Sherwood boys basketball coach Mike Sons
ALBANY — Sherwood boys basketball coach Mike Sons admitted something Friday night.
“I’m not from around here, so I guess I didn’t realize how big (Tuesday’s game against Deerfield) is until I saw how excited the kids are getting about it,” Sons said after Friday’s 64-29 rout of GISA Region 3-AAA foe Southland, pushing the Eagles’ record to 8-3 overall and 2-0 in region play. “So Tuesday’s a big one, for sure.”
Sons, in just his second season, said being somewhat unaware of the years of bitterness between the two programs is actually an advantage in that it has helped him keep his kids focused on the task at hand: another region win.
“In my opinion, the kids are a little too excited about it, really,” said Sons of the 8 p.m. game Tuesday at their house on Pretoria Road. “It’s obviously a big game in their minds, but with me not being from around here, I’m doing my best to remind them that this is a big game for one reason: It’s a region game, and we’re unbeaten and they’re unbeaten — and that’s it. My whole mentality (as a coach during the course of any season) is to play good at home, steal a couple on the road and we’ll be in good shape.
“So if I can do my best to downplay (the rivalry) a little bit, which I’ve done, I think my goal of keeping their emotions in check can be achieved.”
Deerfield, which will also enter the game 2-0 in region play after Friday’s 3-AAA win at Calvary, has dominated the series almost since its inception, even ending Sherwood’s perfect season two years ago when it looked like the Knights were actually the underdog for a change.
“We’ll be ready,” Sons said. “That’s all I want my kids to be thinking about.”
On Friday, Sherwood was ready for Southland, jumping out to a big first-half lead and never looking back en route to its 35-point victory. Patrick Stanford led the Eagles in scoring with 18 points, followed by Rashard Davis (12 points) and Keion Steward (10).
Sons said Sherwood’s gameplan after scouting Southland was to take away Raiders sharpshooters Jake Hood and Chan Waller.
And the Eagles did just that, holding Hood to just five points and Waller to four.
“It feels good (to get off to this kind of start),” the coach said. “Now we just have to keep it going.”
SOUTHLAND GIRLS 55, SHERWOOD 40: Payton Couch scored 14 and Victoria Davidson added seven for the Lady Eagles, but it wasn’t enough to contain the Lady Raiders, who sent Sherwood it its 11th loss of the season.
“We’re getting better each game,” said Sons, who also coaches the girls. “We start all freshmen and sophomores and one junior, so it’s still a work in progress.”
Southland was led by Tiftan Pace with 15 points, while Alex Lindsey contributed 14 points.