Demopolis girls set to host Class 5A, Area 6 tournament

For the first time in more than five years, the Demopolis High School Lady Tigers will be the No. 1 seed entering area tournament play.

The Lady Tigers clinched the top seed and the right to host the Class 5A, Area 6 draw by finishing the regular season area slate with a 5-1 mark.

“It’s big. You play 20-plus games regular season for the opportunity to play at home in the area tournament,” Demopolis coach Tony Pittman said. “Teams tend to play better at home. We play better at home. I feel like it’s a big plus for us to be comfortable in our environment, playing at home.”

The Lady Tigers opened area play Jan. 6 with one of their worst performances of the year in a 47-40 loss to Wilcox Central. Since that setback, DHS has won seven in a row including a 5-0 march to finish out area play.

“We were able to refocus and focus on what we needed to do in order to get better each and every ball game,” Pittman said. “We took the next ball game approach and we were able to focus and play better as a team. We were able to play a lot of different players, which is going to prove big for our program as we continue to make that march into the area tournament.”

Pittman’s team sits at 18-6 with three regular season contests remaining, leaving the team a narrow window to address its handful of concerns heading into postseason play.

“Rebounding has been a focus for us. It’s something that we’re really focusing on. And passing. We have got to get better passing the basketball and knowing where the ball is supposed to be at certain times within our offense,” Pittman said, also noting that he is content with the way his team is poised as the area bracket draws near. “I am pleased with where we are right now. I’m pleased with the progress we are continuing to make. I see a team starting to really gel. And at this point in the game, you really want to see your team come together more and more and we’re doing that. It shows in practice. Everything we’ve done as far as making that change has started in practice with our defense and with the small things.”

Pittman’s team battles R.C. Hatch on the road Thursday night before hosting Linden Friday and wrapping up the regular season at Selma Monday. The area tournament is set to tip Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. with the Wilcox facing Sumter Central and DHS tangling with Dallas County.

With the potential of five games in the span of eight days and a possible sub-regional date looming Monday, Feb. 9, Pittman will need to rely on the depth his roster has developed.

“It’s big. That’s one of the things that I like. We’ve been able to play a lot of kids in crucial situations. That’s going to help us going down the road. I can go nine deep easily and that has been a big plus for us,” Pittman said. “It’s a big plus for us. We have kids on that roster that can go in and play and give you 10 to 15 minutes a ball game. It’s kids that know how to play and know what to do in those situations.”

The championship of the Area 6 tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.

The Demopolis High boys team is set to travel to Dallas County Thursday, Feb. 5 for the Area 6 tournament. The Tigers are the No. 4 seed and face top-seeded Dallas County in the opening round. The championship of that bracket is set for Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.

An all-Marengo County bracket will take place in both the Class 1A, Area 4 boys and girls tournaments.

On the boys side, A.L. Johnson High School is the No. 1 seed and draws a first round bye. Marengo High is set to face Linden at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3. The winner of that game faces A.L. Johnson Friday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. in the championship game.

On the girls side, Linden hosts the Area 4 tournament and draws the opening-round bye. ALJ faces Marengo Monday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. with the winner playing LHS for the title Thursday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.