The 2009-10 basketball season wasn’t the best of times for the Griffin High Bears and Lady Bears. Both teams started and finished poorly, which culminated in another year of missing the state basketball tournament.
For the Griffin Lady Bears, the streak is at eight consecutive years without a state playoff berth — for the Bears, the streak is at three straight years.
Second-year Griffin boys head basketball coach Deon Daniel has a simple explanation for his team’s shortcomings this season.
“We’re a young team right now,” he said.
Daniel is trying to instill stability in a program that has been in flux since the late Ferris Qualls retired in 2007.
Lady Bears head coach June Barrow, who’s been at the helm for six years, had one senior and relied on several sophomores and freshmen this year.
“Our girls have to realize we’re in a competitive region and we’ll have to be dedicated to being fundamentally sound,” Barrow said. “We also have to be committed to work hard in the offseason.”
The Lady Bears have also been unlucky — two years ago in the Region 4-AAAA Tournament, with the team seconds away from a state berth, Northside-Warner Robins beat Griffin at the buzzer to win the game and get to the state playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Spalding High Jaguars and Lady Jaguars have been on a roll. Both teams have had winning streaks of four or more games (the Lady Jags had a nine-game win streak) and they both are in position to qualify for the Class AAA state basketball tournament for the second straight year. The Lady Jags play Jackson High today at 4 p.m. in the Region 4-AAA Tournament and the Jags will face the Jackson-Atlanta/Locust Grove winner Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the tourney, held at Locust Grove High. If both teams win, they’re in.
“We need to come out with energy and intensity from the start against Jackson,” said Lady Jags head coach Demetrius King. “We can’t afford to wait until the second half to play.”