By Doug Gorman
There's something about the state tournament that brings out the best in Henry County basketball player Briana Williams.
A year ago, she turned in a 48-point performance at the Class AA state tournament on the way to leading her team to the Final Four.
Saturday in the Ladyhawks' first-round opener against Brooks County, the Mercer-bound senior again had the hot hand as Henry County advanced with an 87-49 victory.
Williams scored 38 points, including 27 in the first half as Henry County dominated the game against the Lady Trojans.
"She scored 38 and didn't play much in the fourth quarter," Henry head coach Carl Caputa said. "She is unselfish, so I can't say it was just her alone. Things clicked and it was a good win for us."
Tiana Taylor added 14 and Kylaine Rogers 12 to join in the scoring parade for the Ladyhawks.
"It's nice to get hot at tournament time," Caputa said."That's what you work on the hole year."
Brooks was led by Jasmine Mapp's 22 points most coming with her play from inside the paint The Ladyhawks play Laney (24-3) Wednesday at home. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. Laney comes into the game after beating St. Vincent's Academy 69-49.
Henry County has been on a roll lately, winning five straight games.
The Ladyhawks built an 8-0 lead after Tisha Taylor connected on an early first-quarter basket.
Brooks then rattled off five straight points and cut the gap to 8-5 when Khadija Jones hit a 3-point shot to trim the lead to 8-5.
It was as close as the Lady Trojans could get.
Henry County led 22-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Ladyhawks pulled away in the second quarter behind some solid shooting from the outside. Henry County rolled into the locker room at the half after drilling six shots from behind the 3-point line.
Williams added to her scoring totals by finishing the quarter with four treys.
Ashley Johnson and Taylor connected on one 3-point shot each and the Ladyhawks led 51-27 at the break.
Henry County pushed the lead to 74-41 after three quarters and held the Lady Trojans to just seven points in the fourth quarter.