This time, it came with a bonus — a trip to Jacksonville State University for the Northeast Regional.
Unlike the lop-sided victory during the Van Deerman Christmas Classic in December, the Bearcats had to earn their 72-68 road victory by overcoming a slow start, trailing 19-13 after the first quarter and 36-34 at halftime.
“We haven’t handled success well so far this season,” Weaver head coach Dary Hamby said. “When we’ve beat a team before, we tend to let up the second time around.”
Even though it did not have a good night, statistically, from the free throw line, Weaver was led by the senior-duo of Chris English and Timothy Hawkins. The guard and forward each finished with 19 points, and the Bearcats also found produce from sophomore Shon’D McKinney, who added 14 points. Delo Forbes also chipped in with 11 points.
“We missed a lot of free throw opportunities and easy layups, but we fought back,” Hamby said. “Not to make excuses, but I think we were out of sync with the lack of school and practice. We just didn’t come ready to play.”
Hamby and Weaver may have gotten past the Bulldogs on Friday night, but they are going to have to come prepared next week. With the victory, the Bearcats set up a rematch with the Holly Pond Broncos, the team who ended Weaver’s season last year in the same situation.
“This team we are about to play will come prepared. I think they are even better than last year,” Hamby said. “We can play with them, if we want, but if we play like we did tonight, it’s going to be embarrassing.”
Hamby will give his team today off, but will get right back into the gym Sunday to practice for their rematch.
“We’ve got to get better on our defensive recognition, free throws, and rebound. I think this game was a wake-up call for us,” Hamby said. “We have four or five days to get ready for Holly Pond.
“Where they killed us last year was on the board. When we went into overtime last year, they out-rebounded us by more than 22 rebounds, so we have to do a better job of rebounding as a team. From what I hear, they like it fast and we like it fast, so it’ll be a very exciting game.”