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Lady Hawks looking for TSSAA championship title

By Brandon Shields

Managing editor

When the South Side Lady Hawks take the court at the Murphy Center on Thursday in the Class 3A state quarterfinals, it will be the eighth time for the program to compete in the state tournament.

It will be the fourth time for the program to do it since Brent McNeal took over as coach in the spring of 2010.

It will also be the third time in a row for the program to do it, meaning older players like senior Kimora Currie should almost be able to conduct a guided tour of the basketball facility at Middle Tennessee State University.

“It’s a big stage in a different environment, but a basketball game is still a basketball game,” said South Side head coach Brent McNeal Saturday night after his team had defeated Macon County in the Class 3A sectional at the Hawks’ Nest earlier in the day.

South Side and Macon County had played a little earlier than usual in the day to give the visiting team a little extra time to get on the road and home since Macon is on the Kentucky border about two counties away from Interstate 40 and about 30 minutes on the other side of Nashville.

But that early tip time gave South Side a chance to go to Dyersburg and watch the Lady Trojans eliminate Covington.

Dyersburg is South Side’s opponent on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

“They’re a good team that is good enough to be playing in Murfreesboro,” McNeal said. “But we’re good enough to be here too.

“If we weren’t, we probably wouldn’t be here. But I’ve been with this team, seen how hard it works and how they play when they’re on the court. We earned our way to this point too.”

The Lady Hawks started the season young with little experience and not having a leader on the floor.

But that was November. The Lady Hawks have gone through a tough non-district schedule, competed with some of the better programs in this state, and traveled to a Christmas tournament in Gatlinburg that had some of the top programs in the southeastern United States.

Then they returned home and got into district play. Chester County swept South Side in the regular season, including handing the Lady Hawks their first home loss in six years.

But other than that, they’ve rolled through the district, won the district championship, won their region championship and then won the sectional.

Now it’s back to Murfreesboro, where the program has won five games out of the six it’s played there in the last two years.

Can they repeat their recent success and continue to be a force to be reckoned with at the state tournament?

The answer to that question will begin to be answered on Thursday.

Brandon Shields,

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