The Hawks entered the LaGrange Toyota Basketball Classic with a 9-1 record, and most of those wins came against some fierce competition, including mostly teams in the state’s highest classification.
The Hawks figured to be one of the teams to beat in the LaGrange tournament, and they didn’t dissapoint in their tournament opener on Thursday.
Facing an overmatched Northgate team, Hillgrove rolled to an 81-34 victory in a game that was over early.
The Hawks charged to a 27-13 lead after the opening quarter, and they were up 40-22 at the half.
The lead expanded to 69-30 through three periods, and the Hawks eventually won by nearly 50 points.
It was a balanced scoring effort, with Kyle Castlin leading the way with 17 points, and he hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Hawks build the big lead.
B.J. Brown chipped in with 16 points, and Keith Ray added 15 points.
Dajon Fuller was also in double figures with 10 points.
Wendall Watson was Northgate’s only double-digit scorer with 10 points.
OPELIKA 63, ROCKDALE COUNTY 58
In the most competitive game of the day, Opelika moved into the winner’s bracket with a 63-58 victory over Rockdale County.
The game was close the whole way.
Opelika led 14-13 after the first quarter, 30-28 at the half, and it was on top 47-44 through three periods before holding on for the five-point win.
Kenneth Keith paced Opelika with 16 points, and T.J. Presley was right behind him with 15 points.
Darious Mitchell led Rockdale County with 16 points, and LaRonte Parks scored 14 points.
W.D. MOHAMMED 79, RUSSELL COUNTY 49
This one was a mismatch.
W.D. Mohammed, a private school in Atlanta, overwhelmed Russell County 79-49.
The Caliphs (11-0) did it with a balanced scoring attack.
Six players scored at least eight points, and four of them were in double figures, including Jihad Hameen, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard who scored 21 points.
Muhammad Hamilton added 17 points, and Hussien Clark and Omar Majid scored 10 points apiece.
The Caliphs led 20-11 after the first period, with Hamilton and Hameen combining for 14 points in the quarter.
Russell County fought back in the second period and cut W.D. Mohammed’s lead to 38-34 at the half.
In the third period, though, Russell County only managed five points as W.D. Mohammed charged to a 58-39 lead.
The Caliphs continued to pull away in the fourth quarter on the way to a 30-point win.