It's been a positive start to the 2017-18 campaign for the Villa Rica High School boys' basketball team, and its skills were once again put on full display at home against Kell on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (4-0, 3-0 Region 7-AAAAA) were able to lock down another early-season region victory when they herded the visiting Longhorns for a 73-62 triumph.
Things are starting to click for head coach Jason Robinson's ballclub as the ultra-competitive practices are beginning to carry over into the games.
"The practices we had last Thursday and (Monday) were probably the best practices we've had in the last five years," Robinson said. "The kids were getting after it and everybody was playing hard. Even the kids who weren't playing that much were very vocal. It's making us play much, much better."
After falling behind 5-0 to the Longhorns (2-3, 1-1) early on, the VR offense got rolling with shooting guard J.J. Franklin catching fire from beyond the arc. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer would put the Cats up 22-20 to end the first.
In quarter number two, Villa Rica started to flex its muscle down low with forwards Kalil Humphreys and Micah Hodges cleaning the glass and getting several putbacks for easy buckets. The 6-foot-6 junior Hodges scored eight points off the bench in the second frame as VR took a 40-29 lead into the locker room.
Coming out halftime, the Wildcats continued to build on their lead as point guard Javonte Hart continued to set his teammates up with easy scores. He would finish the contest with 12 points and five assists. This team effort would carry over into the fourth as the Wildcats cruised to the fourth victory of the season. Franklin would finish the game with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Micah Hodges added 13 points and six boards.
Robinson noted how the Wildcats' masterful job of rebounding the ball is aiding them early in the season.
"We haven't shot the ball like I think we're capable of doing, but it's starting to come around. What we're really doing well is rebounding the ball like crazy," Robinson said. "Our last two games we've been able to get extra possessions and frustrate other teams. Micah Hodges and Kalil Humphreys have really played big for us. They've really embraced their roles of crashing boards and being active defensively."
One couldn't ask for a better start to region play, as Villa Rica is now 3-0 against 7-AAAAA competition. For Robinson, it's good to get ahead of the curb.
"These wins are huge especially when it comes to tie-breakers and things like that," Robinson said. "Our goal has always been to win them all at home and half of them on the road. If we can do that, then we'll be where we need to be come time for the region tournament for seeding purposes."
The Wildcats will be back in action at home this Friday at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts Hiram.