Most teams would do anything for a 21-5 record…but the Rabun County Lady Wildcats aren’t most teams. For head coach DeeDee Dillard and the girls, it’s “a bit of disappointment” in terms of wins-losses. Look no further than last year’s 29-3 team that made it to the State Championship game.
However, Dillard and the #9-ranked Lady Wildcats are fresh off a 30-point win in the Region 8-AA tournament opener last night over Social Circle. The win not only punched yet another state playoff ticket for one of Georgia’s biggest powerhouse programs, but it also set up a classic rematch with rivals Banks County (#4-ranked), who took down the Lady Cats in both meetings so far this year.
The 8-AA quarterfinals will be played Thursday night at Putnam, with the winner of the Rabun/Banks game moving on to the region title game against the #2-Putnam-vs-Elbert game.
“We have every goal in front of us that we set out to accomplish,” says Dillard. “The region championship is still within our reach…a deep state playoff run, that’s obviously still obtainable for us.”
Dillard, in her 12th season as head coach of the program, has only had one year in which her Lady Cats didn’t make state (2007-08) despite going 18-7 overall. Dillard’s win-loss record to date stands at 266-71 (.789 win%).
“We know how to win and what it takes to win,” says senior Jaden Quilliams, who is one of only two seniors on this year’s team. “We don’t get complacent…we focus on the future and what we have to do to [get better].”
While the Lady Wildcats are certainly seeking a region championship and, ultimately, a state title, it’s the old cliche “one game at a time” that keeps the girls grounded.
“Right now we’re just focusing on Banks County,” says junior Georgia Stockton, a recent 1,000-point scorer and Presbyterian College commit. “Our goal is to win region…the sky is the limit for us. We’re going to focus on winning region, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”
Regardless of what happens in Thursday night’s game against Banks County, Rabun can still, and probably will, make yet another deep playoff run in hopes of getting back to the title game.