In a season of ups and downs, Talladega County Central High School’s boys basketball team seems to be peaking at the right time.
But for Fighting Tigers head coach Acardia Garrett, the team’s five-game win streak going into today’s Class 1A Central Regional tournament matchup with Wadley (12-7) should be viewed like a shooter’s hot streak, a pitcher’s no-hitter or ‘Fight Club’ -- don’t talk about it.
“I just want to ride the wave, try to keep the guys playing at a certain level and try to keep a certain edge to the team,” Garrett said. “It seems like when I start talking about it, highlighting it and bringing it up to the guys, we let down. So I just want to keep it at the level where we’re at right now.
“I haven’t really focused much on it. I’m just trying to put the focus on playing the right way every night -- every time, hustling, getting up and down the court and doing what we need to do to win basketball games.”
Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery.
Wadley last played TC Central on Jan. 5, 2016, when both teams resided in Class 1A, Area 8, and won 49-43 to split the series. The Fighting Tigers bested the Bulldogs 68-50 on Dec. 9, 2015.
“I’ve seen that they’re real athletic, real physical,” Garrett said. “We’re going to have to play one of our better games to beat them, but at this point in the season, there are no more easy games. We’ve got to play up to our full potential to get that win.
“I think it’s a game where if we do what we’re supposed to do, we can win, but if we have too many breakdowns, too many (lapses in) communication and not getting back on defense, because they run the floor really well, it’s going to cause use problems and it may not be good for us. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and focus on what we need to do to go in there and take care of business.”
Garrett said the team has bounced back from a rough stretch in the middle of the season in which the Fighting Tigers went 3-11 prior to their current run, but he wants to sustain and build on the recent successes.
“We’re playing well right now, and if there’s a time to hit a stride, this is the time to hit it,” he said. “I just hope, every night, I just hope it’s real and it keeps rolling.”
He added he’s been getting more out of his seniors down the stretch.
“I think my seniors really picked it up in these last few games,” Garrett said. “We’ve gotten a lot more from Darrell Maple as far as leadership and running the team. He waned a little bit right there in the middle of the season -- and that kind of hurt us -- but I think he’s picked it back up in these past couple weeks. Devilyn Keller has been shooting the ball real well. I think he’s focused. I think he’s locked in, and we just want to keep him right there.
“We’ve just got to get some more out of the rest of our guys. Kentrell Duncan, he’s another senior, had 17 rebounds the other night. He’s real big on the glass, but we’ve got other guys who we really want to get rolling ... at the same time -- Makhail Simmons, Jaylon Swain, guys like that. If we can get those guys in the mix altogether, I think we could be a real special team. And I’ve said before, I’ll put this team on the floor with anybody. I just need to know what I’m going to get from all five guys.”