How much would it mean to Gallatin County head coach Doug Miller to win a second straight Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament title?
"Anytime you can win a tournament it"s special," Miller said. "This year is going to be a lot different than last year.
2017 Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament Schedule
2017 Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament
hosted by Gallatin County
at Southeast Illinois College
GAME 1 — (4) Carrier Mills vs.
(5) Norris-City-Omaha-Enfield 6:30 p.m.
GAME 2 — (1) Gallatin County vs.
(8) Thompsonville 8 p.m.
GAME 3 — (3) Hardin County vs.
(6) Galatia 6:30 p.m.
GAME 4 — (2) Crab Orchard vs.
(7) Pope County 8 p.m.
GAME 5 — Game 3 loser vs.
Game 4 loser 6:30 p.m.
GAME 6 — Game 1 loser vs.
Game 2 loser 8 p.m.
GAME 7 — Game 5 loser vs.
Game 6 loser 5:30 p.m.
GAME 8 — Game 3 winner vs.
Game 4 winner 7 p.m.
GAME 9— Game 1 winner vs.
Game 2 winner 8:30 p.m.
GAME 10 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (consolation) 6 p.m.
GAME 11 — Game 8 loser vs.
Game 9 loser (3rd place) 7:30 p.m.
GAME 12 — Game 8 winner vs.
Game 9 winner (championship) 9 p.m.
A year ago, Gallatin County knocked off Crab Orchard 62-52 in overtime. It was the first title for Miller at Gallatin County. A year earlier, he and the Hawks won the consolation title and in his time at NCOE, Miller claimed four runner up finishes at the GEC Tournament.
"Last year, I don"t think anyone expected us to be there. This year, being the No. 1 seed, there is obviously more pressure, but we take everything one game at a time and just try to win every game we can."
Much like last year, where Gallatin County rode Seth Ramsey and his 35 points to the championship, Miller expects much of the same this year.
Ramsey is averaging 24.6 points per game for GCHS this season and sophomore Audie Goebel is putting up 15 points per game.
"It"s always a good advantage of having him on your team," Miller said of Ramsey, who was named to the Eldorado Holiday All-Tournament Team. "You know it gives you a chance to win and he makes his teammates play harder and play better. The younger kids are maturing by the game, a lot of that is because of Seth."
While Gallatin County comes in sporting a record of 13-5, the field is wide open in Miller"s opinion.
"I"ve said this since Day one, any GEC school can beat the other GEC school on any night. Our biggest weakness is our size, we have a hard time rebounding and a team like Crab Orchard, who is bigger than we are, will take it right to us. They score in bunches and a team like NCOE can as well. Carrier Mills-Stonefort is a solid team with Justice Hill and if you look at Thompsonville, who is the No. 8 seed, a year ago we beat them by one-point, twice an they have the same team they have from last year. Hardin County isn"t playing their best basketball and they are one of the most talented teams in this field. Four or five teams can win this tournament."
Miller and the No. 1 seeded Hawks will have their shot, starting Monday at SIC when the tournament officially kicks off with No. 4 seed Carrier Mills-Stonefort taking on No. 5 seed Norris City-Omaha-Enfield at 6:30 p.m. What follows is Gallatin County and No. 8 Thompsonville at 8 p.m.
Action continues on Tuesday with No. 3 seed Hardin County and No. 6 Galatia at 6:30 p.m., followed by No. 2 Crab Orchard and No. 7 Pope County at 8 p.m.
The tournament runs through the rest of the week and concludes with the championship game on Saturday at 9 p.m.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Daily Register and Eldorado Daily Journal. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.