Region 7-AA Basketball: Model Girls v. Dade Co.

Model's Timia Reynolds drills down the court against Dade County in the semi-final game of the Region 7-AA basketball tournament at Georgia Highlands College, February 15, 2013. (Brittany Hannah/RN-T)

Brittany Hannah
It’s that time of the season. 
The seeds are decided and the Floyd teams who received a berth to the state tournament this year have more than likely been eating, sleeping and breathing basketball during the first part of this week. 
The postseason is where teams will really see what they’re made of on the court, knowing that this time around there are no second chances, and a loss is a season-ender.
Outside of the region comfort zone, teams this year will have just a couple days to prepare for the unknown.
The state tourney is also where the seeding that a team lands in the region tournament reveals its importance.
Some teams face greater challenges than others and will undoubtedly be hitting practice hard this week, as well as doing their research on their postseason opponents, all in preparation for what’s to come. 
Here’s a look at this week’s girls state tourney action (For boys’ preview, see Wednesday’s edition of the RN-T):
MODEL GIRLS: The Lady Devils’ first-round state-tournament game might be served with a side of revenge.
No. 2-seeded Model will face 6-AA No. 3 seed Lovett, to whom the Lady Devils fell in the Elite Eight last year.
To up the ante even further, the Lovett girls are the defending Class AA state champs, so Model will be looking to take away the Lady Lions’ repeat chances to increase their own chances at the state title.
Model will have the advantage of hosting Lovett on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.  with the hopes of sending the Lady Lions home with an L.
Model coach Sally Echols knows that returning last year’s favor to Lovett by knocking them out of the state tourney will be a challenge, but it’s one that her and the Lady Devils are up for.
“We know Lovett is a good team; we saw them last year,” she said after Saturday night’s loss to Calhoun in the finals.
“When you have the opportunity to play the defending state champions, regardless of who they are, you’re excited about the opportunity,” added Echols. “They’re coming to our house, and we’re excited.”
As Model enters the state tournament with a 20-7 overall record and Lovett at 14-12, the Lady Devils should like their chances.
Of course, Model will also need their best shooters to be on their game.
Timia Reynolds and Karlee Akin were the standouts in the tournament, while Carla Clemmons and Kaylee Akin have been reliable throughout the season.
The Lady Devils will be coming off a loss to the Lady Yellow Jackets, a game in which Model had 23 turnovers, a point that Echols said will be a key focus in preparing for Lovett.

ARMUCHEE GIRLS: The Lady Indians have one of the toughest state tournament tasks ahead of them.
After falling to Dade County by two points in the third-place game of the region tourney, Armuchee landed at the 7-AA No. 4 seed and will travel to face 6-AA No. 1 seed Wesleyan at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Before moving back up to Class AA this season, Wesleyan won four consecutive state titles in Class A, and they have won eight state titles in the past nine years.
And moving up to Class AA doesn’t seem to have thwarted the Region 6-AA champs one bit.
The Lady Wolves had a perfect run through Region 6-AA and own a 24-3 overall record.
Regular standout Heather Shore knows getting the win will be tough, but that her and the Lady Indians are ready to get to work.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’ll have to fight through it,” said Shore after their third-place loss to Dade County.
“We’ll just have to turn around and be ready to come out and practice hard on Monday.”
Along with Shore, the Lady Indians will need their other usual standouts to be on their A-game come Wednesday.
Those players include JessAnn Nix and Mary Bess Skinner, who fared well in the region tourney.
Claire Tibbetts and Jordan Burkett have also carried a good bit of the scoring load throughout the season.

DARLINGTON GIRLS: Since the Darlington Lady Tigers are in Class A, their state berth is decided by the Class A power-rankings.
The Lady Tigers will know whether they have a state-tourney bid later this week, but since their power ranking hasn’t been below No. 5 all season, the odds are highly in their favor.
Darlington fell in the Region 6-A tourney in the semifinals to St. Francis. Despite the power rankings, a region title would have guaranteed the Lady Tigers a berth.
The Class A pairings are scheduled to be released Wednesday.