Area coaches prepare for games despite canceled practices
NATCHEZ — Area high school coaches have been trying to figure out a way to keep their players in game mode despite being shut in as a result of school cancellations within the past six days.
And to make matters more frustrating for coaches, January is one of the most crucial times in basketball and soccer seasons, as many basketball teams are in the meat of district play, and soccer teams are preparing for the playoffs.
The Cathedral High School girls’ soccer team was coming off a 3-0 win against Loyd Star Jan. 21, which clinched a South State Playoff berth, and preparing for a big first round playoff game against powerhouse St. Andrews when the snowstorm hit Natchez.
Lady Wave assistant coach Beth Foster said their last practice was Monday, and she or head coach Donovan Silva has yet to hit the field with their players, though they’re expected to play today.
“It is very torturing,” she said. “If it was up to Donovan, we would be practicing, which we made them Friday and Monday. We knew those were going to be our last two practices. It’s just frustrating, all we can do is hope they’re prepared.”
Foster said the biggest thing for the Lady Wave is staying mentally prepared during the game, because it will be either win or go home.
“They just have to go in with a clear mind and remember everything (Silva) has taught them,” Foster said. “(This game) will be big, and it’ll be do or die on whether we make it (farther) or not. It’s big that we got to the playoffs. We’ve worked hard and mentally, they will have to go in with their game faces on.”
The Cathedral Lady Wave is slated to play St. Andrews at 5:30 p.m. today.
Vidalia High School boys’ basketball head coach Robert Sanders is feeling the same type of frustration as Foster.
The Vikings were on a tear, starting district play off with a 3-0 record when the ice covered the roads in the Miss-Lou.
Sanders said having to come to a screeching halt during their winning streak is what hurts his team the
“It creates a problem, because we had momentum going,” Sanders said. “It’s like a big timeout, but it’s not like we weren’t expecting (the weather). It’s just something we’re not used to.”
Sanders said he was able to get his players on the court Tuesday for a short practice, but couldn’t get any practice time in Wednesday with a district game against Buckeye High School, which was postponed from last week, today.
But Sanders said the biggest task won’t be trying to get their adrenaline rushing against Buckeye, it’ll be having to turn around and play a much bigger game Friday.
“We have the tougher game against Caldwell Parish High School,” Sanders said. “It will be more mental. Hopefully, they’ll get their legs back under them.”
Vidalia is scheduled to play Buckeye at 6 p.m. today and tentatively scheduled to play Caldwell Parish at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Natchez High School girls’ basketball team is having similar problems as Vidalia with concern for playing back-to-back district games.
The Lady Bulldogs last practiced Jan. 24, and head coach Alphaka Moore said she is not as much worried about her players staying limber as she is about them staying mentally sharp as they prepare to play Brookhaven High School Friday.
“We just have to pick up where we left off, our practice is always a lot of conditioning, so it will be more about remembering things that we were trying to fix before we left,” she said. “Basketball is always on their mind. I know that they’re going to remain focused. It’s just about staying in game mode.”
As Natchez prepares to play Brookhaven Friday, it may have to also be ready to make up a postponed game on Saturday in an away game against Pearl River Central.
The Lady Bulldogs will play Brookhaven at 6 p.m. Friday.
With a lot of ground to cover, area teams are hoping to pick up where they left off and get a couple of wins along the way.