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MCHS faces young, but dangerous Hillgrove team
Kayla Freeman scored 11 points in Madison County's region title victory over Clarke Central.
MCHS faces young, but dangerous Hillgrove team
Friday, February 27. 2009
With a starting lineup that’s battle-tested in the state tournament, Madison County hopes to put its basketball wisdom to use against a much younger foe this weekend.
Hillgrove (17-9), which the Lady Raiders play this Friday in the first round of the state tournament, has just one senior and two juniors on its varsity roster.
But don’t let the youth fool you.
“I was extremely impressed with how fundamental those ninth and 10th graders are,” Lady Raider coach Dan Lampe said of the Atlanta-area team.
The teams will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. in Danielsville in the opening round of the Class AAAA tournament.
Madison County is coming off a 51-40 victory over rival Clarke Central Friday for its second region title in three years.
Junior guard Lauren Smith said she hopes the team can recapture that performance in the state tournament.
“If we come out and give the effort we gave (Friday), we’ll go far,” said Smith, who has already played in six state tournament games in her career.
This is Madison County’s fourth-straight trip to the state tournament. The Lady Raiders (23-5) have hosted a first-round matchup for three-straight years.
That means Hillgrove (17-9) must navigate through Atlanta traffic on a Friday afternoon.
“We love it that they’ve got to come to us,” Lampe said. “It gives us a little advantage to start with.”
Hillgrove, the no. 4 seed from Region 7-AAAA, went 2-2 in its region tournament, losing to Rome 57-55 in the consolation finals Saturday.
A newer school based in Powder Springs, Hillgrove advanced to the state Sweet 16 last year in only its second season of existence.
But the team lost seven seniors off that squad to graduation.
The young Lady Hawks use a 10-player rotation, and can run the floor or hold the ball depending on the situation, Lampe said.
Hillgrove lost a slow-down game to Northwest Whitefield, 27-16, in the region tournament.
Lampe described Hillgrove’s style as methodical and fundamental.
“I kind of see them like Loganville,” Lampe said.
The Lady Hawks possess a decent post player, reminiscent of Tiawanna Allen according to Lampe, and an array of shooters.
“If you fall asleep, they’ll drain the three on you,” Lampe said.
The winner faces either Southwest Dekalb or Douglas County in round two.
Madison County comes into Friday’s game riding a 12-game winning streak.
“I really like our effort,” Lampe said. “And our defense seems like it’s starting to come around. A lot of it is just effort.”
The offense is still a work in progress, Lampe said, noting a 16-point performance in the first half against Clarke Central.
“We’ve got plenty of room to improve,” he said.
REGION TOURNEY ACCOLADES
The Lady Raiders' Courtney Freeman was named the Region 8-AAAA tournament MVP, while Kayla Freeman was named to the 8-AAAA all-region tournament team.
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