TALLADEGA -- Talladega’s high school boys basketball team will play host to Anniston in the Tigers’ home opener at Chuck Miller Arena on Thursday.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
The Tigers (3-2) will be seeking to improve upon a start that featured an appearance in the final of the North Shelby Tip-Off Classic, a 50-47 loss to Clay-Chalkville on Nov. 23.
“Hopefully, we can pull out a win here and just get better,” said Tigers head coach Chucky Miller. “The main thing is we’ve played five games all on the road. We’ve got one of our toughest parts of the schedule out of the way.”
Miller added it’s too early in the season to tell where the Tigers are in terms of expectations, but the wins and losses have helped make the team better in the present.
“Our last three games have gone down to the last shot of the game,” he said. “Somebody’s had a shot to either win or tie at the end of the game on the last play. I expect no different from Anniston.
“Anniston’s always had a quality team. They’ve got a new coach (Torry Brown) this year, but we played against him at his former school (Shelby County). We know what to expect from his brand of ball. Anniston is super-athletic, and they can run all day.”
Anniston (3-0) enters the contest with an unblemished record, and Miller said his concern this early in the season is focusing on making improvements.
“We’re worried about a couple of their returning players, but knowing Anniston, they always have someone that you haven’t gameplanned for,” he said. “They always have someone that’s very good that we don’t know about.
“Our main thing here is getting us ready where we make less mistakes and be better teamwork-wise running our offense. We’re concentrating now more on what we’re doing instead of the competition. As we play longer, we’ll get a feel for all the teams.”
He said one of the key factors that helps Talladega is the team’s flexibility and ability to play a variety of styles.
“We’re a multiple offensive and defensive team,” Miller said. “We can play all sorts. We do everything, so that when we see something, we’ve already went against it in practice. We play multiple zones and man. We can press if needed.
“Offensive-wise, we’ve got a lot of sets that we can work against both man and zone. What we’re trying to do is have our stuff prepared so that everybody is trying to adjust to us, and we’re not adjusting to the other team.”
With a mix of young talent and established veterans vying for time on the floor, Miller said it takes some time for the group to come together as a team. But he’s also seeing positives from some of his key players.
“Ashton Duncan has continued his good play from last year,” Miller said. “He had such a good football season, and he’s rounded himself in his form on the basketball court. He’s been shooting the ball better as of late. It takes time some years, but he’s doing a very good job. Jae-Lyn Russ has improved his game over the summer. I expect him to have a good year on the defensive end and rebounding for us.”