Travelers Rest’s boys basketball team was plagued by illness during the holidays, but Devildogs coach Josh Mills said he expects his team to be at full strength when it plays at Greenville tonight.
“We couldn’t have picked a better time to catch the flu and the stomach bug,” Mills said, “because in our conference, if that happens, you could very easily end up out of the playoffs. We were fortunate.”
The margin for error in the Peach Blossom AAA Region is narrow. TR, Eastside, Southside and Berea have 3-1 records. Greer and Greenville are 2-2.
Eastside was No. 2 in Class AAA in the most recent state rankings, with Berea at No. 4 and TR at No. 9. On the last night of region play before the break, Southside beat Eastside and Greer beat Berea.
“It’s a real mess,” Mills said. “I’m trying not to focus on anything but us and our next game, because I can’t control any of the rest of it. Hopefully we don’t come into a game and think maybe we get by playing mediocre, because mediocre in this region will get you in trouble.
“I’ve reminded our kids countless times already that last year, the team that played for the state championship (Southside) was the fourth-place team in our region, and we were the last team to beat them before they played in the state championship game. And we didn’t even go to the playoffs.”
So the trick is getting in.
“I think if you can get to the playoffs from our region,” Mills said, “you’re in much better shape because you’re prepared.”
* Hillcrest’s boys team, fresh off a championship in one bracket of the Upward Classic at Dorman, will host Laurens in a Region 1-AAAA game.
Laurens and T.L. Hanna are 3-0 in the region. Hillcrest is 2-1, having lost to Hanna.
* Wade Hampton’s girls team will try to keep pace with Gaffney on top of Region 2-AAAA when it hosts Boiling Springs. Both the Generals and the Indians, who play at Spartanburg, are 3-0 in the region.
The J.L. Mann and Greenwood girls teams are 3-0 in Region 1-AAAA. Mann hosts Hanna, while Easley plays at Greenwood.