Riverdale girls basketball coach Cory Barrett insists there is nothing magical about playing at home in Johnny Parsley Memorial Gymnasium.
Opposing teams might differ.
Top-ranked Riverdale (24-0 overall, 9-0 in 7-AAA) enters tonight’s final home regular-season game with third-ranked Blackman (23-1, 8-1) bolstering a 64-game home win streak. Tipoff is set for 6 o’clock.
“We haven’t talked about it team wise, and really haven’t thought about it,” Barrett said. “But our kids, especially with (seniors) Tyisha (Petty) and Olivia (Jones) know about it for sure. We’ve got great support from administration and our fans. When your fans show up and are involved in the game, that can have an effect on the game.
“We don’t break it down, or anything like that. We just play where there are two goals at, and where they tell us to play.”
Riverdale, which has won 47 straight games, last lost at home on Feb. 11, 2008 when former coach Micheal Burt coached the Lady Warriors. Barrett is the third Riverdale head coach since that loss.
The game wraps up 7-AAA play. The winner will be the top seed in next week’s District 7-AAA tournament at Smyrna High. Blackman, which lost 55-42 to Riverdale on Jan. 18, will be the top seed if the Lady Blaze beat Riverdale to force a tie in the standings due to a predetermined tiebreaker.
“We just have to go in and play,” Blackman coach Chad Hibdon said. “You know the scenario. A road win in the district would be huge. It would probably be the first time we have won the regular season. That would be nice.
“But it really comes down to getting the No. 1 seed. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got a tough league. It’s going to be tough no matter who you play in the semifinals, or finals.”
Hibdon said he won’t address the streak with team. It doesn’t matter tonight.
“We won’t look at anything other than that we have to play better than them that night,” Hibdon said. “That’s exactly what we’ll tell them. No matter how great they play, we’ve just got to be a little better.
“They are going to play great. They know all the things on the line too.”
Blackman has ended a Riverdale win streak in the past. The Lady Blaze ended a Riverdale 55-game win streak in 2011 in the District 7-AAA championship game.
In the boys game, Blackman (23-0, 9-0) can complete an undefeated regular season with a win over Riverdale (9-14, 2-7). Blackman defeated Riverdale 60-33 in its first meeting. Blackman has never gone unbeaten in school history.
While District 7-AAA is wrapping up league play tonight, District 9-A is beginning its postseason with first-round girls tournament action.
Fifth-seed MTCS (16-10, 8-6) plays at fourth-seed Community (15-11, 8-6) in its first-round game. Seventh-seed Eagleville (6-20, 2-12) plays at Cascade (17-8, 12-2) in its game. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Community swept MTCS in the regular season. First-year coach Lynn Burkey said the Lady Cougars went through a stretch when they had sickness and some injuries on the team, but they are past that now.
“I think we are playing well,” Burkey said. “We’ve continued to improve.
“While it’s not impossible to do, it’s hard to beat a team three times. We are motivated. Our motivation comes from our goals set at the beginning of the year. We want to advance deep in the tournament.”