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Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Tallassee’s Jy McKinnon (24) drives past Elmore County’s Tameria Benson.

Tallassee wasted no time to get back to action on the basketball court after the holiday break. The Tigers began play in Class 5A Area 4 on Tuesday night when they hosted Valley as both teams have expectations of making some noise in the postseason.

The girls team has not had the season it hoped for so far this year and things did not look any better over the break. After losing their first-round game in the county tournament, the Tigers were faced with a new obstacle as two players left the team for undisclosed reasons but coach Harold Harris is staying positive.

“We’re down to eight girls now which is not necessarily a bad thing for us,” Harris said. “Everyone is going to get playing time and they are all working hard. I’m still looking for great things from these girls.”

Tallassee (1-12) entered area play on a nine-game losing streak. Harris said he believes the Tigers learned a lot through the difficult times and he expects them to use it in the crucial games.

“The attitude is still great around here,” Harris said. “They’re ready for it. There has been no shift in momentum or anything like that but they just know they have to work harder.”

The Tigers played their best basketball in area play last season and they won’t have to deal with one of the best teams in the state as Brewbaker Tech appears to be on a down year. Harris said he still expects to win every area game and he knows the Tigers can compete with anyone.

The boys team will not be so lucky with Brew Tech as the Rams are still the favorites to win the area again. The Tigers split with Brew Tech before falling to the Rams in the area championship last season. The two will meet for the first time Thursday in Tallassee and that’s the only one the Tigers are focused on right now.

“It may be cliché but we stick with playing one game at a time,” Tallassee coach Keiven Mixson said. “Looking ahead is not going to do us any good and it can be overwhelming trying to look ahead. You could lose focus so we’re sticking with that saying of one game at a time.”

Returning for the Rams is guard Evan Carter who made himself an enemy of the Tigers last season. Carter averaged 25.3 points per game against Tallassee, including 27 points in each win. He’s scoring just 12.5 ppg this season but Mixson knows he is capable of a big game on any given night.

“I don’t really know if there is a plan to stop him,” Mixson said. “He’s one of the best guards in the state. We are focused on Valley first but we’re going to prepare something for him and hopefully we can slow him down.”

The boys team (15-3) did not take as much time off over the break as it competed in the annual Dwight Madison tournament in Montgomery. Mixson said he thinks playing in two tournaments the last two weeks will help be prepared for the bulk of area play.

While all eyes will be on the matchups between Tallassee and Brew Tech, Valley and Beauregard will not back down easily. Both schools entered area play with winning records and Mixson knows the Tigers will get a test from both.

“We know this is a tough area,” Mixson said. “There are no freebies. Brew Tech does stick out but you can’t sleep on Beauregard and Valley. Every night will be a dog fight. If we can make it through this area though, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.