It’s been a decade since the Red Terror boys have hosted a game in the GHSA state playoffs according to head coach Terrance Haywood.
Glynn Academy (9-19) will snap that streak today at 8 p.m. when it tips off against Stephenson (17-10) in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
It’s been a season of many emotions for the Terrors, who lost 10 of their first 13 games and before winning three of their last five to put themselves in position to open the postseason at home.
Glynn Academy beat Bradwell Institute twice in a week’s span to earn itself a spot in the Region 2-6A Tournament, where it knocked off top-seeded Brunswick High in the semifinals to guarantee itself a home playoff game — quite a turnaround for a program that missed the playoffs altogether just two years ago.
But despite playing host, Glynn will enter its first-round matchup as an underdog against a Stephenson program that finished as the third seed in the loaded Region 4-6A that also features No. 3 Tucker and No. 25 Lovejoy.
“They play in Region 4-6A with Tucker, Lovejoy, Morrow, and all those schools, so they play in a very competitive region,” said Terrors boys Haywood said. “We’re going to have to play well to pull out a win, I know that for sure.”
Allowing 53.7 points per game, Stephenson plays an aggressive style of defense that could make things difficult for Glynn Academy ball handlers that will need to protect the ball against the swarming unit.
The Terrors have had issues putting the ball in the basket at times this season, most recently in a 60-45 loss to Richmond Hill in the region title game, and they’ll receive another test today.
“Defensively, they play a lot of man-to-man, and it’s a very aggressive man-to-man,” Haywood said. “They do a lot of it full court, and even in the half court, they’re very aggressive in how they play you; just kind of up in you and harassing you the whole time, trying to never let you get settled in what you do.”
Offensively, the Jaguars have a dynamic trio of guards around 6-foot-5 big Jaylen Peterson to give them a diversified attack.
It’ll be crucial for Glynn Academy to play its own brand of aggressive defense to limit Stephenson’s scoring opportunities while creating some easy looks for itself on the other end when things aren’t falling in the half court.
“I’ve told the guys, if we would buy in to really playing defense and just lock in on that,” Haywood said. “I mean, we’re going to score points. I’ve never seen a team get shutout in basketball. So I tell the guys all the time, we’re going to score points, but some nights we’re going to score 65, some nights we’re going to score 50, some nights we’re going to score 45. Even on those nights were the shots are not falling, we’ve got to rely on the defensive end.
“So all week, we’ve been preaching and talking about defense and getting stops, just trying to hang our hats on stopping them versus of outscoring them. That’s our mentality going in.”
Although it will certainly be a monumental task for the Terrors to knock off the Jaguars and advance to the second round, they’re hoping the raucous environment of The Glass Palace will give them a decided edge.
“They’re excited to be hosting a playoff game,” Haywood said. “They know what’s at stake. We’re at that point in the season where everybody is 0-0, but also too, it’s win or go home.
“They understand what’s at stake, and they’re excited because they’ve got to come to The Glass Palace to see us. We’re hoping between the long ride and unfamiliar gym, we’re able to go in there, play well, and get a win.”