The Hayesville Yellow Jackets have secured the #2 seed in the west. They will play host in a very intriguing 1st round matchup. Their opponent? Winston Salem Preparatory Academy. Quite a draw for a first round playoff game, but that’s the way it goes especially amidst the Covid season we are in.
Only 32 teams made the playoffs and the nine conference winners out of the west were given a random seeding 1-9. With that said Hayesville got a bit of good luck getting a #2 seed, granted being ranked first in the state one could say it’s well deserved. Chances are as long as Hayesville wins they will be at home for the entirety of the playoffs up until the state championship game.
Hayesvilles Opponent, Winston Salem Prep
The defending state championships, also 6 time state champions were granted a wild card seed being the second best team in their conference. They are forced to be reckoned with in 1A basketball, or at least they have been since the schools inception. Yet every season of that was under one coach, Andre Gould who has now left to a different school. It is well known that WSPA has an open enrollment policy.
This has allowed them to build all star rosters leading to their many state championship wins. Interestingly enough their open enrollment policy may have hurt them when their former coach left. WSPA leading scorer, a junior from their state championship team, should have been back. Yet he followed his coach to his new school along with several of WSPA other players. In fact only four players return from there state championship team. This team is no longer filled with a boat load of sure fire D1 basketball recruits.
Rather they are a very athletic scrappy bunch who has gotten better as the year went on. They still came in second place in traditionally one of the best boys basketball conferences in the state. As well in their last game of the season it was essentially a win and get in situation. They did just that winning ,when it was that or season over. They are playing their best basketball of the season and Hayesville will need to be on their game to win.
Opposing Coach Interview, with Winston Salem Prep Head Coach William Tibbs Jr.
Q: What do you know about your 1st round opponent Hayesville?
A: I know they are a #2 seed overall, undefeated in conference and overall. They probably should have been the #1 overall seed in the state.
Q: Describe your team a little, what do you do well, do you play fast, slow, like to press, shoot the three, pound it inside etc.
A: Were made up of Seniors and Juniors, We like to push the ball but can play anyway we need to play. We had some tough games at the beginning of the year that showed us who we are.
Q: How is your team’s overall health coming into this game?
A: We’re pretty healthy little knicked up and banged up at this time of the year. Nothing that’s going to keep anyone from playing though.
Q: What does your team need to do to win on Tuesday?
A: We need to play our game, respect the opponent but we are not afraid of them.
Interview with Hayesville head Coach Michael Cottrell
Q: What are your expectations/goals in the playoffs
A: We are a unique team. We love to compete and want to measure ourselves against the best teams in the state. Teams that are traditionally strong in the playoffs, obviously every team wants to win state. But first you gotta beat some real good teams to do that and this is one of those teams.
Q: What do you know about your opponent Winston Salem Prep?
A: seen them on film and scouting reports, very athletic strong team team, play in one of the best conferences and typically win that conference. Also have won several state championships in the past ten years or so.
Q:If there was a key or keys to your playoff success what would they be?
A: Rebound to be competitive at the highest levels we are not real big but we compete.
Q: To beat Winston Salem Prep tomorrow night what does your team need to do?
A: rebounding obviously, generate some offense against their athleticism. Not sure if we will out rebound them but if we rebound with them it will give us a good chance. If they are out rebounding us 3 to 1 we won’t beat a team as good as them. We expect this game to be a war, a battle, it is a tough first round matchup with a good team. We anticipated tough games with not as many teams making the playoffs this year.
What to watch for
Hayesville will have to play to the level they are capable of to win this game. Hayesville should be the better shooting team in this game. Yet as usual Hayesville will be the undersized team in this game just as they have been many times this year. A big key to this game will be rebounding for the Yellow Jackets. As well Hayesville is the more fundamentally sound team, playing better team offense and defense. While Prep will have some athletes the likes of which Hayesville has yet to see this year.It will be a big advantage for Hayesville though getting to play at home, while Prep will have a 250 mile five hour drive on a bus.
Hayesville wins 70-58