Thursday, January 7, 2010

Preps: Home field an advantage for Plant boys

Predicting the way results were going to go in Class 6A-District 8 has been difficult all season. The competitiveness within the district leaves a side like Plant looking at anything from a No.1 seed to a No.4 seed for the district tournament depending on how results go in the final round of games on Friday.

“We’re all very close in caliber,” Plant coach Chris Carbon said. “It’s a really, really tight district. Wharton’s an excellent team, we’re all excellent teams in this district, so it’s really anyone's game any time we play. There’s no sure thing.”

As close to a sure a thing as there has been, though, is the Panthers on their home turf. The Panthers have won all three of their home district games so far this season, and will look to continue that against Alonso on Friday. With the Dad’s Field surface a particularly difficult one to play on, Carbon says understanding how to play on it is an important edge for his side.

“It’s not in the greatest condition,” Carbon said. “It’s very unique in the way the ball behaves and the fact of the matter is we’re very accustomed to it because we play on it, we practice on it, play on it, and I think other teams have trouble adapting to it.”

Carbon took over the Panthers program last season, but the work he and the side hasn’t paid off until this year. Carbon said that was due to he and the players getting used to each other, but he has been impressed with the way his side has matured, with an increased sense of responsibility and leadership running through the side. Now Carbon believes it is important for his side to earn the No.1 seed in their district, and earn a little respect as a result.

“Last year, we were referred to as a struggling program, an inexperienced team, a young team,” Carbon said. “A lot of the coaches around the area, it took a while for them to gain a degree of respect for us this year. I’d like to go into the tournament as a first seed, and I’d like to win the tournament as a first seed. That way, there’s nothing you can take away from it, you can’t say we made a comeback, it’s dominance from start to finish.”

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