Playoff warm-up win over Paducah helps Steers shake off rust

POST — The Big Spring Steers have had a little more than a week of preparation for their bi-district playoff game against Bowie Tuesday.But the way they ended the regular season — a 69-54 loss at Abilene Wylie — is still fresh in their minds. So head coach Cliff Thompson and the Steers didn’t mind expressing how good a 74-58 win over Paducah felt, even if it was a playoff warm-up game.“We needed that after that Wylie game,” he said. “We didn’t play well. Paducah is a good team. Just Monday, they beat Seminole, who won their 3A district. We played well and that was good to see.”Thompson simply wanted his players to shake some rust off in Friday’s playoff warm-up game against what he considers an athletic team.The two senior leaders were solid. BSHS guard Luke Adams was his usual self with 32 points and Tristian Clay had 15. The Steers outscored the Dragons in every quarter and kept things under control for most of the game without many problems. The Steers had to wait until Tuesday night to figure out who they were playing in the bi-district round. Other than that, Thompson and his players said this week has been all about staying in the gym.This playoff warm-up game served other purposes besides working out any kinks before Tuesday’s matchup. Thompson said it was a good time to get a win and have fun doing so and he brought a few junior varsity players along for Friday’s game, hoping to give them a taste of what it’s like to be on varsity.Adams mentioned how good it feels to get back on the court after the Wylie game, but he also said this game helps he team deal with the layoff between the end of the regular season and the playoffs,“It’s actually pretty hard to do,” Adams said. “Our bodies are tired and we just have to get motivated again. We had a couple team meetings and coach Thompson has done a good job of trying to light the fire. A lot of guys just run out of juice in the playoffs. They might be tired or they just kind of quit. I don’t think we will do that. We just have to take it one game at a time.”A lot of area boys’ teams are in the same position the Steers are in. Grady won its playoff warm-up game against Garden City Friday; both of those squads are in the playoffs. As of Saturday afternoon, Garden City is still trying to figure out who they will play in the bi-district round. Stanton’s bi-district game against Kermit isn’t until Tuesday, too. Sands has a bye and won’t play until the area championship round on Feb. 25.The Steers practiced Saturday and will have one more on Monday before Tuesday’s game against Bowie. BSHS center Devante Lloyd said the Steers are still studying Bowie, but they know the task at hand.“We know what we have to do,” he said, “and we know we’re going to do it.”