The Quitman County High School varsity boys’ basketball team is off to a hot start with an 8-2 record, the best since the 2016 and 2017 seasons when the Hornets reached the Class 1A Sweet 16 playoffs in back-to-back years.
Guided by head coach Fred Drake, the Hornets are on a five-game winning streak with large victories over Miller County (64-47), Webster County (61-12), Pataula Charter Academy (74-27), Pelham (67-53) and Seminole County (45-28). Miller County, Pelham and Seminole County were region games.
The losses were to Columbus at home and region opponent Randolph-Clay on the road. The Hornets lost 58-63 to Columbus and 68-72 in overtime against Randolph-Clay.
“In my opinion, we lost two games we should have won,” Drake said. “We were leading, and it just came down to some passing issues and some mental lapses.”
Currently ranked eighth in Class A, the squad is a senior-heavy team led by duo Shamiir Billings, a point guard averaging 15 points per game and claiming seven assists and two steals, and Ty Richardson, a forward who has 12 rebounds and two blocks and is averaging 20 points per game. TaShawn Respress has also made an impact with his leadership prowess.
“TaShawn does a good job of leading. He’s been a good team captain,” Drake said. “We vote on the team captain, and he was the only one that really fit that mold. We have a 10-player roster, and six of those guys are seniors. They’ve paid their dues.
“We struggled a little the last couple of years, and these seniors have put in the work. They’ve bonded and they want to go out on a strong note this year. They just want to finish.”
The Hornets have most of their season — and area games — ahead of them with the next game scheduled for Friday, Jan. 8 at home against 0-2 Pataula Charter Academy. Then, on Saturday, a game against Mitchell County that concerns Drake, especially after going so long without being able to play or practice. The last game the team played was on Dec. 19 due to the Christmas break and several canceled games due to COVID.
“We haven’t been able to practice much over Christmas holidays. We had everything going good for a while, but then we had that big layoff because of the canceled games,” he said. “When you’re doing well, you want to keep that momentum going and stay hot but we couldn’t.”
The team will make up for lost time with three games scheduled each week in January, and work to re-schedule the lost games from December.
The remaining schedule includes:
- Jan. 9, home, Mitchell County*
- Jan. 12, home, Calhoun County*
- Jan. 15, at Miller County*
- Jan. 16, home, Webster County
- Jan. 19, at Pelham*
- Jan. 23, at Baker County
- Jan. 26, at Seminole County*
- Jan. 29, home, Terrell County*
- Jan. 30, at Mitchell County*
- Feb. 2, home, Baker County
- Feb. 5, at Calhoun County*
- Feb. 9, home, Randolph-Clay*
- Feb. 12, away Terrell County*