By Staff Reports
EAST POINT, Ga. — The Henry County Warhawks boys basketball team definitely would seem to have deeper postseason aspirations than winning a region championship.
Their preseason No. 1 Class AAAA ranking in some polls and a roster that boasts Division I talent seems to confirm that.
But Warhawks coach Vince Rosser won’t let anyone think that the opportunity for his Henry County squad to capture the Region 4-AAAA crown is not important.
Henry County will have a chance, Friday night, to grab region championship hardware, after using a 70-65 win against a scrappy North Clayton squad, earning them the right to face No. 6 seed Druid Hills for the region crown.
“This means a lot for us,” Rosser said. “Our first goal this year was to qualify for state. Our next goal was to win region and get a No. 1 seed. The main thing is we’ve got a home game, and this gives us an opportunity to give our seniors at least one more time to go out on the home court.”
The Warhawks were led by the hot shooting and strong play of senior Javon Greene and his game-high 27 points. Greene nailed three three-pointers in the first quarter to keep Henry County close, even as North Clayton jumped out to a 22-17 lead at the end of the period.
Green would also drain a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch, along with Seth Brown who knocked down four from the charity stripe, to hold off a North Clayton team that had the game within one at 60-59 with 1:38 left in regulation.
The closeness of the game was no surprise to Rosser.
“We played them three times, and first time they jumped on us and we had to fight our way back,” Rosser said. “The next time we jumped on them and they fought their way back, and this time it was evenly matched throughout the game. They’re gonna be a tough team to put out of the tournament.”
Rosser called it a “tough task” to beat a team three times in one season, due to the familiarity the two squads get with each other. Region 4-AAAA No. 2 seed Eastside found that out the hard way as it lost 61-55 to Druid Hills in the other region tournament semifinal game, despite sweeping the teams’ two regular season matchups.
Now it’ll be Rosser and Henry County (20-5 overall) that will have to try and defeat another pesky squad that it has beaten twice this season. Henry County defeated Druid Hills 78-67 on Jan. 28 and then squeaked out a 68-67 win at Druid Hills on Feb. 3.
“They played us tough two times too,” Rosser said. “We needed a last second shot to beat them. It’s just another tough team that we’ll have to try and beat a third time. They’ve gotten hot down the stretch here, and they’re in great position to advance. We’ll have our hands full.”
The Lady Warhawks will also have a chance to claim a region crown, as they defeated Luella 57-54 in a girls semifinal matchup. The Lady Hawks will face the North Clayton Lady Eagles — who were 55-44 winners over Salem in the other semifinal game played Thursday night — in a Friday night region championship game.