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By Will Nations
The Clay County schools affiliated with the MAIS are headed to the basketball postseason after their respective district tournaments last week.
Oak Hill girls and boys teams qualified for the MAIS Class-AA North tournament at Canton Academy, and the Hebron Christian girls and boys teams claimed spots in the MAIS Class-A North-Central tournament at Benton Academy. Both tournaments start today with full-day slates after inclement winter weather postponed opening round games.
The Oak Hill Lady Raiders and Head Coach Stan Hughey make their 20th consecutive appearance at the North State tournament and open with a quarterfinal game against the District 3-AA champion Riverfield Academy (La.) at 2:45 p.m. today at Canton Academy. Hughey understands the tall task ahead of his girls with a possible three-day tournament, but he was positive about all 16 teams facing the same odds.
â€śIt something that I didnâ€™t like not playing Tuesday, now that everybody is on Thursday format,â€ť Hughey said. â€śI thought some teams would get an extra day off, but the rescheduling balanced everything out. Depth will play a major part this tournament.â€ť
Hughey said that he has used the days off to focus on watching film and adding wrinkles to his offense and defense. One major cog to offensive success has been sophomore Sarah Dillâ€™s scoring ability â€“ a main focus for Hughey this week. Another factor Hughey is relying on is the difficulty of the Lady Raidersâ€™ regular season schedule.
â€śI donâ€™t think Riverfield would be 21-2 as our schedule,â€ť Hughey said. â€śTheir post play and point guard play is not at the same level as we have seen all season. We feel confident that we can win the ball game. Weâ€™ll have to play well and get our offense rolling early.
â€śWe could have an easy schedule and coast, but playing a tough schedule is to our benefit,â€ť Hughey added.
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