HCHS readies for Regional

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2006

GREENVILLE – The task is daunting, but so was getting there.

When Hertford County High School makes their first trip to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Regional since 1991 today, they will find defending champion Dudley waiting for them.

While the Bears retain the utmost respect for the defending champions, HCHS veteran mentor Charles Simmons believes his team is quietly confident.

&uot;I think everyone is excited,&uot; he said Wednesday afternoon. &uot;The kids feel like we can beat anybody. We’ve had that type of attitude all year long.

&uot;We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play Dudley,&uot; he said.

And the Bears are getting that opportunity at 8:30 p.m. this evening when they meet on the hardwood at Minges Coliseum on the campus of East Carolina University.

Saturday night’s win over White Oak exercised demons from the past 13 years when the Bears have struggled to get past the sectional bracket.

Finally playing a sectional final in Ahoskie seemed to help the Bears as they used the roar of the home crowd and held off a pesky Viking team.

Since that win, Simmons believes his team has been focused in practice. Monday and Tuesday’s sessions were something he was pleased with.

&uot;Practice has gone extremely well,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m pleased with what we did, especially yesterday.&uot;

The coach said they were working diligently on offering a more varied look defensively since the height of Dudley’s squad would be a factor.

&uot;We are working on some zone looks because they are so big,&uot; he said.

Simmons said HCHS will focus much of their attention on William Graves, a 6’6&uot; player who has committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

&uot;We’re going to try to slow him down,&uot; Simmons said. &uot;We won’t be able to stop him, but we want to try to force him to do things differently.&uot;

Simmons said he was also concerned about the play of Rashawn Polk, who he compared to his own LaMarcus Bond.

&uot;They’re very similar to us,&uot; Simmons said. &uot;The score could be close and then all of a sudden they’ll make a 6-0 run or a 10-0 run and you are down by 10.

&uot;We’ve got to try to keep them from getting into their runs,&uot; he added.

To be successful, the Bears have three points of emphasis.

First, they will have to try to rebound with the Panthers. They will also have to push the ball offensively on every possession. Simmons said he wanted to put pressure on Dudley as they were trying to get back in defensive transition.

The other key, according to the coach, is shooting the ball well.

&uot;I think we have to do what we have all year,&uot; Simmons stressed. &uot;We need four or five people in double figures. We’re going to have to have that number step up to the plate.&uot;

The coach also said he hoped to see a good number of Hertford County fans in the stands in Greenville.

&uot;Just come out and support us like you have all year,&uot; Simmons said to fans. &uot;Come out and cheer us on to victory.&uot;

Those who can’t make the game will be able to listen to it live on 98.3 FM WDLZ in Murfreesboro. Gattis Hodges will bring all the play-by-play action beginning at 8:15 p.m.