Class 1A Private blog: Galloway boys building pedigree

Tougher non-region schedule has Scots poised to take next step

Galloway Scots coach Andrew Tulowitzky knows his team has the pieces to compete with anyone in the state, so this season he challenged them in a new way. For the first time, the Scots were going to use their non-region schedule to play a variety of top-tier opponents.

“Going in, we knew six of our top seven were seniors,” said Tulowitzky, who is also Galloway’s athletic director. “When we play well, we can play with anyone despite our deficiencies. I wanted a tougher, more challenging schedule so we could see every type of style in the state. We’ve played teams with size, strength, athleticism, and length. I wanted to play teams that challenged us in certain areas.”

The No. 2 Scots (10-6) are 2-4 against ranked opponents in non-region play, with one remaining against 2A’s No. 2 Pace Academy. They beat 3A’s No. 6 GAC and 4A’s No. 8 Miller Grove, and lost to 3A’s No. 1 Sandy Creek, 4A’s No. 7 Marist, and 6A’s No. 2 Shiloh and No. 3 Osborne.

While their overall record is less impressive at this point than in season’s past, the tougher level of competition has served the Scots well. Their loss to Sandy Creek came in triple-overtime and without their top two centers for most of the game. On Monday, the Scots narrowly fell to undefeated Osborne, 66-64.

“Maybe we could have scheduled tough like that in the past but I didn’t feel like we were ready,” Tulowitzky said. “The guys continue to open my eyes, and they want that environment. We’re not chasing win-loss records or results with our non-region schedule. We just want to be on the best stage, playing against the best teams to see how we do and hope that it prepares us for the playoffs.”

The Scots’ top six in minutes plays are all upperclassmen, with five seniors and junior Amir Arrington. His older brother, Anthony Arrington, leads the team with averages of 26.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 steals. Quintin Alterman (13.1 points, 6.1 assists, 1.4 steals) and sharpshooter Bradley Banner (10.4 points) are also major contributors.

In their remaining seven games — six of which are against 5-1A Private opponents — Tulowitzky would like to see the Scots improve in areas that accounted for early-season losses to elite opponents, including late-game turnovers, scoreless possessions in crucial moments and ineffective defense down the stretch.

The Scots play their first region game of the season Friday against Atlanta International (8-9, 0-0). While winning 5-1A Private is top priority, Tulowitzky said another objective is preserving health for the postseason.

No. 7 Mount Vernon (9-6, 0-0) is expected to be a primary challenger to the Scots for 5-1A Private.

“Mount Vernon is a really good team but people might not realize it because they’ve been missing players to injury and Covid,” Tulowitzky said. “I think they’ve only played about 3-4 games fully healthy.”

The Scots, who started playing basketball in the 1970s, have never been further than the quarterfinals and they’ve only been there twice — in each of the last two seasons. Tulowitzky, who has coached the Scots since 2015, is attempting to build the program’s pedigree to the heights of the elite opponents they will have played this season, like Pace Academy and Miller Grove who, between them, have 10 state titles since 2009.

Tulowitzky believes the Scots are now ready to add a major piece to their legacy — perhaps a state title — if they can learn from the lessons the season has taught them thus far.

“Our margin for error is razor thin and our guys know that,” he said. “We’re very realistic about where we are. On paper, we’re not the best in the state but I believe in the guys and if we play to our capabilities, we can get to the final four. From there, you never know what can happen.”

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