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What does a head coach whoâ€™s never been to the playoffs tell his players about the playoffs?
Itâ€™s something the eight seniors on this team can relate to.
â€śIâ€™ve talked to a lot of coaches who have been in my position and I just try to heed their advice and make it fun for the guys,â€ť BSHS boysâ€™ basketball head coach Cliff Thompson said. â€śFor a lot of them, I just make sure theyâ€™re enjoying it because itâ€™s the last time theyâ€™ll get to do this. For me, itâ€™s a learning process, for them itâ€™s the only chance they get.â€ť
Todayâ€™s matchup will be the first playoff game Thompson has ever been a part of as a coach in his career, which is a young one. Heâ€™s hoping to lead his senior-laden squad past a Bowie team thatâ€™s seemed to find its stride at the right time.
The Steers face Bowie at 6 p.m. today at Cisco High School in Cisco.
A week ago, the Steers were expecting to face either Graham or Iowa Park in the bi-district round of the playoffs, but all that changed when Bowie â€” a team picked to finish last in its district â€” beat both of those teams to clinch a berth. Bowie is an underdog of sorts.
Thompson said a team like that at this point in the season is dangerous, but he believes the Steers have everything in place to win todayâ€™s game.
With this being his first playoff game, Thompson said heâ€™s had to learn a few new lessons himself, besides scouting Bowie.
â€śIâ€™ve got nerves,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™m trying to figure out how to keep the focus on this team, but at the same time prepare for the next since weâ€™ve only got a couple of days. Thatâ€™s been kind of an interesting dynamic for me. Focus on Bowie, but at the same time, Iâ€™ve got to make sure Iâ€™m getting film ready this week if we end up winning.â€ť
At this point in the season, standout guard Luke Adams is a targeted man and Thompson expects Bowie to defend him like most teams have all season: the box-and-1 defense.
This is where Marc Segundo and Tristian Clay come in. Thompson said their performances will be key the more teams try to limit Adams in the playoffs.
The Steers saw what that could be like in the second game against Snyder in district play. Segundo got hot and scored 29 points, thanks in part to the attention placed on Adams. Thompson believes good shooting nights from those three make Big Spring tough to beat.
Those three also have some experience their teammates havenâ€™t really had yet: the playoffs.
While this team is packed with seniors, some of them are new faces to the team.
The junior Segundo and seniors Clay and Adams were on last yearâ€™s playoff team that reached the area championship round in Class 4A.
Thompson said what happened last year isnâ€™t much of a topic, but he has talked to his players about going as deep as they can in the playoffs.
â€śI try to talk to them about having high expectations, but a lot of these guys werenâ€™t on varsity last year, so this is kind of a new experience for them â€” except for Marc and Tristian and Luke,â€ť he said. â€śI think theyâ€™re just kind of enjoying it, which is good.â€ťView more articles in: