What is the biggest challenge with your high school basketball team making the transition from playing against nationally-ranked teams in holiday tournaments to the regular season?
Columbia coach Phil McCrary: The biggest thing is keeping the kids motivated to being able to compete on that higher level. When you go to these big-time tournaments, you’ve got to compete at the highest level or you’re going to lose. You’ve got to be at your best every game there, and you can’t afford a letdown. When you come back, you worry about a letdown, and playing down to the level of some of your competition. Now what we have to do is keep the motivated to playing at that high level against all teams. You’ve got to let them know there is still a lot of room for improvement. You set goals for the next game only and don’t look past anyone.
Miller Grove coach Sharman White: I think the No. 1 thing is being able to carry the momentum forward from playing well in your holiday tournament. You use it as a stepping stone for the second half of the season. You’ve got to look at the holiday tournament as part of your team’s journey for season but not the end or peak of that journey. There’s still the rest of the regular season, and that’s where the grind kicks in. There will be an adjustment period for where the real work begins. We’re trying to get back to Gwinnett Arena [for the state finals]. We’ve got to draw back on our experiences from the first half of the season to get there. That’s the way we look at it.
[Note: Miller Grove, the two-time defending Class AAAA state champion, won the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Columbia High, the reigning Class AAA state champion, won the Arby's Classic in Bristol, Tenn.]