Win or lose, no one can say Prattville Christian wasn’t fully prepared.
There’s the lengthy scouting report, the highly competitive male-vs.-female practices and the surprise quizzes that Panthers girls coach Jason Roberson has incorporated.
“I didn’t want to have any regrets,” Roberson said. “I always talk to them about not having regrets. Giving your best, doing everything that you can possibly do and controlling what you have control over. After that, it’s whatever happens, happens because we can live with ourselves.
“I don’t want to look back and say I could have done a little bit more to help them out.”
The Panthers (34-0) will attempt to cap an undefeated season against Woodland (33-2) in today’s Class 2A state championship game at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center at 9 a.m.
It all began about four weeks ago with Roberson’s open invitation to any eighth- and ninth-grade boys interested in scrimmaging. The idea arose in the hopes of readying the Panthers physically and mentally for a different caliber of basketball.
“I appreciate the guys we called in,” Roberson said. “We told them that if they’re not playing a spring sport, we’d love your help. We had a bunch of middle-school guys and ninth-graders out here. The speed and quickness, the toughness and the physicality that our girls have had to learn to play with has definitely helped over the last month.”
Senior and Troy signee Kristen Emerson viewed the practices as a method of motivation.
“It’s more pushing us than it is playing against each other,” said Emerson, who collected 30 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s 21-point over Tanner in the semis. “It can only help.”
The next phase caught everyone off guard.
In the days leading up to Prattville Christian’s opening state tournament matchup, Roberson presented the team with a five-page written scouting report breaking down Tanner’s tendencies.
“My initial reaction was that he was very organized and prepared,” sophomore Sydney Bell laughed.
Roberson didn’t stop there, however.. Following team film sessions, Roberson would randomly quiz his players on what they had learned.
“We had all this stuff, and he would go back and quiz us on it,” Emerson said. “It’s really neat to see how he studies basketball the way he does. … It kind of seems like an extra class because we have to study it and work on it outside of (school).”