Tifton Gazette

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June 21, 2014

Devils coaches floored by hardwood renovations

TIFTON — When the old Tifton High gymnasium was updated just before the start of the 1956-57 season, Gazette writer D.A. Osborn noted that the best improvements were the replacement of two coal-burning stoves with more efficient fuel ones.

That, thankfully, is not a concern for today's fans. Tift County's gym is climate-controlled. But Osborn also noted that blue paint had been used for the free throw lanes and endzones. That is more along the lines of the updating done this summer, which included a resurfacing and repainting of the current gym floor.

Gone is the old center court logo. The large white "T" inside a larger basketball has been changed. Both elements remain, but now the basketball is the same vertical height as the base of the "T," which is now within a more traditional circle. The top part of the "T" now has "Blue Devils" and the base has "basketball." Both are the color of the hardwood, which both head coaches Dr. Eric Holland and Julie Conner said was a lighter colored varnish that it previously was.

Holland and Conner are very complimentary of the new look.

"It's a beautiful floor," said Holland. "The guys did a great job." "Gorgeous" is the word Conner used to describe it.

While coaches have seen the changes in person, the Lady Devils have not seen anything other than pictures. They have held a camp and practices this month, but the camp was at J.T. Reddick and practices have been held at Eighth Street Middle while the work was done.

Conner said her players will finally get their chance to eyeball it July 7, when practices resume after the GHSA-mandated dead week. "They can't contain their excitement," she said. The Lady Devils will also assist with a camp that week.

She said possibly the best feature were the addition of a few new lines. During their individual practices, she said she and Holland both liked having two games going on at once. The fresh lines, which mark the three-point arc and free throw line on the side goal, more easily mark the two full courts. "That's a wonderful thing," Conner said. "We won't have to put tape on the floor," said Holland.

Holland was also proud that the updates were not just about his sport.

"It represents the school and everything we do. It's not just a basketball floor, but an athletic floor."

Other visible changes to the gym floor include:

- Along the endlines, the words "Tift County" and "Blue Devils" remain, but they have switched sides and have been left the color the hardwood. Previously, they were painted white.

- A pair of pitchforks have been added, as well as the new lines for the full courts for the side goals. The free throw lanes and endzones are now royal blue instead of dark blue.

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20140726 John Gamble.JPG

John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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