The first of two Coffee High basketball teams headed up to Atlanta for the Elite Eight round of the state playoffs Monday afternoon. For the first time in school history, both the men’s and women’s Trojan basketball teams are in the Elite Eight and both have a similar path before them. And that path leads straight up I-75 and into the metro area.
Tuesday night, the Lady Trojans play Northview out of Johns Creek. They departed Monday afternoon and will have all day Tuesday to prepare for the game. Head coach Tasha Kimble is in her first year with the Coffee program and has immediately turned around a program that won just a handful of games last year. The Lady Trojans ended the season on a 10-game winning stream and came oh-so-close to defeating Valdosta for the region championship.
Coach Kimble, who won a state title last year at Turner County, inherited a team with a tremendous amount of talent but one that also lacked confidence. In less than a season, she brought the team together and inspired them to play with both a purpose and sense of urgency. The Lady Trojans responded well to Kimble’s up-tempo style of play and translated that into post-season success. After finishing the region tournament as the two seed, Coffee defeated Brunswick in round one then perennial title contender Stephenson in round two.
And that set up the Elite Eight contest with Northview. The girls may not have much postseason experience themselves but Coach Kimble certainly does. She has taken teams all the way to the state finals twice; she won once and lost once. The Lady Trojans certainly believe in her and her system. And while getting to the round of eight is an accomplishment in and of itself, there’s no reason to accept that as simply good enough. After Tuesday night, there are still two more games to win. Somebody has to win them, and it may as well be Coffee.
Tuesday night’s game can be heard locally on 97.9 WDMG. Tuesday afternoon at 6 p.m., the men’s team will depart from Coffee High School for their showdown Wednesday with defending state champion Langston Hughes in Fairburn.