The Pine Bluff Zebras (12-6) head to Little Rock McClellan (6-15) tonight for their second meeting of the season with the Lions. In the first game at Pine Bluff, the Zebras overtook the Lions near the end of the game to record a 65-58 win.
Although the Pine Bluff Zebras have reeled off four straight wins, Head Coach Billy Dixon isn't ready to give them much credit at this point.
"Well I really wish I could say the four games where indicative of everything being good, but that's not the case," Dixon said. "It's a constant challenge, and I appreciate the victories, but we do all of this with the end in mind. We have to continue to try to get better every day. The kids are doing a great job, and we'll keep grinding it out."
McClellan gave the Zebras trouble earlier this season as they present length inside by way of junior Ian Robinson, and they're quick on the perimeter led by senior guard Rodney Cummings. Dixon also mentioned that it seems to him when he goes to scout other teams they don't play as hard as they do when they're facing Pine Bluff.
"It's definitely going to be a challenge," Dixon said. "Road games late in the year are always tough. I don't think we played well against them the first time at our place. The hostile environment that we'll walk into will be welcomed by us. We know that teams get up to play Pine Bluff. They led us for a good part of the game, and I'm sure they have thoughts of revenge on their minds. We have to be up for the challenge."
Rightfully so, senior guard Kendrick Thorn and junior guard Kaleb Higgins get a lot of the publicity, as they've formed a dynamic back court. However, Dixon is starting to find a rotation with his guys inside as they have multiple contributors.
"Kazeron Washington has come in and got boards for us," Dixon said. "Justin Tiller has struggled recently, but he's a senior and he's been there. D.J. Martin had had some great moments in some of our games as of late. Martin is capable of doing things down low that we ask of our bigs. We're just getting to the point where they're starting to relax and understand what we want to do. Darius Morris plays the four here and there, and he has great timing on the ball. Each one of them brings something a little different to the table."
It's getting down to the end of the regular season with only three games remaining after this one. Although the post-season is in sight, the Zebras are only focused on getting another win.
"Right now we just have to except the challenge every time we go out," Dixon said. "Seeding for conference tournaments are about to happen and everybody is looking for signature wins. Let's take care of McClellan is our mindset."
Pine Bluff and McClellan are set for a 7 p.m. tip off.
WATSON CHAPEL V. SHERIDAN
Head Coach Marcelle Goins and the Watson Chapel Wildcats (11-11) have dropped their past two contests as they head to face the Sheridan Yellowjackets (11-11) tonight.
In a 55-50 loss at home to Benton, the Wildcats left a lot of points at the charity stripe, and they missed a number of chip shots at the rim. Those have been two things Goins has harped on since they've struggled in those areas at the start of the season, and just when they were getting rid of the bad habits they reared their ugly heads.
"It's not only the free throws, but it's also the easy point-blank lay ups," Goins said. "We can't miss the easy baskets because good coached teams like Benton will take advantage of it. It has put us behind the eight-ball, the fact that we've missed so many lay ups and free throws. We've gotten up a lot of shots in practice."
Through the rigors of a tough blended conference mixed with 5A and 6A teams, Goins believes his guys have to regroup and understand that they can't take a night off.
"Our issue has been we've gotten complacent for whatever reason," Goins said. "We have to regain our focus. We loss a close one at home to Benton and we reverted back to those small mistakes."
Sheridan has been a tough out this season, and especially at their place, according to Goins. At this point in the season, every team is looking for wins in order to position themselves for a shot at post-season play.
"Our main focus is the same focus, getting as many wins as possible for seeding purposes," Goins said. "I expressed to my guys how it's always tough to play at Sheridan. We'll have to be locked in and focused or we could be heading back down 270 with a loss."
The Wildcats and Yellowjackets are set for a 7 p.m. tipoff, following a match up between the Lady Wildcats and the Lady Yellowjackets.