Chris Brandt

The Auburn High boys basketball team will try to notch one more win on its belt at home against Loachapoka on Friday before entering regional play next week. 

After losing three-straight in late November, the Tigers have won 11 of their last 13 games, including a 68-59 victory over rival Opelika on Monday. 

The Tigers established the tempo right away against Opelika, opening the game with a 17-3 run while handing the press from the Bulldogs. AHS coach Chris Brandt said the Tigers are really effective when they get more people involved. 

"It just was a good night of basketball for us," he said. "We just played really well as a team."

The Tigers' win over their rival came on the heels of a good showing at the LaGrange Toyota Basketball Classic over the holidays, where they picked up wins over Marietta and Riverdale before dropping a close, low-scoring game to Lovejoy by a score of 37-35. 

"We had a lot of kids that were sick during the break, and we had most of them back for the tournament," said Brandt. "But it made me have to play a lot of different people that might have not gotten playing time. And I think that helped us for preparing for Opelika."

Brandt attributed Auburn's loss in the tournament to being "really, really tired."

"Our offense wasn't there, but we played great defense," he said. "That's one thing we got from all three of those games over the break was our defense was really, really clicking and our offense was kind of on the down-low but that was just due to the inconsistency and being fatigued from being sick."

The Tigers will face Loachapoka for the second time of the season at home on Friday before beginning regional play against Smiths Station on Tuesday. The Tigers easily handled Loachapoka 62-33 in the first match-up on Dec. 10.

"They have a very veteran squad. They're a very good 1A team," said Brandt. "Anytime that Auburn and Loachapoka get together, it's another rivalry game being so close, and the kids know each other. 

"Loachapoka, to me, is just like another 7A school, and we're going to see where we are getting ready for area next week."

After hosting Loachapoka on Friday, the Tigers will make the short trek down the road to face region opponent Smiths Station, which has lost five straight and faces Central-Phenix City on Friday. 

"We just need to keep on playing like we did ... against Opelika and take it and try to put several games together and build some confidence and success so that when we go into Smiths Station, (where) we haven't really done well the last eight years, hopefully somehow be able to pull a win in there," he said. "But it's going to be extremely tough."


Editor's Note: The main photo has been replaced with one of Auburn High head coach Chris Brandt.

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