Heather Leiphart/Odessa American â Tristian Clay goes for a layup in the Big Spring Steersâ 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 boysâ 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, itâs been a recurring topic among the Steers this week.
âWe talked about every day how weâre trying to win a district championship,â Thompson said. âOur goal is not just to make the playoffs. I think we have the pieces here to make the playoffs. I told them âIf weâre lucky enough to win district, in the playoffs itâs a little bit easier because weâll play lower seeded teams.ââ
Itâs 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, heâs 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 canât continue to do that with players such as Tristian Clay and Marc Segundo making plays, too.
Donât expect the Lions to try a box-and one defense against the Steers in an effort to slow down Adams, though.
âTheyâre going to do what they do. Theyâre not real gimmicky,â Thompson said. âTheyâre going to do the same thing and theyâre just going to do it really well. I think some of the other teams will.
âBut 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, weâve got Tristian shooting well, weâve got Marc shooting well, weâve got the post.â
While this will be one of the more difficult games on the district schedule, Thompson said he doesnât see any slouches in 5-3A.
Sweetwater has size, Snyder is fast and Abilene Wylie is the favorite. The Steers canât take a night off in this district.
When Thompson was an assistant in Big Spring, the Steers were in a different class, so heâs had to study teams in this district as a first-year head coach this season. He said heâs still learning about these teams, but heâs 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.
âItâs a new year. We have to prove ourselves again,â Clay said. âWe were good last year, but we have to show that weâre better this year.â
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