The visiting Sherwood Eagles should have never left their nests Saturday.
The Eagles stepped into the St. James Sports Center and were greeted by a roomful of FPCA fans sporting "fear the kilts" shirts. The gym held a near-capacity crowd of families and friends ready to cheer the Highlanders on to a homecoming victory.
Before the game, senior Sarah Dryden was crowned homecoming queen. Then the teams stormed the court.
And, as quickly as it started, the game was over. The Highlanders clipped the Eagles’ wings, 88-26. Sherwood went without a single point for five minutes during the first quarter and later only managed 4. FPCA sank 23 points in the first. By halftime, the Hinesville squad was up 52-12.
During intermission, the Highlanders honored senior players and cheerleaders and the cheerleaders performed a dance routine to Lady Gaga’s "Bad Romance."
In the second half, the Highlanders ran their points up to 88 and held the Eagles to 26.
Four Highlanders hit the double-digit mark with Shavon Stoves chipping in 22 points, Jordan Johnson 19, AJ Ansley 18 and DJ Felder 15.
After the game, Highlander coach David Jones said he was going to miss his four outgoing seniors, Hakeem Golden, Michael Brown, Kaelan Dorr and AJ Ansley.
The coach also praised the athletes. "This group has been a particularly good group to work with. Especially with me coming in and they already having so much success, that can sometimes be a very sensitive situation. But they have been cooperative. They have worked with us and I feel like I have gotten a good effort out of them and our defense has steadily improved."Jones said the boys understand his philosophy behind an aggressive defense, and they’ve adjusted to him as the new head coach.
Jones said there is still plenty of basketball left in the season, namely the rematch against Bethesda last night and the region tournament, which begins next Tuesday.
It is likely the boys will see Bethesda at least two more times in their run for a third state title.
"They are a very physical team," Jones said of the Blazers. "This game could determine who is in first place in the region. I told our team we need to take care of our business rather than trusting somebody else to take care of it for us. When you take care of your own business then you are not putting the destiny of your team in someone else’s hand."