Douglas County will get a chance to see how much its has grown over the last 10 games.
The Tigers host top-ranked Langston Hughes tonight in a Region 5-AAAAAA contest. Langston Hughes is the last team the Tigers lost to before going on their current 10-game winning streak.
Langston Hughes could be the best team in the state, regardless of classification.
In an earlier meeting in Fairburn, the Panthers won by 35 points.
“This is big in terms of this being a region contest,” Douglas County coach Hollis Bethea said. “If we win, we are in first place in the region. We also want to see how we have grown. The first time I don’t think we were ready to play Langston Hughes. We weren’t ready.”
Following the loss, the Tigers went on a 10-game win streak, which included an impressive win over Westlake. Douglas County recent won the Tucker Christmas Shootout, and on Monday defeated Lincoln of Florida in the Big South Shootout in Duluth.
“We feel we have played some tough opponents that have gotten us ready,” Bethea said.
The players agreed with their coaches assessment.
“Our confidence is really high right now, and we are just not content with this winning streak,” Tigers junior Malik Battle said. “Our defense has picked up, and we feel we can play with anybody.”
Douglas County is 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the region while the Panthers come into the 7:30 p.m. contest at 11-3 and 6-0.
Langston Hughes had a nine-game winning streak snapped with a 60-55 loss to Blanche Ely of Florida in the Tournament of Champions Holiday Class at Wheeler over the Christmas break.
The Panthers are riding a two-game win streak into tonight’s contest.
Langston Hughes senior Landers Nolley is making a case for himself to be the state player of the year. The Virginia Tech signee is averaging 32.5 points and nine rebounds per contest.
A 6-foot-7 guard/forward, Nolley had 24 points in the first meeting between the schools.
After starting the sea on 0-2, Langston Hughes has won 11 of its last 12 games.
“We played some really good teams to start the season,” Panthers coach Rory Welsh said. “We only had one returning starter, so we were basically ironing some things out. It took us a couple games for the filling out process. I think we have been more consistent.”
Douglas County has a balance scoring attack with three players in double figures scoring including Battle (16.2 points), Cam Copeland (14.9 points) and Rickey Clark (12.8 points).
Copeland comes off the bench for the Tigers.
“With Douglas County, we know they are always going to be prepared,” Welsh said. “Although we are not in the same county, this is sort a rivalry game for us. We are going into it expecting a dogfight.”