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Show and Prove: District 5-3A play begins for Steers

January 14, 2011

Heather Leiphart/Odessa American — Tristian Clay goes for a layup in the Big Spring Steers’ game against Monahans earlier this season. There will be no more non-district games for the Steers, however. District 5-3A play begins tonight at Brownwood.

After practice Thursday, Big Spring guard Luke Adams and boys’ basketball coach Cliff Thompson caught themselves in a conversation, mapping out different scenarios of how the Steers can clinch a playoff berth or, even better, win District 5-3A.

Actually, it’s been a recurring topic among the Steers this week.

“We talked about every day how we’re trying to win a district championship,” Thompson said. “Our goal is not just to make the playoffs. I think we have the pieces here to make the playoffs. I told them ‘If we’re lucky enough to win district, in the playoffs it’s a little bit easier because we’ll play lower seeded teams.’”

It’s a new year, new class and new district for the Steers (16-6) as they open 5-3A play against Brownwood at 7 p.m. today in Brownwood.
Thompson said this game will tell the Steers a lot about who they are.

Brownwood is one of the top teams in the district, but the Steers and Lions match up well. Brownwood is athletic, has size and has a couple of dangerous guards. There are not too many weaknesses on this team.

A lot of non-district play for the Steers has been about Adams. While the senior guard was a household name last season, he’s only gotten better this season. The season-high 46 points against Lubbock Cooper is just one of the many milestones for Adams so far this season.

As a result, the Steers have already seen opponents try to hinder Adams with box-and-one and various zone defenses, among other things.
Going into district play, Thompson said opponents can’t continue to do that with players such as Tristian Clay and Marc Segundo making plays, too.

Don’t expect the Lions to try a box-and one defense against the Steers in an effort to slow down Adams, though.

“They’re going to do what they do. They’re not real gimmicky,” Thompson said. “They’re going to do the same thing and they’re just going to do it really well. I think some of the other teams will.

“But Tristian and Marc, Devante Lloyd and Chazzell (Robertson) have all been here about an hour before practice every day, shooting extra shots, just doing what they need to do so when their number is called, if they take Luke away, we’ve got Tristian shooting well, we’ve got Marc shooting well, we’ve got the post.”

While this will be one of the more difficult games on the district schedule, Thompson said he doesn’t see any slouches in 5-3A.

Sweetwater has size, Snyder is fast and Abilene Wylie is the favorite. The Steers can’t take a night off in this district.

When Thompson was an assistant in Big Spring, the Steers were in a different class, so he’s had to study teams in this district as a first-year head coach this season. He said he’s still learning about these teams, but he’s seen enough film to have a pretty good gauge of how the Steers will match up.

Last year, the Steers ended up celebrating a district championship, but that was in Class 4A.

“It’s a new year. We have to prove ourselves again,” Clay said. “We were good last year, but we have to show that we’re better this year.”

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