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Local teams look ahead to more of the post-season

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 11:07 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Several area teams are diving deeper into the post-season this week, including the Arnold girl’s soccer team.

Head coach, Larry Cecchini, and his Lady Marlins took down West Florida last Friday night during the 4A Regional Quarterfinals and are getting ready to face Bishop Kenny, the defending state champions, Tuesday night in Jacksonville. The Arnold girls are currently sitting at an 11-4-2 record with a district championship under their belt, but Coach Cecchini knows this Crusader team is nothing like what they’ve seen this season.

“Very much a different team than what they played in the districts. They’re going to be much more well-rounded team than what we have played here coming up, so our tactics will change a little bit versus trying to stop an individual or a couple of individuals versus much more team level tactics. We’ve got one day to go through all of that,” said Coach Cecchini.

In the 5A class on the hardwood, Mosley is advancing to Regional Semifinals as well, after a big win against Pine Forest last Thursday. Just two weeks before, the Eagles gave the Dolphins a run for their money with a 29 point deficit. The 14-10 Fins will play host to the 23-2 Indians out of Choctaw in the 5A Regional Semifinals.

“We’ve got to get prepared for their length,” said Mosley head basketball coach, Mike Memmen. “We will do a lot of things where we will pull the broomsticks out and just shoot over broomsticks and shoot around the rim. I’ve got an assistant coach that’s pretty athletic, and we will get him up and down with these guys a little bit blocking their shots. Just those types of things to simulate a lot of what they do.”

Coach Memmen also says they need to be confident in their own game.

“We’ve got to make shots. That’s a big piece of what we do, but we’ve just got to be true to who we are. We are not going to change who we are. We’ve got to be disciplined, and we’ve got to make good decisions. If we do that, we are at home again, hopefully, we will have some energy, and maybe lightening will strike twice and we will be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat.”

In the 4A class, the Marianna Bulldogs are also headed to the Regional Semifinals this Tuesday with a stellar 22-3 record hosting the 20-2 Tigers out of Pensacola. Head coach, Rico Williams, and his guys are coming off a big win against his second-cousin, Rhondie Ross, and his rams. Tuesday will be the first time the Tigers and the Bulldogs will meet on the hardwood this season, and coach Williams knows it will be battle.

“I’m expecting them to get into their set, to run their offense, and keep moving motion, and try to dump it down to the big and try to keep us off kilter. We have got to eliminate second-chance opportunities and box out and take care of the things that we can control.”

In the 1A class, the Atomics out of Poplar Springs will also be hosting a semifinal game. They will welcome the undefeated Central Jaguars to their gym. The last time the Atomics made it this far in the playoffs was in 1972, and head coach, Jared Owen just wants his guys to enjoy it while also staying true to their game.

“This is uncharted waters for us. We haven’t been this far, they’ve told me, since 1972, and so we are just riding the wave right now. I’m extremely proud of the guys and how they’ve handled everything, and this will be, I think, counting the pre-season, our 30th game coming up. Just going to keep doing what we are doing. I hope that they are soaking this is in because you never know when you are going to get opportunities like this. It could be another 20-30 years, hopefully not. Hopefully this becomes a regular thing for us. We are just enjoying it right, and I’m really excited for our school and for our community and for our players.”

All four of these games will be taking place on Tuesday with start-times all at 7 p.m.

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