Tonight, two top ten men's basketball teams tipoff with area tournament rankings at stake. Spanish Fort (18-6) hosts Daphne (23-2) in one of the most anticipated games of the season. Each of these teams have one win apiece when matching up previously this season, but the last time the Trojans and the Toros faced off, the game came down to a last second three-pointer from Teion Stanton to give the Trojans a 68-65 victory at home.
"You know, it doesn't really matter how you get a win; any win is always a good win," said Daphne Head Coach Cedric Yelding. "And anytime you play a team as good as Spanish Fort, it's nice to come out on top. I feel like in high school it's difficult to maintain leads, and we saw that when we played Spanish Fort at our place. We had a good run, and playing at home definitely helped. We know tonight is going to be a good, competitive game."
"It's been a long time since we've won at Spanish Fort," Yelding continued. "So we know that this is going to be a tough game, but if we just slow our game down stay grounded, I think we'll be successful. We have nine seniors, so every night someone different is really stepping up and playing well for us; it's not just all on one guy. Our guys do such a great job really playing well together. Spanish Fort has some big guys, so we definitely have to guard them well so they don't get hot."
"The last time we played Daphne at their place, we were up 18 points in the third quarter, and then they came back and hit nine 3's in the second half," said Spanish Fort Head Coach Dru Powell. "What I will say is that the 3's they hit were contested for the most part; it was just Daphne's night that night. Their entire team is very athletic, very quick, and they all play hard. They have nine seniors on the team, so they have experience and they're very balanced in terms of athleticism. They're the kind of team that you have to guard all five guys, not just one or two; everyone on that team can score with the ball."
"Tonight, I'm looking for our seniors to really step up because they have the experience we need to play well," Powell continued. "We have to take care of the basketball, rebound well, and minimize opportunities for Daphne in order to win this game. I trust our guys; we always get good minutes from the five that are out there on the floor. I also think being able to play at home will give us some added momentum; we have a great turnout from our students and have really great fans."
On top of tonight being such a great matchup, there is also a great cause. Tonight is "Shooting 2 Change" for autism awareness. Both coach Powell and the late girl's basketball coach Thad Akins have a child with autism, so tonight is a night that Spanish Fort looks forward to each year. Coach Yelding said his guys were excited about playing for such a great cause tonight too. There will be a tailgate at Spanish Fort before the game including a DJ that starts at 4:30 PM. Tipoff is set for 7:30 PM.