Unbeaten Three Oaks girls to face Dexter Middle School in TMSAA semis

Friday, February 3, 2017
Three Oaks head coach Tim Strayhorn (center) goes over offensive plays during practice on Thursday afternoon. The Lady Choctaws (20-0) will face Dexter Middle School in the semifinals of the TMSAA West Sectional Tournament at Airways Middle School in Memphis on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

Coming off their dominating win over Martin Middle School on Monday night, the Lady Choctaws are getting set to return to the court this weekend as the unbeaten Three Oaks girls will travel to Memphis to face Dexter Middle School in the TMSAA West Sectional semifinals on Saturday.

“They’ve got a pretty good team,” Strayhorn said. “They have got one kid that is really athletic. She can score – she’s more of a dribble-driver. We’ve just got to slow her down.”

Strayhorn added the team has to continue doing what has brought themselves 20 wins this season.

“We’ve just got to go in there, play fast and pressure the basketball,” Strayhorn said.

The Three Oaks head coach said the practices leading up to Saturday’s semifinals have been more laid back.

“We’re just trying to shoot and get them rested up,” Strayhorn said. “We’re probably going to pick it up a little bit on Friday before we get ready to play on Saturday.”

Strayhorn said there is one major difference in coaching a team at this point in the season than when the campaign is young.

“From my experience in middle school, it’s keeping them motivated,” Strayhorn said. “At this time of the year when you’ve played four or five months, they’re starting to get tired and not wanting to stay focused.”

Strayhorn added learning to keep the team focused at this point in the season is probably his biggest challenge.

When it comes to challenges, this 20-0 Lady Choctaw team has not really been challenged much this season as PCA (in December) and Union City (during the Small Area Tournament) have been the closest games the team has seen all year. Strayhorn said the team has been handling the success well, but not focusing on it.

“We really don’t try to talk about wins and losses,” Strayhorn said. “What we try to focus on is our skill level – working on our skill – and going out there and playing good defense.

“I figure if we go out there and do those things and do what we do, we’ll come out ahead.”

Instead of focusing on what the team has accomplished since tipping off in early November, Strayhorn keeps the girls looking forward to the next challenge.

“We always find a great coach and get a quote from them about staying focused,” Strayhorn said. “Pat Summitt is probably one of the best for that.”

The Lady Choctaws tip off with Dexter at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Airways Middle School in Memphis.

With a win, the Lady Choctaws will look to complete an undefeated season with championship hardware as they would face the winner of Saturday’s 4:20 p.m. contest between Bellevue and Union City.

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