The LaGrange Grangers, in fact, have won them all.
Through eight games, the Grangers (8-0) have yet to meet their match, and they’ll try to keep their perfect season going when they begin play in the LaGrange Toyota Basketball Classic today.
The Grangers open their tournament stay against Valley (5-8) at 7:30 p.m. today in the fourth and final game of the day.
The tournament continues Friday and wraps up Saturday.
There will be four games each day, leading up to the championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
LaGrange is one of eight teams that will be vying for the tournament championship.
The Grangers appear to have a great chance to win the tournament for the second straight season.
They’re a veteran team, with 10 seniors leading the way, and there’s plenty of talent to go along with that experience.
The Grangers have the perimeter game with guys like Justyn Olson and Rudra Kissun, and they’re strong inside as well with 6-foot-6 Joe Sanders leading the way.
The Grangers have a guy who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work in Drew Moody, and they have an explosive player in Kwame Brown who can throw down a dunk on the fast break or step back and pop a 3-pointer.
Most importantly, according to head coach Mike Pauley, this is a group of players who like each other and feed off of each other’s success and play well together.
“We’re not talented enough just to kill people. We have people who can play, but our physical presence is not that much better than anyone else’s,” Pauley said. “But we have kids who are skilled. We have kids who understand the game, who are seniors. We have those kinds of things going for us. So it’s not shocking to me (that we’re 8-0).”
This team, much like the 2009-2010 team that went 31-1 and played for a state championship, has shown a knack for winning close games.
Half of the Grangers’ eight wins have been decided by eight or fewer points.
“A few years ago, when we had that 31-1 team, those guys won a bunch of close games. They had a bunch of really tight games,” Pauley said. “There were times during the season when we almost got beat.”
As for this team, Pauley said. “this group of kids can play. You get guys like that, you can do something.”
LaGrange appears to have the upper hand in today’s game.
Valley has struggled a bit and brings a 5-8 record into the tournament.
The Rams have lost a bunch of close games, though, and Pauley said no one is looking beyond today’s game, although he and assistant coach Mark Veal will scout the game between Russell County and W.D. Mohammed.
If LaGrange wins today, it would play the winner of the Russell County and W.D. Mohammed game.
“I know this is a coach’s cliché, but Mark and I have not even talked about (Friday’s game),” Pauley said. “We’ve only talked about Valley. We’ll play Valley, and we’ll scout that game (today) before we play, and hopefully get a sense of who we might play.”
Chances are, if LaGrange wins, it would end up playing W.D. Mohammed, which is 10-0 and has outscored its opponents by an average of 18 points per game.
“We know they’re really good,” Pauley said.
The action gets under way at 3 p.m. today with Opelika and Rockdale County playing.
Northgate and Hillgrove play at 4:30 p.m., Russell County and W.D. Mohammed meet at 6 p.m., and LaGrange and Valley square off at 7:30 p.m. in the nightcap.
The game times will be the same on Friday and Saturday.
3 p.m. - Opelika vs. Rockdale County
4:30 p.m. - Northgate vs. Hillgrove
6 p.m. - Russell County vs. W.D. Mohammed
7:30 p.m. - LaGrange vs. Callaway
3 p.m. - Opelika/Rockdale loser vs. Northgate/Hillgrove loser
4:30 p.m. - Russell County/W.D. Mohammed loser vs. LaGrange/Valley loser
6 p.m. - Opelika/Rockdale winner vs. Northgate/Hillgrove winner
7:30 p.m. - Russell County/W.D. Mohammed winner vs. LaGrange/Valley winner
3 p.m. - seventh-place game
4:30 p.m. - fifth-place game
6 p.m. - third-place game
7:30 p.m. - championship game