By Derrick Mahone
Last week during the snow storm that canceled school for an entire week, Mundy's Mill coach Julius Omotayo sent out a text message to his basketball team to try to get to a local gym to play.
He received a text back from one of his players that said, "LOL. We got you coach."
Omotayo believes his players went to the gym to play pickup games, but wasn't convinced that they did any windsprints or other running.
"Players tend to share the same passion of basketball as the coaches," Omotayo said. "I know they didn't do much running. It will be interesting when we start back playing games."
Mundy's Mill will host North Clayton tonight in a key Region 4-AAAA contest. Neither team has played in the last 10 days because of the snow storm that postponed several games in the metro area last week.
In the earlier matchup between the two schools, North Clayton won at home 60-51 to ruin the coaching debut of Omotayo, who took over for Lonnie Farmer at the beginning of the school year.
Farmer moved into an administration position.
Omtoaya believes his team has grown since that season-opening loss.
The Lady Tigers rolled off eight straight wins since that opening loss, but has suffered losses to No. 10 Forest Park and Sandy Creek before the long unexpected break.
"We ran into a little road block in our last two games," Omotayo said.
"We have learned that we are good enough to win against some teams, but we have to step it up when we play against some of the top teams. We are trying to grasp that concept. We understand that we have to bring it to a higher level."
North Clayton opened the season with seven straight wins and got a ranking in the PrepCountry.com/GACA Coaches' poll before a 75-41 loss to Hillgrove in the Lake City Holiday Classic at Allatoona High over the Christmas break. Since that loss, the team had won three straight games, before a one-point loss to Drew on Jan. 8.
That was the last game the Eagles played before the snow storm.
Eagles coach Shaka Owens is looking for a better effort from his team than the one he got against second-year Drew.
In that game, the team blew a 18-2 lead and was called for 27 fouls, with four players fouling out. Drew shot an impressive 43 free throws while North Clayton made it to the foul line only 10 times.
"That was a very disappointing loss," said Owens, who is in his first year at North Clayton. "We lost it in the last 15 seconds of the game. I really don't know what to expect since we have been out for a while. I'm hoping that my team is more focused and hungry to play."