Bobby Carter admits it. As much as he enjoys watching the Hephzibah girls basketball team play, he's tired of playing in the Lady Rebels' shadow.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the Hephzibah boys team could be headed to the state tournament. The only thing standing in its way is Central Macon, the Rebels opponent tonight at 7 in the Region 2-AAAA tournament at Westside High in Macon.
For the past few seasons, the boys teams have been overshadowed by the Lady Rebels' success. But that is starting to change.
"We've had our mind set from the beginning of the season," Carter said. "We don't believe that anybody around here really respects us.
It's all about the Hephzibah girls, which is good. But we want to be respected too."
With seven seniors on the team, the Rebels are hoping to include themselves on the same map as the Lady Rebels.
Since coach Steve Nobles took over three years ago, he's been trying to take his team out of the shadows of the girls program. The Rebels are 15-6 this season, blitzing through the Region 2-AAAA East subregion with a 6-0 record.
"It's satisfying that we're finally getting the respect from other people," Nobles said. "But first of all, I have to give credit to the players that are here."
Leading scorers Taurean Spann, or T as his teammates call him, and 6-foot-4 Carter are the Rebels' go-to-guys, but there really aren't any dominating players on this team, just a bunch of players who want to win.
Nobles likes senior Justin Jackson's size on the inside as well as seniors Tavarius Maxwell and Godfrey Farmer's ability to shoot from the outside. Seniors Joe Bright, Charles Williams and Allen Walker, all seniors have played key roles.
A solid group of underclassmen like juniors B.J. Curtis, Charles Williams and Gavin Willingham and sophomore Calvin Roland should help the Rebels be a contender next season.
"Last year we started off kind of good but then we kind of dwindled in the end," Spann said. "Coach Nobles told us before the season that we're going to change this tradition about the Hephzibah boys not winning the subregion and stuff."
This group isn't just set on winning tonight to qualify for the state tournament. They want the whole Region 2-AAAA title as well.
"We want to win it for coach Nobles," Carter said. "Then we want to win it for ourselves and for the school. We want everyone to know the Hephzibah boys team isn't a fluke."
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216.