A-Public: Wilkinson County 55, Hancock Central 42

After splitting their regular season series, all the marbles were up for grabs in the Class A-Public state title game. No. 1 Wilkinson County’s overpowering size was too much for No. 4 Hancock Central as the Warriors pulled away for their eighth championship in school history, 55-42. The Bulldogs went on the attack early and didn’t seemed phased by Dr. Geter’s Warrior starting lineup which featured 6-foot-7 junior Greg Couson and brought 6-foot-9 German-import Jonathan Baehre off the bench. Hancock Central used its quickness to race to a 12-10 lead at the end of the first period.

In the second quarter Wilkinson County took advantage of its size and paired Baehre with Couson which resulted in an 8-0 run to grab a 20-14 lead. Couson posted a double-double in the first half alone with 12 points and 11 rebounds while affecting countless shots inside with Baehre. Couson threw down an emphatic slam off a dish from Clarence Jackson that sparked the run. Martravious Smith managed to pour in seven points in the opening half to keep the Bulldogs afloat down 28-23.

The Warriors continued to slowly put distance between themselves and the Bulldogs in the third quarter, outscoring Hancock 14-10 to take a 42-33 advantage into the final quarter. Wilkinson took a 49-37 lead midway through the quarter, the Warriors’ largest lead of the game. Phillipe Scott fouled out with 11 points and Larry Jones’ layup with 1:38 left to play was the dagger, ballooning the lead up to 53-42.

Couson finished with 16 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks while Baehre, who said he came to Wilkinson County his senior season “to win a state championship”, added nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks off the bench. Aaron Geter III netted 10 in the win. For Hancock, Smith notched a double-double of his own with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Brooks and Devoija Tucker, the Bulldogs’ starting backcourt, struggled from the field shooting a combined 4-of-25. Brooks scored 10 and Tucker chipped in four.


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