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Getting to the state tournament is a three step process for the smaller area schools in Stephens County.
Velma-Alma is entering stage three this weekend.
Today at 1:30 p.m. the Lady Comets (19-7) will try to keep their hopes for a berth in the state tournament alive as they take on No. 16 Davenport (19-8) from Stroud High School.
While the Lady Comets got to the area tournament by virtue of upsetting New Lima in the first round of regionals 56-48, the Lady Bulldogs had to go the long way.
After winning districts over Covington-Douglas, DHS fell to Stonewall in the first round of regionals, forcing the Lady Bulldogs to win two more games.
Victories over Glencoe and Olive were enough to punch Davenport’s ticket to the area tournament.
“Anyone you play in the area tournament is going to be a good team,” V-A coach Jerry Garrett said. “This is mainly a survive and advance situation right now. We’ve played well against some quality opponents in the playoffs and we feel like we can do it again against Davenport.”
Should the Lady Comets prevail, they will face either Stonewall or Woodland Friday afternoon (1:30 p.m.) in a semifinal contest, with the winner advancing to play Saturday night (6:30 p.m.) for the right to go to the state tournament.
“Davenport is a lot like us,” Garrett said. “They’ll press and defend really hard against us. We need to handle the pressure and have good ball control. Patience is also going to be a big factor for us in this game in order for us to win.”
Meanwhile, the situation for the No. 5 Comets (23-3) is very simple.
Win on Friday night (8 p.m.) against No. 2 Glencoe and advance to the state tournament.
However, it will be anything but simple as the Panthers enter the game undefeated at 27-0 on the season.
“There’s a reason they (Glencoe) are undefeated and ranked No. 2,” V-A coach Kenny Bare said. “They have about four guys that can score from 22 feet or less. We’re going to be playing a really good team. A big key to playing these guys is to not let them go on a big run during the game.”
Many will feel this game is a case of irony considering this Comets squad was undefeated at this time last season entering the area championship game.
“Last year was a different year,” Bare said. “Obviously we were happy to be undefeated at this point in the season, but it didn’t happen. I hope we can draw from all of our experiences last year and this year as well. We didn’t get the chance to finish undefeated, and we don’t want to give them that chance either.”
Should the Comets lose, all hope will not be lost as they will get a second chance to advance Saturday night at 8 p.m. from Stroud High School.