Team photo

From back left, Coach Ginger Duease, Ambriel Smith, Reagan Pucheu, Ashley Smith, Ainslee James, Cambria Necaise, Morgan Kreher, Sienna Franceski, and Manager Cecilia Seager. From front left, Ava Davis, Bryleigh Smith, Lila Turner, Lakeitha “Toots” Sampson, Abigail Carver, and Talena Bond. 

Last week, the undefeated Hancock Middle School’s girls basketball team clinched the District Championship.

Coach Ginger Duease said, “this is a special group of girls I have had the pleasure of coaching for the past two years.”

The 8th graders have not lost a game while playing for Hancock Middle School, which includes their 7th grade year as well, Duease said.

“They have a record of 25-0 for two years,” she said. “I have had some very good teams at Hancock Middle School over the past six years. Five out of the six years, we have played for a district title and have won three out of the five.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 8th graders faced new challenges.

They were unable to practice during the summer; quarantined two different times this season having to miss numerous practices; and rescheduled games.

“They still won,” Duease said. “I have been lucky to coach such a hardworking group of girls. The future is bright at Hancock High School.”

The playoffs were held on Jan. 25 and 28. In the first round, the team defeated St. Martin, 48 to 26. The championship game was scheduled to be against North Gulfport, but that team had to forfeit due to COVID.

“We had already played them in the season where we defeated them 50-30,” Duease said. “We were the number one seed going into the playoffs. It was not the traditional championship and we hate that.”

Hancock County School District Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said the basketball team set great examples on and off the court.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our kids, the team, and our coaches,” he said. “They have been a very competitive group of girls for so many years. They succeed in the classroom just like on the court. They are champions on and off the court. They set great examples of dedication and hard work.”

The Lady Hawks Middle School Basketball Team 2020-2021 includes: Ambriel Smith, Reagan Pucheu, Ashley Smith, Ainslee James, Cambria Necaise, Morgan Kreher, Sienna Franceski, Ava Davis, Bryleigh Smith, Lila Turner, Lakeitha “Toots” Sampson, Abigail Carver, and Talena Bond.

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