ROFF — Jason Trimmer would love to have another shot at beating Stringtown. In fact, he’d like to have two.

Last season, Trimmer — then the junior point guard on a Roff basketball team headed for its second straight Class A state tournament — had an opportunity to be the hero in his team’s showdown with perennial Class B power Stringtown. Fouled on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer with Roff down two points, Trimmer needed to sink two free throws for a tie and all three to give his club — which had rallied from double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter — an improbable victory.

But Trimmer missed the first two charity shots, and Stringtown escaped with a one-point victory after he sank the meaningless third free throw.

“I was scared,” Trimmer said Saturday in recalling one of the most disappointing moments of his varsity basketball career. “I had missed free throws earlier in that game — everybody had. I was just a scared junior with a bunch of seniors, so I felt a little more pressure.

“But I’m over that,” he added. “If it happens again, it won’t end that way.”

Now one of the senior leaders of an unbeaten (19-0) Roff team ranked No. 3 in Class A, Trimmer figures to again be a key player Monday night when the Tigers go on the road to face a 21-0 Stringtown team (ranked No. 1 in Class B in at least one poll) in a battle of two of the state’s five remaining unbeaten boys teams in any class.

“We’re looking at going out and pulling off the biggest upset in the state,” Trimmer said. “Stringtown can compete with anybody. They would be top five in any class.”

Trimmer said he and his teammates felt a lot of pressure to beat Stringtown last season but added that this season’s new-look Roff team will be a much looser group Monday night while playing in one of the most hostile environments in the state.

“We’re not going in there praying to be undefeated,” he said. “We’re going to go in there and play loose. There was tons more pressure last year.”

Although both Roff and Stringtown have already been given their playoff assignments, Monday’s dream match-up should have the feel of a Monday Night Football game for a couple of reasons.

Not only do the Tigers (the mascot for both schools) figure to pound on each other for 32 minutes, but, with very few other games scheduled Monday, coaches from small schools throughout south central Oklahoma and beyond figure to be on hand to scout two of the favorites in their respective classes.

“It’s an off night for most teams, so I expect a lot of coaches and players from other schools to be here,” second-year Stringtown coach Dirk Walden said. “The (Dec. 2) game here with Oktaha (currently ranked 11th in Class 2A and a Stringtown victim on both Dec. 2 and Jan. 14) was big, because they had just beaten Boynton (currently 15-3 and ranked No. 4 in Class B), but I think this one might attract a little more interest.”

Monday’s contest will feature a classic David-versus-Goliath story line, with Roff’s undersized over-achievers facing a Stringtown club that is among the biggest in the state in any class.

“They (Stringtown) are really good,” first-year Roff coach Darrick Farriell said. “They’re huge inside (with a front line of 6-5 senior Preston Brown, 6-7 junior C. J. Washington and 6-8 newcomer James Watson), and they’re really athletic.

“We’ve got to play really good defense and block out exceptionally well,” he added. “Offensively, we have to control the tempo and get good shots, because we won’t get many offensive rebounds against them.”

To counter Stringtown’s decided size advantage, Roff — which has only one starter taller than six feet and none taller than 6-2 — will rely on a defense that is holding opponents to about 30 points per game and an edge in quickness all over the floor.

“Stringtown’s size will be OUR mismatch problem, but we’re hoping our quickness will be THEIR mismatch problem,” Farriell noted. “We’re going to try to pull them out away from the basket as much as possible and use our quickness to attack them.”

The home team’s size advantage could have been neutralized a bit by the return of 6-10 Roff senior Rickey Thompson (who has seen limited action this season for a variety of reasons), but Thompson still hasn’t been cleared to return after dislocating his right kneecap last month.

Walden, whose club was eliminated by Tupelo, 55-54, in the area semifinals last season in an upset that ranked among the biggest of the 2005 playoffs in any class, said his current team is bigger, quicker and, most importantly, a year smarter than last year’s squad.

“Maturity has been a huge difference for us this season,” said Walden, who watched Washington (then a junior) put up an ill-advised shot in the final seconds of his team’s final playoff game last season, allowing Tupelo to get a rebound and, ultimately, a game-winning shot by Cameron Mann in the final seconds to cap a comeback from a double-digit deficit in the final four minutes.

James Watson (just a sophomore) and his adopted brother, Matt (who joins 6-1 junior Orlando Brown to give Stringtown one of Class B’s most accomplished backcourts) are the major additions to last year’s team, and Walden said they have been keys to his club’s dominance so far this season.

“James (averaging about 10 points per game) is a back-to-the-basket player,” Walden observed. “He rebounds and runs the floor well.

“Matt handles the ball and shoots it really well,” he added. “That stretches the defense so it’s easier to get inside.”

Walden said Roff’s quickness and tenacious attitude on defense worry him as much as his team’s size and athleticism concern Farriell.

“Defensively, it’s going to cause problems,” Walden said. “Our big kids are going to have to defend smaller kids out on the perimeter. Offensively, we’ll have to take care of the basketball and take advantage of our size, because they’re going to get after us.

“We’ve had to do it against other teams, but not against kids who are as good as the Roff kids,” he added. “It will be a test for us, and we’ll be looking forward to it.”

Farriell and Walden agreed the game is a perfect late-season showcase for their respective squads, because it will feature a playoff atmosphere without postseason consequences.

“Athletically, they’ll be the toughest team we’ve seen,” Farriell said. “This will be a great prep for the playoffs.

“It’s not a conference game or a game against anybody in our class,” he added. “It’s just a good game to get us ready.”

“They (Roff) are really good, but that’s why we scheduled it,” Walden said. “It’s good to play good people late in the season.”

Although playoff assignments in Classes A and B have already been decided, the Roff-Stringtown match-up kicks off a big final week of January for area teams.

Tuesday’s schedule has Stonewall traveling to Allen, where the girls game will decide the Pontotoc Conference championship and the boys game will be a rematch of last Saturday’s overtime thriller won by Stonewall for third place in the S.T.A.R. Tournament; Ada visiting McAlester, with the Lady Cougars trying to remain unbeaten in Southeast Six Conference play and the Cougars anxious to avenge a 35-31 loss to their rivals earlier in the season; Wewoka visiting Coalgate, where the Wildcats will try to derail Class 2A’s No. 2 team and Lady Wildcats — ranked No. 5 in 2A — will try to regroup after Friday’s emotional loss at Stonewall; and Coleman at Roff, where the Lady Tigers will try to upset Class B’s No. 9 team.

Friday’s lineup has several attractive games, including Konawa at Latta, where the visiting Lady Tigers will try to salvage a split against a club they dominated last season and the 15th-ranked (Class 2A) Panthers — blown out at Dale Friday — try to regroup against a Konawa club that has been one of the area’s surprise teams this season; Roff at Tupelo, where the boys game (the fourth time the teams have met this season) will be a rematch of last Saturday’s S.T.A.R. championship game; and Tecumseh at Byng, where the Pirates will try to avenge one of their six losses this season.