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Thursday May 26th, 2022 1:19PM

Basketball: Towns County looks for first-ever state title

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

On Saturday at 12:30 p.m., the Towns County boys basketball team will try to achieve something no other Indians program has been able to in its history: win a state title.

It won’t be easy as the Indians face defending Class A Public state champion Hancock Central at the Macon Coliseum in the Class A Public finals of the Georgia High School Association playoffs. The Bulldogs have been here four times in the last six seasons.

But Towns County coach Rob Benson brings in an all-around balanced team that can play defense, score in multiple ways from anywhere on the court, and has shown it can handle any environment.

The Indians won their last two playoff games on the road at Irwin County and Chattahoochee County.

Junior Jake McTaggart is a tough matchup inside with junior Kyle Oakes and seniors Aidan Berrong and Kolby Moss providing solid defense and outside shooting at the guard position. Point guard Kabe Ellis was instrumental in helping them get to the playoffs before suffering an injury last in the season.
 
AccessWDUN caught up with Benson on the eve of the program’s biggest game yet.

QUESTION: Coach, thanks for taking time. We know it’s been a busy week for y’all. When the buzzer sounded on your win over Chattahoochee County in the semifinals last week, what was going through your mind?

ANSWER: Mostly, I was really excited for these kids and the community.

 

QUESTION: What has the atmosphere been like around school and around town over the past week leading up to the finals?

ANSWER: There has been nothing but excitement and appreciation for this team from the Towns County community. We had a send off (Friday) by the sheriff and deputies, commissioner, fire chief and others. All three schools came out to send us off. It was amazing, and the players loved it. 

 

QUESTION: How special has this run been for the staff and the players?

ANSWER: This run has been amazing, going back to last year even. The players are truly enjoying this ride.


QUESTION: What has made this team so resilient 

ANSWER: Without a doubt, this team is built around a tough-nosed group of players who find ways to win. We are resilient because of that toughness. 


QUESTION: Y’all definitely showed that you can handle high-pressure situations, at home and on the road, in the playoffs. How are y’all preparing mentally for the finals, which will have a more neutral feel to it? 

ANSWER: We are preparing mentally by attending a game at the Coliseum (Friday) and practicing some game situations. 


QUESTION: Hancock Central is the defending champion. They are used to being in this spot. It is their fourth trip to the finals in the past six seasons. What are the key matchups for y’all (on both sides of the ball) in trying to knock them off?

ANSWER: I think the key for us is to handle the pressure of the game from our opponent, and handle the moment. We will need to rebound well and take good shots. 


QUESTION: How big would it be for the school and community to get that first-ever state title?

ANSWER: It would be a great honor to represent Towns County as the state champions. This town loves their kids and their basketball, so it would be awesome.

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