by Chris Hunt
As most first-year programs often do, the Hough boys basketball team is embracing small milestones. Recently, the Huskies were able to celebrate their first I-MECK 4A conference victory. They did it by shocking defending 4A state champion Lake Norman High School, 65-61, in Cornelius.
“It was a huge win, especially because it came in the last seconds of the game,” Hough coach Justin Batts said. “I told the guys in the locker room after the win that we got our first conference win before the end of our first trip through the league. They realize that if they play together as a unit it’s going to offer success. This one was nice to celebrate a little bit.”
Without a senior on his roster, Batts has had to rely on plenty of youth and inexperience this season. Freshman Jaqueaz Jackson sealed the game against Lake Norman, making three of four free throws in the final seconds.
“Jaqueaz is always calm and collected,” Batts said of his freshman’s demeanor late in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats. “Sometimes it eats at you how laid back he is, but in that situation, it works.”
Batts added that there’s still plenty of work to be done this season. He hopes his young squad improves on in its second trip through the I-MECK 4A.
Batts said losses to Vance by 45 points, North Mecklenburg by 28 and Hopewell by 23 were below expectations and he hoped his team would be more competitive the second time around. While they didn’t get their second league victory, the Huskies met their coach’s expectations on Jan. 21 in a competitive three-point loss to Vance, 50-47.