T.C. Williams Coach Mike Hynson doesn't bother with pregame pep talks. Most Northern Virginia schools consider any athletic victory over the Titans a highlight of their season, and the Williams basketball players know it.
"It doesn't matter who we play, they come in here with fire in their eyes," Hynson said. "Everybody wants a piece of us. Everybody plays us hard, so we can't have any letdowns."
Hynson is sure his sixth-ranked Titans (8-1) will be ready tonight when they meet Robinson, the defending Northern Regional champion and state runner-up, in their Northern District opener at Williams at 8 o'clock.
Robinson is 5-3 after two losses in a Christmas tournament, but Hynson insists that won't matter tonight.
"It's the district games that count, and that's what Robinson will be thinking about," Hynson said.
Williams will be thinking about 6-foot-8 center Mike Tissaw, Robinson's leading scorer (23.7-point average) and rebounder. Robinson, loser of three of its last four games, has not received consistent play from anyone else.
James Holton, a 6-5 senior, will guard Tissaw. Should he goet into foul trouble against the aggressive Tissaw, Hynson can turn to 6-6 Arnie Russell, MVP in the Norfolk Catholic Invitational Holiday tournament the Titans wom.
Williams is not as quick as some past Titan teams, but guards Mark Jackson, Butch Haley and Chris Thompson do a better than average job of forcing turnovers with their man-to-man pressure defense.
The run-and-shoot Titans are averaging 79.8 points per game with four starters averaging double figures.
"We are going to press full court and run and shoot it," Hynson said. "We've got to keep Tissaw from getting the ball and hitting the offensive board."
In the top Interhigh game, Dunber (1-0 in the league and 6-4 overall) visits surprising Ballou (1-0 and 5-3) at 3:30 p.m.
The Knights upended Coolidge Tuesday, 68-56, and could make things miserable for the Crimson Tide, which is without chuckie Jackson. He broke a bone in his goot two weeks ago and his 20-point average will be missed.
Dunbar did get back Coach Joe Dean Davidson, who underwent heart surgery several months ago. He returned to the bench in Dunbar's 71-67 triumph over H. D. Woodson Tuesday.