District tourneys start Monday

Published 9:18 am Saturday, February 12, 2011


COURTLAND—Southampton High School boys’ basketball team will put its 12-game winning streak on the line when the Southside District tournament opens Monday.

The Indians are ranked No. 2 in the district, have a 14-4 overall record and are 9-4 in district.

The Lady Indians, before Friday night’s game against Greensville, were tied for first place, said Coach Aronda Bell. They too are expected to be among the top seeds for the district tournament.

As of press time Friday, it was not known exactly when or where the girls and boys would play their first game for the district tournament, but Southampton Athletic Director Littleton Parker expects they will be played at home. Both tournaments begin Monday.

Southampton boys are expected to take on No. 7 Powhatan, who the Indians defeated twice in the regular season.

It was not known as of Friday who the girls might play.

The hottest fire makes the hardest steel is what Indians Coach Will Melbye had to say when looking at the playoff picture.

“We are definitely playing all-right basketball,” said Melbye. “If we can get better every game still, we could do all right in the playoffs.”

He noted his team has been playing well, but not up to its ability. The Indians barely won a couple of games, including a 59-57 victory against Prince Edward on Wednesday night.

“But we did win because the kids persevered and worked through some tough spots in the game and got the win,” he said.

All eight teams in the district are seeded. Melbye said he believes being a second-seeded team is huge because it means playing at home the first two games of the tournament.

“Not having to play Brunswick in the second round is big because being able to get to the district championship game — if we can get that far — getting the points will help us in the regional seeding,” he said. “That is what it is about right now; it’s great to be where we are at, but we have to continue our focus down the road.”

In district play this season, Southampton was swept by Brunswick, split its games with Prince Edward and had a final game against Greensville on Friday night; the Indians lost to Greensville in the first meeting. Southampton swept the remaining four teams.

Melbye said the upcoming games are important because the Indians have to continue to play the way they have been.

Last year was the first time Southampton made the district playoffs in four of five years and the regional tournament since 2000.

“So going into districts being the home team and one of the top seeds in the bracket will hopefully help us build some atmosphere here,” said Melbye. “So the kids can get used to playing in front of crowds like that, they had to do it at Prince Edward, they had to do it at Parkview and at Greensville, so they are starting to understand what it’s like to play with a little bit of noise and pressure on top of you.”

Melbye hopes his team will come out a little bit more poised and ready to play and know how to finish a game when it’s crunch time and the pressure is on. That is when he says his team has to knock down the free throw or finish the layup.

“All of this helps to continue to build us as a team and prepare for the next step,” said Melbye. “And with finishing second in the district, we know we will go on to regionals and that’s two more important games that you have to have. I keep using ‘have to.’ I keep telling these kids you have to have this one, you can’t let down, and we have been rolling with that.”