East Webster and Eupora.

The East Webster boys are the No. 4 seed and will play Pisgah Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., while Eupora the No. 3 seed and Ackerman, the No. 6 seed, will match up in the first round on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

The girls bracket will feature No. 4 East Webster against No. 5 Ackerman on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eupora is the No. 6 seed and will play Greenville St. Joseph on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The main theme behind all team's preparation for the postseason is a new season. That is something East Webster boys' coach Corey Stidham is making sure his team understands.

"We have to stay focused," Stidham said. "It is a new season and nothing matters behind us. If you make the playoffs, anything can happen."

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