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McKenzie varsity boys win season opener

The McKenzie Tigers boys varsity basketball team got the season started off property Monday night on the road with a 57-37 win over the Florala Wildcats.

McKenzie head basketball coach Miles Brown said that the win was big not only with regards to player confidence and momentum, but also for being the first varsity boys win in nearly two years.

“I don’t know if it means anything for expectations,” Brown said.

“It just starts us off on the right foot right now.  All we’re trying to do right now is play one game at a time, and get better one game at a time.  And at the end of the season, we’ll see what it looks like.”

Though the road to the playoffs is a particularly long one for basketball, for which circumstances can change at the drop of a hat between now and February, Brown hesitates to look too far ahead.

But what’s in front of him now is an encouraging sign, particularly the amount of chemistry developed in such a short window of time.

“I really thought the biggest factor of the win was the way our guys played together as a unit on the court,” Brown said.

“I thought they did a really good job of communicating with one another.”

Though Brown went into the first game not fully knowing what to expect, he said that his team’s hard work and dedication could pay dividends as the season unfolds.

Fortunately, the Tigers have a month before region play begins in earnest next year.

Unfortunately, each of the Tigers’ first tests will be on the road.

Florala and Kinston were Monday and Tuesday’s opponents respectively, and Pleasant Home will host the Tigers Thursday.

“Kinston’s got a new coach in Johnny Mitchell, and Coach Mitchell has always done a superb job in basketball,” Brown said. “He is a great coach, so they will be well prepared when we show up.

“And Pleasant Home is Pleasant Home.  They’ve always had good, quality teams for years now.”

At the very least, it’ll be some valuable road experience for a young Tigers team.

“And that’s where we’re at,” Brown said.  “We’re after experience right now.”

Senior Condie Pugh led the Tigers with 26 points.

Junior Chris Shufford also reached double digits with 15 points on the night.

The Tigers will travel to Pleasant Home for McKenzie’s third game of the season, though results weren’t available for the Tigers’ second game against Kinston at press time.