A season removed from plowing their way to an unblemished record in the regular season and earning their first state championship berth since 1969, the Lady Wildcats appear to be picking up right where they left off.
The Villa Rica High School girls’ basketball team rolled to its second blowout victory of the year on Tuesday. After dismantling Heard County in their season opener last week, their second victim was cross-county adversary Central High School.
It didn’t take long for the Lady Wildcats (2-0) to find their footing as they clawed their way to respectable first-half adavantage and kept their foot on the gas en route to a 56-28 victory.
“I was just super proud of our girls’ effort [Tuesday,]” Villa Rica head coach Tammy Norred said. “And gosh, our defense. We spend a lot of time and we emphasize defensive pressure in practice, so to see them transfer and put it into playing a game was so great to watch. I’m proud of their effort.”
While Tuesday night was Villa Rica’s second tuneup of the new campaign, it was the season opener for the Lady Lions. Plagued with injuries, Central (0-1) showed flashes of how high its ceiling can potentially be this year, but was simply unable to string it together for four quarters on Tuesday.
“Villa Rica is a really good team. The reason we put them on the schedule is so we can see what it looks like to play playoff basketball in Game 1,” Central head coach Josh Smith said. “Villa Rica did a lot of things good and we didn’t. We’ve got a long way to go, but the effort from our girls was promising.”
The Lady Wildcats spread the love offensively, with 10 different girls finding the bottom of the net by the end of the night. There was seemingly never a drop off in competition regardless of which five Norred had on the court at any given time, which is something she and her staff took great pride in.
“I felt like with our rotation, there were nine girls constantly going in and out, in and out. And if you can do that and not see a change or a drop off, that’s a sign, I think, of good things to happen,” she said.
Clinging to an 8-6 lead past the midway point in the first quarter, Villa Rica slowly began to distance itself.
Aliyah Hindsman knocked down a jumper from the right side to push their lead out to four points, followed by back-to-back layups from Dekyia Cofield. The dagger was issued by way of a Kyndal Coleman 3-pointer, which made it 19-8 at the end of the first quarter.
From there, Villa Rica continued to pile it on.
The Lady Wildcats pressed Central defensively, creating turnovers and opening the door for the offense to run in transition. Consequently, they powered their way to a 32-13 lead going into the locker room.
Central was unable to claw back into the game in the second half as it took a 44-19 deficit into the fourth quarter before ultimately suffering the double-digit defeat.
Villa Rica Boys 73, Central Boys 36
The Wildcats capped off a clean sweep for Villa Rica with a 37-point win over the Lions in Tuesday’s nightcap.
Villa Rica [1-0] set the tempo from the jump, opening the night with eight unanswered points in the first two minutes of action. The Lions were never able to recover as the Wildcats led wire to wire.
“Our guys played hard. I think both teams played hard and represented their schools and community really well,” Villa Rica head coach Jason Robinson said. “We hit some shots, and to be honest with you, we spent a lot of time in the offseason working on our perimeter shooting. We’ve found other ways to win in the past year, but historically we’ve put a lot of focus on knocking down the outside shots, and I thought we did a great job of that.”
Trailing 19-4 late in the first quarter, Central [1-0] put a stop to Villa Rica’s run with a late 3-point bucket with less than 30 seconds to go. The shot provided the Lions with enough momentum to hang around through the first few minutes of the second quarter, but they carried a 40-24 deficit into halftime.
The third and fourth quarters provided much of the same results for his Lions, but Central head coach Kenny Edwards was encouraged by the fight his team continued to display in spite of the point differential on the scoreboard.
“It was tough for us. We looked sluggish. The effort was there, but we just made a lot of rusty mistakes,” Edwards said. “Overall, there’s a lot to build on and a lot to improve going forward. We’ll get there.”