The Holy Innocents’ girls’ basketball team roared into the Elite Eight last Wednesday night at home, blasting past Greenforest 76-35. The Bears continued in the state playoff Tuesday at home against Mt. Paran in hopes of eclipsing last year’s second-in-state finish.

HI jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back in the Greenforest effort. Pesky defense and points in transition put the visiting team behind 23-9 after a quarter and 48-17 at half. Nine Bears scored before the intermission; 11 scored on the night.

“I love the way we shine on the court,” Coach Nichole Dixon said. “The girls love each other, they play hard, they play together, and they don’t care who gets the credit.”

Four scored in double figures – Marya Hudgins led with 15 points; Charlsie Birkel and Rachel Suttle both had 12; and Jada Farrell netted 11. All of Birkel’s points came on 3-pointers.

The Bears earned their bid into state after winning the region two weeks ago despite having no seniors on their roster.

Over to the boys, Coach Adrian Collins and company had their season end Thursday night in Marietta in the Sweet 16 with a tough 72-53 loss to Mt. Bethel. HI had advanced with a 70-57 victory over Stratford Academy of Macon the Friday before.

In the blemish, the boys got good efforts out of Alex Hyatt (12 points), Devin Farrell (9) and Chad McPherson (9).

Before the state event, the Bears advanced to the region semifinals before falling to Eagles Landing. They started the season at 2-7 before going on a roll, establishing themselves as one of the top teams in Region 5A.

Looking ahead, Collins will graduate four – Hyatt, McPherson, Todd Ennis, and Yale Ford.

In spring sports, last week was an abbreviated one with all the rain. Still, the girls’ lacrosse team got in a game last Thursday night at Fellowship Christian, falling 20-14.

Annie Parker and Holland Mowry led on the attack, Emma Forrestal and Abigail Pagano both starred on defense. Parker, only a sophomore, has been the leading scorer in early season.

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