The Lady Raiders put a bow on the No. 2 seed in the Region 8-6A tournament Friday night, as they routed Central Gwinnett 55-27 in their regular season finale.
“It’s good to have a game where you get everybody in,” Lady Raiders head coach Bill Bradley said. “We were actually able to work on our point zone trying to take care of the score, but it’s nice to go into the tournament with confidence and feeling better that we shot it well and those things.”
HCHS was in control from the get-go, as they pushed their lead to double digits in the game’s first four minutes and held the Lady Black Knights scoreless for much of the opening quarter.
After taking a 21-2 lead after the first quarter, the Lady Raiders’ followed it up with a 20-point second quarter while holding Central Gwinnett in single digits again to take a 41-9 lead into halftime.
Junior forward Taylor Wade was a dominant force inside for the Lady Raiders, netting 12 of her game-high 16 points in the first two quarters.
“Taylor tonight for the first time has actually played with the confidence. We know she’s got the ability, and she made a move tonight that we know she can do, but she actually made it in a game,” Bradley said. “She’s playing with confidence now, and that just makes everybody feel so much better.”
Wade got help on Friday from Nykerriah Brown, who added 12 points to be the game’s second-leading scorer.
“Depending on who we play, a lot of people have been trying to take away our perimeter, so it’s got to be Taylor inside,” Bradley said. “I thought Nyke did a nice job inside scoring for us, attacking and just relaxing.”
Throughout the game, the Lady Raiders lived in the paint, as they scored 18 more points there than their opponents while also converting 19 turnovers into 16 points.
Coming out of halftime with a big lead, HCHS kept its foot on the gas and cruised through the final two quarters to take the 28-point win.
With the regular season complete, the Lady Raiders play again Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Buford City Arena against either Lanier, Shiloh or Central Gwinnett in the Region 8-6A tournament.
A victory Friday also secures the Lady Raiders a spot in Saturday’s region championship game and also guarantees them at least one home game in the state playoffs.
“I think we’re playing our best basketball. That’s what we want to be doing at the region tournament,” Bradley said, “so hopefully we maintain it with a week off and are ready to play Friday night.”