Swainsboro Tigers show improvement
by Emanuel County Live | December 31, 2008 12:00 am
By TROUP BRINSON The Swainsboro Tigers’ boys basketball team is a work in progress. Now that shouldn’t be taken to be a positive spin on a negative situation. No, this team has talent. Finding the best way for that talent to shine, well, that’s called coaching. Coach Leroy Jordan believes in using the early season to poke and prod, test and motivate. The Tigers got off to an 0-3 start to begin the season but a seasoned coach approaching 500 career victories doesn’t panic. He knows that December is all about preparation for what is to come following the new year.
After Laney sent Swainsboro to their 3rd consecutive loss, the Tigers seemed to have found a bit of rhythm and identity. Laney harassed and out hustled the Tigers to a 10 point loss. But in that loss, Swainsboro may have seen the light. Laney played with a defensive fire and guard oriented offense that Swainsboro needed to find in themselves.
Since that loss, the Tigers have rebounded to win 3 of 4. They knocked off Dodge the following night by 11 points. Then, with the holiday hoops circuit kicking off the Tigers traveled to Albany for their Christmas tournament.
The Tigers were fortunate to draw an opening round bye in the 14 team tournament. This put them in a quarter-final matchup with AAA Dougherty, a team who posted an 18-4 record just a year ago. The result was an exciting 72-67 double overtime victory for the Tigers. Malcolm Eady led the way with 16 points, followed by Keeshan Watson (14 pts) and Denzel Cheeks (11 pts).
The win catapulted the Tigers into a semifinal game against AAA Westover (22-4 last season). Defense would be the name of the game as the Tigers limited the Patriots to 6 points in the 4th quarter to defeat Westover 46-44. The Tigers had evened their season record to 3-3 and were now looking towards the championship game against AAAAA M.L. King from the Atlanta area (Lithonia).
In another nail-biter, the Tigers couldn’t quite get over the hump as the Lions took down the championship, 68-63. Malcolm Eady and Lynquez Blair were named to the all-tournament team.
“We’re starting to play Tigers’ basketball now that we’ve got some games under our belt,” commented coach Jordan. “Fans can expect to see exciting basketball with our full-court, in-your-face pressure.” Jordan also alluded to his tendency to play lots of young players early on with multiple lineups to see which players were ready to step up and gain minutes on the court. Now that the season is progressing and roles are becoming defined, he expects more consistency and success to follow.
The Tigers will travel to the Palace in Wilkinson County this Friday night (Jan 2nd) for a make-up game. They will be back home to face Washington County on Tuesday, Jan. 6.