Area rivals Wilkinson County High School and Baldwin High School are playing the first of three contests against each other this season tonight in Macon at the Macon Centreplex in the Mac-Town Shootout.

The Braves and Warriors are two of eight teams in the Middle Georgia area to participate in the shootout, which is the first year of the event.

“It will be a big court, but I like it because if we advance in the state playoffs to Columbus, that too is a big court and it will give us experience playing on the big court,” said Baldwin head coach Lenwood May.

The last time Baldwin and Wilco met, the Braves defeated the Warriors 56-53 in front of a sold out Centennial Center. May said he expects the crowd at the Centreplex to be even bigger tonight.

“There will be more people because teams from Middle Georgia will bring people who normally won’t get to us play will be there,” May said. “So there is a good chance for a lot of people.”

During the game in February at the Centennial Center, the Braves held Wilkinson County’s Senario Hilliman to just 10 points.

May said if his team can stop Hillman again and play their style of game, he likes his chances.

“If we are able to play at our pace, then I like our chances,” May said. “But if we allow them to play at their pace, we have problems. We are going to play hard and hopefully, we will stop them.”

Baldwin is 6-1 this season, with its only loss coming to Hancock Central in the two teams’ second meeting of the season Dec. 6.

“They are more focused now,” May said about how is team handled the loss. “Teams early on tried to do a lot of open court play. Now teams are slowing it down. That is what Hancock did. They were more open which allowed us to get into transition. In the second game, they slowed it down and it worked to their advantage.”

The Braves and Warriors (9-0) meet at 8:30 p.m. The first game gets under way at 4 p.m. with Taylor County facing Peach County. At 5:30 p.m., Northeast Macon and Jones County square off, followed at 7 p.m. with the Hancock Central/Dublin matchup.

Albert Armstrong of Mac-Town Sports Incorporated said he hopes next season’s event can turn into a two-day event. He said one reason it wasn’t two days this year is because the Macon Centreplex had only one day open.

Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the Macon Centreplex ticket office.

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