Live Oak —
On Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. the Suwannee High School varsity boys’ basketball team will face district rival Rickards High School for a chance to claim first place in Class 5A District 2.
After a long nine-game road stretch, the ‘Dogs return to Live Oak to play six of their last eight season games at home. The ‘Dogs are asking for heavy fan support at this game and will be offering a few incentives.
So far this season, both Suwannee and Rickards defeated Wakulla County by fairly large margins. However, in a comeback thriller the ‘Dogs only lost to Rickards by one point (54-55) on the road in Tallahassee a few weeks ago. The ‘Dogs have to defeat Rickards by two points or more to take first place in the district.
The matchup is a good one; with Suwannee’s Jimmie Taylor III leading the district in PPG (23.7), assists/game (5.2), and free throw percentage (76 percent). Center Kevarrius Hayes leads the district in rebounds/game (17.7) and blocks/game (4.5). Peripheral shooters Deangelo Ross and Raymond Gardner have had glimpses of greatness and junior forward Frank “The Tank” Smith is still a solid inside defender who will not be run over. The younger players including Denzel Washington and Aaron McAllister have been steadily improving as well in defense, rebounding and shot execution.
However, the ‘Dogs have struggled with consistency—especially in the areas of three-point execution, free throws and ball handling under pressure. The team has five weeks to bring it all together before the district tournament which will be held at SHS beginning Feb. 8.
Fans of all ages won’t want to miss this game. All fans are being asked to wear green or white if possible and the first 100 fans to come through the gate will receive a free Suwannee Bulldog water bottle. The new SHS basketball program will also be on sale. Finally, there will be two competitions including “Best Fan Sign” and “Best Dressed Fan.” There will be a sponsored $75 winner and a $50 runner-up chosen for each competition. The “Best Dressed Fan” will be the fan (or group of fans) who dress to show the most school spirit. The “Best Fan Sign” can be any shape or size but must have the phrase “Beat the Raiders” somewhere on the sign. Fans are also advised to be courteous and not to permanently block the view of other fans. The contest winners will be announced at the end of the game; fans must be present to win. Go ‘Dogs!