Brown is all about place

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By Bill Kiser

Kannapolis Citizen

A.L. Brown boys basketball coach Shelwyn Klutz normally doesn’t place any more importance on one game from another.

But Klutz has a different outlook as the Wonders enter their final regular-season game with a lot — their seeding for both the conference tournament and state 3A playoffs — on the line.

Brown has just one game on its schedule this week, hosting Piedmont in its South Piedmont Conference finale on Friday night at Bullock Gymnasium.

The Wonders’ boys (15-7, 8-3) enter the final week of the regular season in third place in the SPC standings, behind league-leading Concord (9-1) and Porter Ridge (9-2).

A win over Piedmont — the SPC’s last-place team at 1-9 (7-14) overall — and a loss by Porter Ridge on Tuesday at Anson County would leave A.L. Brown in a two-way tie for second place in the league standings.

And should by chance Concord lost its final two games — at Sun Valley on Tuesday and at home against Anson on Friday — the Wonders could find themselves in a three-way tie atop the SPC.

While Brown’s chances of coming out on top in that tiebreaker are nearly non-existent — the Wonders lost to the Spiders twice this season, including an 80-54 defeat on Jan. 30 — it has at least clinched the No. 3 seed for next week’s SPC tournament and the first round of the playoffs.

“We talked about that very thing (Monday),” said Klutz, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 75-74 victory over Parkwood on Feb. 2.

“We’re going a week without playing, so we’re trying to stay focused in practice and let them know that this is a big game, so we can get a good seed both for the conference tournament and the state playoffs.

“The guys understand that we can’t take anybody for granted right now.”

Still, Klutz hopes that things work out where A.L. Brown can get one of the conference’s first-round home games in the state playoffs. Those go to the regular-season champion and either the league’s No. 2 team or tournament champion (if the winner is a lower-seeded team).

“That would be nice,” Klutz said. “That was one of our goals this season, trying to finish among the top two seeds so we’d get that home game. If everything shakes out there’s still a chance we can do that, but everything has to fall into place.”

On the other hand, the playoff chances for the Wonders’ girls (7-15, 3-8) are slipping further and further away as Brown suffered through a three-game losing streak.

The Wonders lost two of the SPC’s top teams last week, falling to second place Concord 73-54 on Jan. 30 and to third place Parkwood 44-33 on Feb. 2.

And Brown’s chances don’t get any better this week — Piedmont (19-2, 10-0) leads the South Piedmont standings, and has not lost a league game this season.

The Wonders are currently in sixth place in the SPC standings, and will almost certainly earn the No. 6 seed for their first-round game in next week’s conference tournament.

In that game, Brown will likely play Parkwood in Monroe.