The Thomson-McDuffie Middle School Lady ’Dogs completed their second consecutive undefeated season with a victory at Louisville on Dec. 13.
“It’s great to win, and the girls were very determined to win, but that wasn’t our main focus,” coach Roderick Hilton said. “As their coach, I focused on getting the girls ready for high school play. Coach (Michael) Williams over at Thomson High School has a very assertive style, and I wanted to get our players ready to be able to step into that program if they get the chance. So we focused a lot on the fundamentals. We don’t discuss winning in the gym. We tell our girls to play hard, and the results will take care of themselves.”
Many of this year’s players will be moving on to high school next year.
“We’re losing three of our starters and another three or four off the bench who won’t be here next year,” Hilton said. “But we started a number of seventh-graders this year, and I hope to have them back next season.”
Two games from this season stood out in Hilton’s memory.
“When Hart County came to our place, they were really ready to play,” Hilton said. “Their coach over there did a good job coaching those girls, and they took an early lead. But our girls didn’t get rattled, they settled down, played great defense and shot the ball well, and I’m proud of that.”
“I was also impressed when we went to play over in Washington. They had a packed house over there, and the girls were a little bit nervous. But they withstood the run that Washington made, and didn’t panic.”
“This was an easy group to coach,” Hilton said. “They listened well to what coach Tracy Taylor and I tell them, and they worked so hard. They bought into what coach Taylor and I were trying to do; they played during the off-season, they played summer ball, they really worked at it. They love to run, love to press. They’re just great kids who were easy to coach.”
Hilton fully expects to see some of his players advance to high school play.
“That’s coach Williams’ call over at THS, of course, but if our girls stay humble and keep working hard, they should be ready to step up and make some contributions to the THS team,” Hilton said. “This is one of the most talented groups of players I’ve ever seen. Coach Williams has some great talent coming his way next year.”
Just days before their final victory at Louisville, the TMMS girls dominated the Warren County Screaming Devils, 50-15. The home game was played Dec. 8.