New coaches prepare for the tip-off at Darton State - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New coaches prepare for the tip-off at Darton State

The packed gym for the 2015 tip-off (Source: WALB) The packed gym for the 2015 tip-off (Source: WALB)
Rufus McDuffie (Source: WALB) Rufus McDuffie (Source: WALB)
Keith Hayes (Source: WALB) Keith Hayes (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The tip-off at Darton State College is one of the biggest stages many of the city players will take this season.

And for Monroe and Dougherty, they'll be doing it under new management.

This Saturday Westover, Albany, Monroe and Dougherty will tip off the season in front of packed crowds.

On the boys side, Keith Hayes is taking over in his first year as head coach for Monroe.

As the former lady Tornadoes assistant, Hayes is no stranger to the environment.

"It's exciting," said Hayes. "When I was the girls coach we'd go in there, crowds roaring, and we'd just go in there, play hard and have a good time."

Dougherty is also ushering in a new regime with coach Rufus McDuffie.

Both new leaders are using this last week of practice not just to continue implementing their systems, but to prepare for their players for the atmosphere.

"They're trying to understand how I want them to play--what I want them to do," said McDuffie. "So they've got some learning to do. We're getting better each day but we're not almost there yet."

The varsity games tip off at Darton State Saturday afternoon staring with the Albany and Monroe girls at 4 pm. 

Games continue through the evening. For a full schedule, visit the Dougherty County Schools System athletics page.

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