Tiggs' team visits RHS Saturday
In 1982 Luther Tiggs helped lead the Russellville varsity boys basketball team to the Class 3A state championship.
Tiggs is now a coach at Sparkman and will bring his squad to play the Golden Tigers Saturday and try to give Russellville its first regular-season loss since the spring of 2007.
"I am always looking for good competition, but we may have bitten off more than we can chew," Tiggs said.
Tiggs said he was able to watch the Golden Tigers during the Final 4 last season and spoke with Russellville coach Michael Smith at that time. The two coaches decided a meeting between their teams would be good for both squads.
This will be the first time Tiggs has faced Russellville during his coaching career and said he will cherish the opportunity for several different reasons.
During his playing days with the Golden Tigers, Tiggs said there was one memory that stood out above everything else – the support of the community.
"I remember how enthusiastic the community was about all sports, there was a level of expectation to win," Tiggs said. "It wasn't about the individual, it was about the name on the front of the jersey. It was about representing Russellville."
Tiggs will be coaching against that expectation – which has grown following last year's 32-1 record – and acknowledges his squad is facing a tough opponent.
"(Terence) Smith and (Jermaine) Bates are two of the finest players in the state," Tiggs said. "And Russellville is one of the best teams regardless of classification."
Sparkman is 5-5 overall, but four of those losses are by a combined total of 16 points.
Tiggs said the Senators style of play and Russellville's style of play are very similar. Both squads play fast-paced ball, shoot 3-pointers and press on defense.
Tiggs is hoping this game will be a learning experience for his young team.
"Games like this prepare you for February," Tiggs said.