Blackman played perhaps its best game of the high school boys basketball season when it last faced Siegel High two weeks ago, whipping the Stars by 44 points.
Neither Blackman coach Barry Wortman nor Siegel coach Ben Dotson have looked at that first meeting as a precursor to what will happen tonight when the two collide for their second district showdown.
“That was one game,” Dotson said. “This is one game. It’s just one game. We’re just focused on getting better.”
Added Wortman, “Our kids are very aware that game was not indicative on how this one will play out.”
Top-ranked Blackman dismantled sixth-ranked Siegel 86-42 in their first meeting. It was a 10-point game at halftime, but quickly went out of reach in the third quarter when Blackman outscored Siegel 33-5. Vanderbilt commitment Darius Thompson scored a career-high 38 points and broke the school’s all-time assist record in the victory.
But there were other reasons the game got out of reach. Siegel starter Dominique Gooch was ejected from the game only 2 minutes, 31 seconds into play after receiving two technical fouls. Starters Ryan Jones and Charles Clark also were in foul trouble in the first half.
All three will be on the hardwood tonight, but leading scorer Robert Brandon is out with a knee injury.
“They had some foul trouble, and that was just a unique situation,” Wortman said. “We had as good of a four- or five-minute stretch in the third quarter as we can possibly play. They have a great program. We will have to play extremely well. They’ll come right at us.”
Blackman (22-0 overall, 8-0 in 7-AAA) can win the District 7-AAA title outright with a victory over the Stars (23-2, 6-2).
Dotson said he’s looked at film from the game. Siegel led Blackman 7-3 at the time of Gooch’s ejection.
“I’ve looked at it and had nightmares,” Dotson said. “I wish we had Robert Brandon and it could be our best going against their best. We had a couple of fouls here and there against us. You can’t defend them like we normally do after that. The basketball was as big as a beach for those guys that night. Barry and those guys over there do a great job.
“I don’t want to use a cliche, but it’s just one game.”
Wortman said his team is focused solely on Siegel. If Blackman is fortunate enough to get past the Stars, then it would turn to the possibility of going unbeaten in league play. Many coaches questioned if it could be done this season with the improvement of other teams in the league.
“We haven’t talked about that,” Wortman said. “We’re focused on (tonight). That is it.”
In girls action, Central Magnet (22-4, 7-3) plays at Smith County (18-9, 5-5) today before completing league play Friday with Livingston Academy. The Lady Tigers defeated York 54-40 on Monday. With three games in five days, Central Magnet coach Steve Willey acknowledged that it is a tournament-type week.
“As far as we’re concerned, the tournament starts tonight,” said Willey, whose team is currently in third place. “We may not know where teams finish until late Friday night.”
Currently, fourth-ranked Cannon County is in control of the district. The Lionettes will win the district with wins over DeKalb County today and Smith County on Friday. A Livingston Academy loss in its remaining two district games would also give Cannon County the district if the Lionettes lose one of the next two games.
“It’s a big week for us,” Cannon County coach Michael Dodgen said. “We control what we want to do with the district. We’ve got to take advantage of that.”