WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - The Stone Tomcats lat trip to the State Basketball Tournament in Jackson was 20-years ago. That's the year the the Tomcats captured the 1998 Class 5A State Championship.
Stone takes aim on the Golden Ball beginning 5:30 Friday evening in Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum, one of the final eight teams in the hunt for the Class 5A State title.
Todd Miller has coached his 2017-2018 Tomcats with an aggressive approach, taking advantage of his athletic players, using their skills to secure the Region 8-5A Tournament title.
Coach Miller said, "First and foremost I want to thank God. We've been blessed this year. He blessed us with some talent. Just a great group of kids, great administration to work with. These kids have put in the time since they were freshmen. The summer ball. Been here since August working."
The 24 and 5 Tomcats are ranked No. 60 in the state by Maxpreps and Stone is ready to duke-it-out with No. 7 ranked Callaway on Friday. How good are the 24 and 5 Chargers? Callaway handed Class 6A power Meridian its only loss.
"They've got two 6-foot-5, 280 pound guys who play real hard on the inside, "Miller said. "They've got two 6-foot-7 guys that can they can throw in on the wing. We've got our work cut us for us on the boards."
Enrique Whaley can do-it-all for the Tomcats. The cat quick play makers nets 9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 steals per game. He's ready.
Whaley said, "You can't be nervous. You can't be scared. It's just Callaway. The do the same thing we do. Practice and we've got to box out."
Dalon Breland is the Stone top-gun, drilling 10.9 points an outing. He attributes their success to head coach Todd Miller.
"He's done some changes and it helps us, "said Breland. "We practice, we get after it. We go at each other and he's been helping us for the big game."
When Stone needs a big basket...Parker Owen steps up and drains three point buckets.
Owen said, "Over the years I worked on it and it has become one of my better threats."
Anticipation is building for the 5A clash between Stone and Callaway.