Last year the Decatur Eagles advanced to the area round of the playoffs. With a lot of familiar faces back, the Eagles look to have similar success as they embark on the new District 9-3A.Decatur (14-8) and Bridgeport (13-10) will begin their push to the postseason Friday at Bridgeport. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
The rival schools will begin the district schedule against each other for the first time in two years.
“It will be interesting,” new Decatur coach Drew Coffman said about his first meeting with the Bulls. “It’s always going to be tough whether it’s the first game or the last game. It will be a challenge.”
The Bulls will be looking to take advantage of an early district schedule that has them playing three of their first four league games at home.
“It’s not a good or a bad thing,” Bridgeport coach Brian Miller said about starting with Decatur. “You should always get up for the first district game no matter who you are playing.”
If Bridgeport can take advantage of the home-court, it will put them in great position for one of the three playoff positions.
Decatur will get an early district bye after the Bridgeport contest Friday, followed by two home games.
With a loaded pre-district schedule and coming off a win against Iowa Park, Coffman feels his team is ready.
“Our non-district schedule was pretty tough with some 4A and 5A schools,” Coffman said. “We played up quite a bit so hopefully it will pay off. We took some lumps, but hopefully it will pay off down the road.”
Decatur does not have a big-time scorer and have relied on their defense to create most of their offense this season. Half-court execution on offense is still a concern for Coffman.
“We still have problems and have had to find different ways to score,” Coffman said. “Our best offense is our defense. We still have be able to execute in the half-court, and that is still a concern.”
Bridgeport has won of two of their last three games and have three more victories than they had at this point last season. They will try to ride that momentum into league play.
“We’ve been playing better as the year has went along,” Miller said.
Although only five teams make up District 9-3A that doesn’t mean anything will be any easier. Decatur and Bridgeport will have to battle Gainesville, Krum and Sanger for a playoff spot.
“Any night in this district anybody can beat anybody,” Miller said. “Each team does different things well.”
Coffman added that with only five teams, each game is so important.
“We are all so close together,” Coffman said. “With fewer teams, it helps your chances, but it puts so much value on each game. There is not a lot of time to make up a loss.”