Warriors preparing to slow McCleskey, Rams
Russell Christian Academy is one week away from a winner-take-all showdown with Calhoun Academy. That is as long as the Warriors can find a way to defeat host Kemper Academy tonight, a task easier said than done as long as Pete McCleskey is on the Rams' sidelines, according to RCA coach Nate Ballard.
“In my opinion they have one of the best head coaches in 8-Man,” Ballard said. “He’s been around the game for a long time and knows the little in and outs and the tricks and knows when to pull the punches. He’s great at doing that and catching us in awkward situations.
“He did that to us last year, calling those screens and counters and I really think that’s what gives Kemper the edge.”
McCleskey has led KA to a pair of 8-Man state championships in the six years since the MAIS added the classificiation. Now though, he is hoping to lead KA back to the playoffs after missing out a year ago.
Kemper, 5-3 overall, is 3-2 in 8-Man Division 1 and part of a three-team race for the final two playoff berths from the division with Marvell (Ark.) Academy, also 3-2, and Delta Academy, which is currently fifth at 2-3.
While Russell is 8-0 and 5-0 in the division, Ballard and the Warriors are wary about what they will face against the Rams on “The Hill” at 7 p.m.
“We’ve been working a bunch of different scenarios other than what we’ve seen on the films we’ve watched on them,” Ballard said. “Basically being ready for the unexpected I guess. That’s kind of been our motto or theme this week.”
— Jamie Wachter