CATLIN — With six seniors listed on the roster, the Salt Fork Storm enter the 2014 postseason with high expectations. After all, they returned everyone from last year’s regional championship team.
But despite a squad filled with experience, they realize nothing is guaranteed.
Their predecessors found that out all-too easily when, with a strong core returning from the 2010 Class 1A state championship team, the Storm failed to make it out of their own regional in 2011.
Salt Fork is once again hosting a Class 1A regional in Catlin, and they don’t want to witness a similar outcome. They took the first step toward potentially repeating as back-to-back regional champs on Tuesday with a 57-40 win over the Armstrong-Potomac Trojans.
Salt Fork will face No. 2 seed Cissna Park in tonight’s second regional semifinal game scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
“Armstrong has been giving a lot of teams fits, so we knew we had to take them as seriously as possible,” Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said. “I emphasized to them that it’s a one-game process. You’ve got to take care of business on the first one, and then move on to the next one.
“We’ve got a tough game tomorrow night with Cissna Park, but I was glad to see that we came out and established early. Definitely our defense in the first half, holding them to six points, allowed us to grow a lead, so that was good.”
The Trojans managed only three baskets in the first half, and the Storm held a 19-6 advantage at the break. But, Salt Fork found out firsthand why Johnson stressed to his team the importance of staying singularly focused and not looking too far into the future.
Though the Storm’s lead was never in jeopardy, Armstrong-Potomac lit up the scoreboard for 34 points in the second half including 23 in the final eight minutes.