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New coach guides Hornets to state
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
February 28, 2013 11:27 AM | 747 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hiram player Jamal Hines warms up during a recent practice.
Hiram player Jamal Hines warms up during a recent practice.
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After a season of ups, downs and adjustments, the Hiram boys’ basketball season came to an end after a 70-67 loss to Gainesville in round one of the state Class 5A playoffs.

“It was a tough game [Feb. 20], but they played hard and left everything on the court,” said first-year head coach Darius Hodge. “We got the shots we wanted but they just wouldn’t fall. They were just better than us that game.”

The Hornets only had four turnovers and shot 90 percent from the free throw line against Gainesville.

“Ask any coach, if you only have four turnovers and shoot 90 percent from the line, you won the game,” said Hodge.

There were three key players for the night, all scoring in double figures — Reid Duncan, Lenard Foster and Isaac Williams.

Duncan finished the night with 10 points and six assists. Foster had 16 points and five rebounds on the night. Williams closed out the game with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Williams is now the all-time leading scorer in Hiram history.

While Hiram was unable to advance past the first round, Hodge is pleased with how his team was able to progress over the season given all the changes.

“Being a first-year coach and changing the mindset of the kids, there were some ups and downs,” said Hodge. “It took us 29 games to get it together, but this was many kids’ first time making it to state so that was a huge accomplishment. They really bought into the program.”

Looking forward to next season, Hodge said the team needs to work on their overall toughness and overcoming adversity during games.

“Overall we have to get tougher, mentally and physically tougher, but that takes time,” Hodge said. “I think it just comes from not being used to close games. They have to overcome adversity better as well. They have to learn to push past things they can’t control like officiating, injuries and when the ball won’t drop.”
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