“Last time they (ASD) played us at our place, they did a better job defensive-wise, something that I saw at the time,” Fayetteville head coach Grant Maddox said. “We had a little trouble with it. We tried to work the ball around a lot more. Their team has improved.”
But the Silent Warriors are strong offensively, too.
“They’ve got a couple of guards that can shoot really well from the outside,” Maddox said. “That’s one thing as a game plan I’m trying to focus on and trying to take away if I can with the players and everything. But I know one thing I can tell is they have really improved over the season as far as experience and playing different teams, playing teams like us. I know they’ve gotten extremely well with their offense. So, I’m definitely trying to work with our guards, try to spread it out a bit so their guards won’t hurt us as much.”
Maddox said his team faced a difficult transition at the start of this season, but they have shown an incredible amount of improvement to get to where they are today.
“The first part of the season was kind of like an intro to the whole season as a team with me being a new head coach and my philosophy and my teaching and my practices,” Maddox said. “They had to start all over again. It was more work for them to get to know my style of coaching, my style of teaching. The first couple games of the season, it was kind of rough. We were going back and forth to try to figure out what we needed to focus on, what we needed to get corrected ahead of time. I believe to this point they’ve actually done extremely well. Our last three ball games we’ve played, we’ve won two. We defeated Shades Mountain Christian and we defeated Wadley. The other game we played against Donoho. We got beat by three points and we had the game won, but we had some unfortunate times for us as far as shooting and free throws. But other than that, the past three or four ball games it’s really been very impressive to me as a coach to see how they have improved from the first of the season to now. I feel very confident about the area tournament that we should be able to compete and go out there and give it everything we’ve got. I know for a fact that we can look back and say, hey, if we weren’t successful, we gave it all we got and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Maddox said the area tournament is an important time for his senior players to step up and lead the team.
“I only have two seniors this year,” he said. “I talked to both of them and told them ‘this is all about you guys now. This is your last year here. This is the last time you put on this uniform.’ I said, ‘let me tell you something: but it doesn’t have to be the last time you put it on during Area Tournament. You can keep wearing this thing for as long as it takes. If it takes until the regionals or the state playoffs, you determine how you want to end this season. Do you want to end it on a good note or a bad note? These younger classmen, they’re looking up at you.’ As leaders, they decide how far they’re going to bring this team. They’ve understood that. I think they have a good idea and a good mind frame of where they want to take this team and how they want to lead it, which has been very impressive to me. I’ve been working with them the whole season and I’m just really proud of them for what they’ve accomplished so far. But I know right now they’re ready to lead more to this area tournament than anything else and they feel confident, just like I do.”
Fayetteville plays Alabama School for the Deaf today at Winterboro with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.