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Basketball: Hounds to face Avinger again – Slidell wins bi-district crown

By Travis Lisle | Published Saturday, February 28, 2015
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There won’t be any love lost between Slidell and Avinger when the two teams meet for the Class A Region III area championship Saturday in Honey Grove.

Last season, Slidell (24-6) knocked Avinger out of the playoffs in overtime in the area round. They meet for the second straight year with a 4 p.m. tip.

The Slidell coaches and players don’t expect Avinger to forget that before this year’s game.

As for the Avinger team, Slidell coach Todd McCormick sees a big difference in the opponent’s size.

“They’re a little bit different than they were last year,” McCormick said. “Last year, they were more perimeter-oriented. They’ve got two 6’4″ players this year, so their size will play a bigger role in this game. Last season, they kind of had two shooters that we were able to stay with most of the time, but now the big guys add another element.”

The height difference may force the Slidell Greyhounds to run a lot of zone defense.

Still, McCormick wants to keep Avinger honest.

“We’re going to probably try to switch back and forth between zone and man defense,” he said. “The zone should help us keep those guys covered up pretty well, but we don’t want to just throw one look at them and give them an entire game to figure it out.”

McCormick also said that the mismatches can work both ways. He expects the quickness of his players to help create space against the taller, slower Avinger team.

Wednesday, it was clear who the better team was between Slidell and Waxahachie Faith Family.

The Greyhounds won the bi-district matchup 90-63 with 61 of Slidell’s points coming from Tyler Maynard and Khristian Talamantes.

Maynard finished the game with 40, while Talamantes had 21.

“I was super focused,” Maynard said. “I hadn’t been playing well lately, so I was focused on putting the other team out of the game.”

“It feels good to perform well in a significant game,” Talamantes added.

Slidell’s top two scorers say that the whole team will need to step up in the upcoming game.

“They’re going to want revenge,” Maynard said. “We need to push the tempo. Khristian and I are relied on to score but other guys have important roles. If we all do what we need to do we can win the game.”

The all-hands-on-deck mentality is nothing new for this group who understand that playoff runs consist of complete good teams.

“They’re a well-rounded team but that’s what the playoffs are about,” McCormick said. “Everybody is pretty good at this point.”

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