HOUSTON – The Houston Hilltoppers are entering the playoffs a number one seed for the second consecutive year, and the girls as a second place seed, however, there is one notable difference this year, the weather.
Two winter storms hammered the south all of last week, leaving the area with upwards of two inches of ice and making travel a daunting task.
This presented another problem as well, the scheduling of the Mississippi High School Athletics Association (MHSAA) basketball playoffs.
With teams unable to travel, they were forced to reschedule the games to the following week (Feb. 22), for the teams who were scheduled to play last week, such as Houston.
While this doesn't seem like that big of a deal, there is one aspect that will definitely be a problem, practice, or lack thereof.
Houston played on Monday and Tuesday, which meant that they went into the games with no practice.
This was a concern of head coach Chris Pettit.
“Its kind of unknown right now,” he said. “That's the biggest part, we may wind up playing games without any practice. The thing about it is, everybody's in that same boat. Its not a good deal for either team, but you can't control the weather so there's nothing you can do about it, you have just got to be ready to go at any point.”
The Lady Toppers had several players injured in the district championship game, and so this offered a somewhat welcomed reprieve for these injured players to heal. Pettit said that he was almost certain that at least two of them would be back, so this was giving them extra time to mend before taking the court.
Pettit also said that he hoped that the players were doing what they could, although he admitted it wasn't much, to prepare at home.
“I don't know what you can do right now unless you're doing something in your house. Its not like you can get out and do your running. I'm hoping that they're doing some stuff on their own, because I know how important it is to do conditioning. When you get this much time off, looks like it could be a week, to play a game, it can hurt you, especially like the girls do a lot of trapping and the boys play full court the whole game. So, it may make it to where you have to dig into your bench a little bit before you want to early in the game just to give people a break here and there.”
The Lady Toppers will take on Amory on Monday, Feb. 22, and the Toppers will take on Belmont on Tuesday.