CRESTVIEW — A possible date with destiny awaits Crestview High School's girls basketball team this week as the Bulldogs head to the District 1-7A tournament seeking a trip to the state playoffs.
Crestview, the tournament's No. 2 seed, opens the tournament against No. 3 seed Niceville High School at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Fort Walton Beach High School in the tournament semifinals. The championship game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
A Bulldog win over the Eagles also would put Crestview in the state tournament.
And while many coaches use the playoffs as an incentive in a big game, Crestview Coach Kathy Combest isn't looking past Niceville.
"I don't even say anything about that (making the playoffs with a win)," she said. "I just play game to game. I know everybody wants you to (talk about the playoffs).
"I know it's out there, but I try not to let it hang around. I like to focus on that day. If you win then you go in there and say, 'This is what we are going to do tomorrow. We've got this game.'"
She went on to point out that media members want her to project beyond the next game, but her focus as to be on the here and now.
As for the present, the Bulldogs have been hitting on all cylinders in recent weeks. Crestview enters the tournament with a 17-7 record and had won 11 straight games before losing to Pensacola High in the last game of the regular season.
"They (the Bulldogs) are playing good," Combest said. "That's what you want to see from a good team. You don't to peek early.
"But in our case we didn't peek we just got it more together as a team. We learned to play together and all the aspects it takes to play on a varsity level with such young kids."
Niceville beat Crestview twice this year, but the Bulldogs won the last game and Combest hopes the win will favor her team
"You want to remember the last game you had and I hope that continues to play in their mind that there's not a doubt that they can't win," she said.
Combest likes the way the Bulldogs are playing defense and running the offense, but there are some things about the Eagles that concern her.
"Mainly just their height and trying to rebound (are concerns)," she said. "Everything else I feel good. It's just keeping them off the offensive boards and giving them just one shot."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.