It’s come down to one local team and Lewisville might be the most unusual suspect remaining with a shot at playing for a state basketball championship.
But don’t tell the Lions that. They beat defending Class A state champ Great Falls for the region 3-A state title and have been burning the scoreboard with points since the playoffs began.
The tallest starter is Cody Montgomery, a 6-foot-4 center and one of the school’s top baseball players.
Lewisville (16-11) has made it this far with a talented coach and a group of players’ who punch in before every game and go to work.
“They better do it or they will be sitting beside me on the bench,’’ Lewisville coach Larry Davis said. ”But that’s not a problem for this team. We have some very determined guys and they have learned into our system the last two years.’’
The other four starters are Qua Walls, 6-1 small forward, Mardarius Bailey, a 5-6 point guard and Tre Bailey, a 5-6 guard. The last spot goes to who Davis needs most: 6-0 guard Kale Worthy or 6-0 Obbie Sarduay.
“We have a bunch of kids who play the game hard. We have seen all year we need a defence we can hang our hats on. For us that’s man-to-man with a little zone sprinkled in.’’
They Lions play defense with all-out abandon and use basically the man style that USC employed when Davis, South Pointe coach Melvin Watson and former All-American BJ McKie formed a three-headed guard offense that gave opponents fits trying to keep up with them.
But let’s not get too far ahead. Lewisville must get past Christ Church in Saturday’s Upper State Championship Game before setting their sights on a state tittle next Saturday in Columbia.
The last time Lewisville made it this far was in 2003, and the Lions came away with a 70-43 loss to rival Great Falls. The Red Devils have played in six state championships since then and have won three, including last year.
“We start three guards, like we did at USC; because we want to get our best players on the floor. In high school there is no such thing as recruiting. You have to go with the players you are given then try to find the best way to win.
“At times, I start different lineups, but the top five have been more consistent. And we want to remain calm for the players. They are more excited than me about the state, but we have to base their concentration on where they are every day.
“Theses guys are young and have decided they want to win because they have been in the shadow of Great Falls for ao long. The are tired of being second to Great Falls and show it. Even though they don’t always want to, they are at practice every day. They come out and work, which makes it fun for me to be their coach.”
Waiting in the wings for whichever team Saturday is either Carver’s Bay or Whale Branch from the Lower state.
The eight remaining Upper State teams play Friday night and Saturday at the Bi-lo Center in Greenville. The eight Lower State teams hold their tournament Friday night and Saturday at the Florence Civic Center.
Davis said all that he knows about Christ Church is they like to shoot the 3-pointer.
“I have not watched them on video,” he said. “We are not going to change a lot for what we do. We are going to rely on what we do best.”
Barry Byers • 329-4099