By Mickey Winfield Freedom newspapers
Don’t expect the Elida Tigers to continue to bask in the glow of their history-making EPAC championship, not with the district schedule around the corner.
In fact, moments after the Elida boys won their first EPAC title on Saturday at Texico, the eye of the tiger shifted from the shine of their tournament trophy to the looming threat of their upcoming schedule.
“We’re looking at Dora in two weeks,” Elida boys head coach Darrell Chenault said. “Dora is playing phenomenal right now. They just barely got beat by Texico in overtime, and they’re the No. 1 thing on our minds right now.”
But Chenault also concedes that his Tigers’ EPAC championship was something special.
“It’s huge for our confidence, it’s huge for our community’s confidence,” Chenault said. “We’re going to have more fans in the stands and it’s really got people wanting to come out and watch us.
“And then the girls winning it, too, it’s got this little town a-buzzing.”
Currently sitting at 10-4, Dora coach Ty Thatcher looks forward to the match-up as well.
“(Elida’s) playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Thatcher said. “I think our matchups are pretty good with them, as far as talent-on-talent. It’s going to come down probably to execution, I think.”
The Elida boys (14-2) defeated Texico in the EPAC championship Saturday 58-50. That win, combined with the Elida girls (13-3) winning their bracket as well, provided plenty of Tiger pride.
“We played Texico close up there, we got beat by 3 (points) against them earlier,” Chenault said. “We knew we had a tough game coming up against San Jon, and (Texico) had a tough game against Dora. We were looking forward to it, we were nervous about it. We wanted it to happen.”
He said the double title was special.
“It was awesome,” Chenault said. “Our girls, they have been there and done that, even this particular group may not have, our girls have won it in the past and always been there. They were very supportive of our boys, they cheered for us and they were right down there on the floor when we did win it. It was pretty special, we got to take pictures with both girls and boys. It was a special night.”
The Elida boys and girls travel to House on Thursday before opening District 3-1A action at home against Dora next Tuesday.