Portageville to be physically prepared to battle tough Cooter

Portageville's Thomas Frakes (22) looks for an open teammate during a recent game at Malden.
Dennis Marshall ~ Standard-Democrat

The Portageville High School boy’s basketball squad got itself back on the right track with its eight-point road win at Hayti on Tuesday. The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Bulldogs (10-9), who face as difficult test as any this season in tonight’s road battle at Class 2 No. 10-ranked Cooter (17-1) at 6 p.m.

One thing that will be assured for the Portageville athletes, is that they will be physically ready to compete.

“For us,” Bulldog strength coach Ian Penrod said recently of the Portageville athletes, in general, “we’ve always kept it that it is not so much about the intensity, as it is the consistency.”

Penrod, who serves as the Portageville football coach, also oversees the weightlifting classes for the school throughout the day.

His classes hold over 100 students, many of which are Bulldog athletes, and he said that the Portageville kids follow a similar philosophy in the weight room, regardless of their sport.

“It is about always being (in the weight room),” Penrod said, “and always getting your reps in.”

That philosophy carries over to game days.

Penrod speaks frequently with the Bulldog coaches, who like their athletes, want their players to train every day.

“On game days,” Penrod explained, “we’ll cut our volume in half, but everybody still lifts on game days.”

This past football season, Penrod guided his team to the MSHSAA Class 1 quarterfinal after winning the program’s first District title in two decades, and his team “lifted all the way up to the (quarterfinal) Duchesne game,” according to the coach.

“It is one of those deals where our kids almost feel more awkward,” Penrod explained, “it is part of their ritual to have a pregame workout. So, our kids are still going to work out.”

Penrod explained that the Bulldog basketball players will “probably do a 30- to 40-minute workout” today before facing Cooter, which hasn’t lost since a 20-point defeat to Caruthersville on Dec. 2.

“It’s not going to be super intense,” Penrod said of the game day training session, “it is just going to get the blood pumping. But, our kids have felt like they have an edge (because of the training).

“The other team is going to sit there all (game day), you know what, ‘We’re just going to show up and work, do what we need to do, and it is just another day at the office.’”

The Wildcats have stunningly won 28 of their last 29 games dating back to last season but fell to Clarkton in the MSHSAA Class 1 District 1 Tournament last spring.

Cooter has the top record, so far, this season in the District, but will face challenges from both Neelyville (12-8), Holcomb (9-8), and Bernie (13-5) among others.

The two teams have not met since Portageville beat Cooter in the opening round of the 2017 Clarkton Holiday Tournament.

“I feel like (our training) helps the kids with jitters a little bit,” Penrod said, “because now you don’t have that nervousness or anxiousness. You are a little bit wearier because you have worn that out.

“It allows you to come into games a little bit more level-headed. It’s worked well for us. For our kids, we don’t take off days. We always work.”

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