High School Sports

Familiar face has Hancock girls trending up in latest Sun Herald rankings

Kalin Smith shoots from the wing for Hancock on Saturday, March 7, 2015, in the MHSAA state basketball tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum on Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson. Smith is once again one of Hancock’s leaders on the hardwood.
Kalin Smith shoots from the wing for Hancock on Saturday, March 7, 2015, in the MHSAA state basketball tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum on Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson. Smith is once again one of Hancock’s leaders on the hardwood. Special to the Sun Herald file

Hancock’s Jamie Sisco is pulling double duty this year. In addition to being the school’s athletics director, Sisco has also taken over the Lady Hawks’ basketball program.

Sisco took over as HHS AD five years ago, and while he always thought he might move back to his courtside seat at some point, a domino of events this offseason expedited his timetable.

When Brooke Glass moved over to take Gulfport’s job — she also has her No. 4 Lady Admirals off to a strong 2-0 start — Sisco felt it was time to make the move.

“I always intended to coach again, I just didn’t think it would be this soon,” said Sisco, who was the Sun Herald’s Girls Coach of the Year in 2012. “The opportunity presented itself and I felt it was best for the program at this time.”

The change has been refreshing for both Sisco and his Lady Hawks, who jumped up to No. 3 in this week’s Sun Herald rankings after their 4-0 start.

Through their first four games, HHS has knocked off Green County, West Harrison, No. 7 Pass Christian and Biloxi, holding the last three teams to under 23 points.

Sisco said he basically carried over the philosophies of former coaches Glass and Pam Slayton — just with a new voice.

“I have based our whole philosophy on playing defense, rebounding and playing hard,” he said. “Everything else will take care of itself and so far the kids have bought in.”

Why defense, rebounding and playing hard? In today’s basketball landscape, where teams at all levels are looking to open up the offense and run up and down the court, Hancock’s philosophy is a bit of a throwback.

“We focused on those three things because that’s what you can control with effort,” he said. “Some nights the ball just isn’t going to go in the net — that’s just how it is.”

Just because Hancock wants to play slow, doesn’t mean that’s the Lady Hawks’ only speed, however. Sisco said their speed will be determined by the flow of the game.

“I have told our kids that ideally we’d like to score a little bit more, but at the end of the day, for us to have success we have to play at the pace we want to play. If we can do that, we’ll be fine,” he said. “As a coach, I feel like it’s my job to control the flow of the game; when to flow and when to slow down.”

Hancock is also aided by a starting lineup comprised only of seniors.

Kalin Smith leads the team in scoring with 12 points and 2.5 steals per game. Jaylin Ladner is the team’s point guard. She’s averaging 10.8 ppg along with 2.8 assists. Volleyball players Madison Ladner and Karringten Perkins add athleticism inside and lead the team with 8.0 and 4.3 rebounds respectively. The team’s fifth starter, softball standout Kaylan Ladner, is also a strong rebounder and provides a veteran influence along with a calming presence.

“We have good kids who know how to play basketball,” Sisco said. “They all help our team in a big way. They all have a job to do, and do it well.”

Schedule change: Due to Hancock’s football team playing at Pearl on Friday, the Hancock-West Harrison basketball game has been moved to Wednesday. The

girls’ game is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Sun Herald Boys Top 10

School (PTS)

Record

PVS

1. Harrison Central (28)

1-1

1

2. Biloxi (27)

4-0

6

T3. Ocean Springs (22)

2-1

7

T3. St. Martin (22)

3-0

T4

5. Gulfport (18)

1-1

2

T6. Pascagoula (15)

1-1

3

T6. Picayune (15)

2-0

T8

8. Bay (9)

0-1

T8

9. George County (6)

1-2

T4

10. Pass Christian (2)

0-2

T10

Dropped out: Long Beach (1; 1-1; T10)

Sun Herald Girls Top 10

School (PTS)

Record

PVS

1. Harrison Central (30)

2-0

1

2. St. Martin (27)

2-0

2

3. Hancock (21)

4-0

NR

T4. Gulfport (19)

2-0

8

T4. East Central (19)

2-1

4

6. Ocean Springs (15)

2-1

T6

T7. Pass Christian (11)

2-2

T6

T7. Picayune (11)

2-1

NR

T9. Bay (4)

1-2

5

T9. Long Beach (4)

3-0

NR

Dropped out: Biloxi (2; 1-3; 3), Pascagoula (0; 0-1; 9), West Harrison (0l 0-3; 10)

Receiving votes: D’Iberville (2; 1-1; NR)

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