After last year’s three-game series with Wesleyan in the state playoffs ended, Jefferson coach Tommy Knight had a regular season matchup for 2014 in the works before the Wolves even boarded their team buses.
“As we were walking off the field, I said we need to play next year,” said Knight, whose team lost that series to the Wolves 2-1 in the Sweet 16. “He (Wesleyan coach Brian Krehmeyer) said, ‘Let’s play. Call me as soon as you get your region schedule, and we’ll set it up.’”
Ten months later, the Dragons (7-3, 3-0) and Wolves are set to open a two-game series. Game one is Thursday (5:55 p.m.) at Jefferson. The second game is slated for next month (April 9) at Georgia Gwinnett College.
Both schools wanted to build tough non-region schedules and this series is a part of that process. Knight said Wesleyan, which returns several players from last year’s Elite Eight team, “is going to be top-notch.”
“They’ve got a good core group back from last year, and they were actually fairly young,” Knight said. “I’m thinking they’re going to be really strong.”
Wesleyan is off to a 3-5 start, winning its past three games after starting the year 0-5. Of course, the Wolves’ record is somewhat misleading as they have faced a number of larger classification schools in loading up their non-region schedule.
“You look at their record, and it doesn’t look really good, but they’ve played some tough, tough teams,” Knight said.
The Wesleyan game is part of a busy week for Jefferson, which has games on three consecutive days. Jefferson beat Riverside Military Academy 7-1 in Region 8-AA action Tuesday and was slated to face Commerce today at 5:55 p.m. The Tigers, who return six seniors this year, entered that game with a 3-1 record.
“I think they’re going to be very solid,” Knight said. of Commerce. “They’re very well-coached and they’ve got some seniors and some guys with a lot of experience … I am expecting them to be pretty strong.”
The trifecta of games this week will certainly test the Dragons’ resolve but also prepare them for the postseason, Knight said.
“In the playoffs you’re playing three games in two days, so you’ve got to get prepared to play a lot in a short amount of time … Hopefully, that’s again preparing us for on down the road once the postseason gets here,” Knight said.
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