WEST LIBERTY – WL-S Coach Dennis McIntosh knew his squad could be special before the season started.
How special? That was up to the girls.
“We’re probably as healthy as we’ve been all year. The girls are excited about playing Saturday and we’re looking forward to it,” McIntosh said.
The Tigers will face off against Madeira in a Division III district final at Springfield High School on Saturday, with tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m.
McIntosh thinks the Mustangs will pose a challenge to his girls, especially this late in the season – when nothing is guaranteed.
“Our biggest test is going to be defensively. We’re going to have to get back on defense after a missed or a made basket,” McIntosh said, adding that Madeira likes to run. “We want to get the ball up the floor, too, but I don’t think we want to get in a running game. We want to push the tempo offensively, but we want to slow them down. We need to make them work for their shots and their baskets.”
The Tigers are equipped for that task, with a group of guards who are speedy with the ball and can lock down and turn opposing ball-handlers.
“I think (Madeira) has some good athletes, but I think I have some good athletes too. It’s going to come down to who can take care of the ball and get things done on the offensive end,” McIntosh said. “(Our girls) have got to be able to stop the penetration. From what we’ve seen of them, they’re not great outside shooters.”
The Mustangs have a post player committed to play Division I college basketball, but McIntosh and the Tigers aren’t daunted. After all, Jamie Peterson could probably play at that level herself, were she not committed to playing volleyball at the next level.
“(Jamie)’s still going to play the way she always plays. I think she’ll give her a good test,” McIntosh said. “You’re just trying to survive and move on to the next game. We’re just going to have to play great defense and make sure Jamie gets her touches.”
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.