Playoff basketball an exciting time

SPORTSBEAT
Greg Ceilley • REVIEW SPORTS EDITOR

I’ve covered high school basketball for over 35 years and have had the great opportunity to witness many memorable games and moments during that time.

I love this time of year in prep hoops because of the playoffs. The postseason means teams playing their hearts out to try to “survive” and move on.

Often times, how well a team deals with the pressure of the playoffs can be critical to the outcome. The underdog can play loose because its not expected to win and a high seed may be tight because it’s the favorite to advance and might be trying too hard to avoid an upset.

It’s amazing to see how the level of play and intensity go up often during playoff games. There is certainly a sense of urgency.

To make a deep run in the playoffs you have to really value the basketball and defend well because you’ll be facing good teams who can capitalize well on your mistakes.

The fans, especially the students, catch playoff fever and come out in droves to cheer their teams on with all the energy they can muster.

Tim Schultz, the Plymouth head boys basketball coach, offered his thoughts on the playoffs and what is crucial for his team to have success. PHS will host Grafton Friday at 7 p.m. in a Division 2 regional semifinal.

“Much like other teams this time of the year, I think the guys are looking forward to playing in the tournament. Grafton will present some challenges for us. They have some size inside, which we lack, are experienced and play in a very competitive and talented [North Shore] conference,” said Schultz.

“Creating turnovers and limiting our turnovers will be very important. Turnovers are key in every game, however in the playoffs each game turnovers become more and more important as you advance because the teams you are playing become increasingly talented and will make you pay for each mistake you make.”

Schultz doesn’t worry about the “finality” that goes with the playoffs – you lose, you go home.

“I never worry about the ‘finality’ of the playoffs. I tend to look more towards the excitement of March Madness,” said Schultz.

“I’ve heard people refer to this time of the year as being something which makes them nervous. To me being nervous means you are unprepared for something. I’m more anxious than anything when it comes to the playoffs.

“I know the guys are prepared to play and I’m anxious for the games to begin. Each game is a season within a season,” he said.

The playoffs are a whole new season – a fresh start for everyone which gives teams who may have underachieved during the regular season a chance to right the ship and finish on an upbeat note.

The Panthers are looking to continue their recent good play in the postseason. When PHS plays well consistently, it can give opponents trouble.

“Over the past month, I feel like we have played some of our best all-around basketball. I don’t feel like we’ve been able to put together a complete game so far this year but we have played very well at times,” said the coach.

“We are playing best when we limit our turnovers, make solid choices in our offense and communicate well on the defensive end.”

Playoff basketball is the perfect stage for teams to play their best and try to move on.


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