Hardin-Jefferson girls relaxed heading into Friday
It's their biggest game of their season, but the Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks are on cruise-control.
Facing a feisty Rusk squad Friday night H-J head coach Mike Fogo noticed a calmness after their morning shoot-around.
"This is a real loose group to begin with," said Fogo at Sam Houston State's Johnson Coliseum. "They're bee-bopping around here just waiting for 8 pm to arrive."
The Lady Hawks are trying to get back to San Antonio to avenge last season's state final loss to Argyle, but first they have to get past a Rusk team that comes in with an underwhelming record of 17-12. The Rusk crew are riding a four-game win streak with playoff wins over Huntington (41-36), Lorena (41-36) and Gatesville (68-66).
"They have a real energetic coach (Bre Brooks) who has them playing at just the right time," said Fogo. "With a bunch of their games, they do what they have to do to be in the game at the end. If that means slowing down the game or playing iso (isolation) that's what she will do. We haven't seen a lot of teams adjust to us lately, but we feel pretty good with our matchups if it comes our way."
The H-J "Big Three" of Delbertha Guillory-Smith, Ashlon Jackson, and Makenna Henry should cause major headaches for Rusk along with Karliegh Hensley and Kassi Hardy rounding out a solid supporting cast.
Look for Rusk to stick close to the H-J machine early but dynasties never die young, Hardin-Jefferson will roll in the second half.
PREDICTION: Hardin-Jefferson takes a hammer to the Cinderella shoes of Rusk and pulls away late.
Hardin-Jefferson 67, Rusk 41.
Tonight's winner takes on the Yates vs Fairlield victor Saturday afternoon at 1 pm.
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