McTaggart had four points in each of the first two quarters but scored 14 in the second half, mostly on layups, putbacks and short jumpers near the basket. He also got plenty of help. Kolby Moss had 14 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Collin Crowder had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Kyle Oakes and Aidan Berrong scored eight points each.
“I really do think we have the big best man in 1A basketball,” Benson said of McTaggart. “I can pretty much confidently say that, maybe even in some of the other classifications. He’s a great big man, so we’re going to feed him. … We knew our strength was in the paint. We knew that’s where we had to get the ball.”
There wasn’t much separation between the teams until late in the first half, when Towns County outscored the Bulldogs 7-0 in the final 1:35 to take a 31-24 lead into halftime.
Five minutes into the third quarter, the lead was still seven points until Hancock Central’s Wilson converted a four-point play, adding a free throw after being fouled while making a 3-pointer, to cut the deficit to 39-34. It was the first 3-pointer of the game for Wilson, who missed his first eight attempts, and it got the Bulldogs warmed up.
Hancock Central made seven 3-pointers in the second half and finished the game 9-for-40 from long range, but the Bulldogs never got closer than three points.
Jamal Taylor made four 3-pointers, including one with 11 seconds left that provided the final points of the game, and finished with 16 points.
Towns County - 14-17-14-19 - 64
Hancock Central - 16-8-16-20 - 60
Towns County (64)
Jake McTaggart 22, Kolby Moss 14, Collin Crowder 12, Aidan Berrong 8, Kyle Oakes 8, Hayden McClure, Colton Day.
Hancock Central (60)
Leroy Wilson 18, Marquavious Lawrence 18, Jamal Taylor 16, Deonte Lowe 5, Jaylon Hatcher 3, Dev’Vin Ivey, Keveon Robbins, Aareon Stephens.