The 2012-2013 Bartow High School Yellow Jackets boys basketball team has been nearly unstoppable.
They entered their matchup Tuesday night against the Lakeland Dreadnaughts with a record of 17-2, 7-1 in district. This was the the sixth district contest in a row.
This team has been extremely hard to cover, fun to watch and they make jaw dropping plays at time. A mix of a high octane offense and stifling defense has led to writers block because they just haven’t been in that many close games.
This game would be no different as Bartow jumped all over Lakeland with a 22-8 score after one quarter. The Jackets were up by 20 at halftime, 36-16.
As has been the case most of the year, the only thing in doubt was how many points BHS would score. As the final horn sounded, the board read 72-40. Another commanding win by Bartow and a reminder to yet another district foe of who rules Class 7A-District 7. It put the Yellow Jackets record at 18-2, 8-1.
In talking with Bartow Head Coach Terrence McGriff, you get the standard responses or coach speak.
When asked about his team’s current nine-game winning streak and how his team keeps it going, McGriff said, “Well, we have won one game in a row nine consecutive times. You keep things going in sports by not focusing on anything but what is right in front of you.”
The Jackets have beat district opponents by an average of 30.4 points a game this season. McGriff doesn’t care about margin of the wins. Rather he calls on the lessons learned in the past. It seems he thinks there is zero chance of his team getting over confident when the district tournament rolls around.
“Haines City beat us this year. That will keep us from being over confident. Ridge Community beat us twice last year and put us out of the district tournament. That will keep us from being too confident. Lakeland put us out of the district tournament two years ago (when these seniors were sophomores) after we beat them twice during regular season, that is what keeps us in check. The tournament is at George Jenkins as they are the host school. They play better at home. That will keep us from being over confident,” McGriff stated.
McGriff did shed a little light on the accomplishment of being the number 1 seed for the district tournament.
“It means a lot. It means you’ve been the best team in the regular season. You’ve been the most consistent team over the course of the year,” said McGriff.
“Also, we get a bye in the district quarters to the district semi-finals. We win one game and we are in the playoffs,” McGriff concluded.
This coach and coaching staff have hundreds of wins under their collective belts. This team has as much talent as any team in the state. This program has four state titles, three state runner-ups, nine regional titles and 23 district championships.
So, what does all of this mean as the regular season begins to wind down? Zilch! However, if they keep up their level of play and keep it simple, yet another state championship banner may be hanging at the end of the season.
The Jackets will close the regular season Monday night against Mulberry at the Hive. Then BHS will host the Mosaic Stinger Shootout Feb. 1-2.
The District Tournament will be Feb. 5-8 at George Jenkins High School.