After a 25-3 record and a trip to the GHSA Class A semifinals last season, Anthony Webb's Hancock Central Bulldogs are back in the hunt this year.
Hancock Central started the season 4-4 after losses to Crawford County, Wilkinson County, Baldwin and Thomson, but the Bulldogs finished strong, winning all but one of their remaining 18 regular-season games before stumbling in the region tournament. Hancock Central is beating opponents by nearly 15 points per game entering its game Friday against Taylor County.
"I think, really, we are overachievers, because I lost quite a few guys from my team of last year," Webb said. "I lost seven or eight guys off that team last year, and I didn't think we were going to be as successful this year as we were last year. We have a lot of young guys, guys who hadn't even played varsity basketball."
ON A RUN
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The Vikings have won 11 of their past 12 games entering Friday's contest. After a stretch in which it lost six of eight games from Dec. 18 to Jan. 12, Taylor County (21-7) has outscored its opponents by more than 16 points per game down the stretch.
TIME FOR A REMATCH
Taylor County's girls will play Greenville for the fourth time this season, and Taylor County won the most recent meeting 47-46. The Vikings won all four meetings between the two teams last year.
When point guard Rasheka Simmons sat out a few games due to an injury, Destiny Mathis and Kelsie Towns stepped up as top scorers for the team to give Taylor County more balance.
The Putnam County girls will face off against Model in Class AA play and have won 11 straight games to get to 23-4. Sophomore Rykia Pennamon is coming off of a 20-point and 11-rebound performance in the second round against Union County. Senior Ebony Hargrove is averaging nearly 14 points per game this season, while Pennamon averages 15 points per game.