West Lincoln alum Jamie Sisco has Hancock Hawks soaring into hoops postseason

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, February 3, 2024

When West Lincoln alum Jamie Sisco took the athletic director position in 2013 at Hancock High School, he hung up his whistle for a while.

Sisco had previously been both the head boys’ and girls’ basketball coach in his career at Ocean Springs High School but took a step back from the sideline when he was hired at Hancock.

Then, when Gulfport High poached his head girls’ basketball coach, Brooke Glass, in 2017, Sisco dusted off his clipboard to lead a Hancock High program that’s got a great tradition.

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On Thursday, Sisco and MHSAA 6A Hancock finished up the regular season with a 42-29 win at 7A title contenders Harrison Central (22-4).

The victory moves HHS to 26-1 on the season, with that lone loss coming in a tournament to Hoover High (22-7) of Alabama by three points.

Hancock had previously beaten Harrison Central 49-31 in December and put together a perfect 10-0 region record during the regular season.

Next up is the region tourney, hosted by Picayune.

Last season, Sisco and his team put together a similarly impressive regular season as they finished 27-1 ahead of the division tournament.

Disaster struck in the postseason though. Biloxi High upset Hancock in the opening round and then the Hawks were eliminated by Gulfport 29-27 in the consolation game.

“We had some late season injuries that really hurt us last year and we’re dealing with a similar situation right now, but I’ve had some players step up and play their best when we’ve needed it,” said Sisco. “We recently had junior Anslee James go down with an injury and in my opinion, she’s the best player south of Jackson in the state that nobody knows about. She’s the toughest kid on the team, so playing without her is a challenge, but it’s one we’ve got to overcome.”

Sisco’s team is led in scoring by senior guard Brooklyn Cuaves, who’s signed to next play at William Carey University. There are already three alums of Hancock on the current roster at William Carey (14-3).

“Brooklyn is 5-foot-8 and last night she was going up against a 6-foot-2 player from Harrison Central (Anaisha Carriere) that’s signed with Mississippi State,” said Sisco. “Over the last quarter of the game, Brooklyn absolutely shut her down. That’s the type of kids we’ve got. They play with a lot of heart and determination.”

Cuaves is the daughter of a former Hancock player who won a state title back in 2004 under longtime coach Pam Slayton.

The care for basketball and the way that the game is played by some of the same families, generation after generation, makes Hancock feel like a bigger version of West Lincoln in many ways.

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Sisco. “It’s very similar to West Lincoln, but it’s just a lot bigger. I’ve not only really got a great group of players, but I’ve got an awesome group of parents. They trust how our program is being run and are 100 percent on board with whatever decisions I make. We travel very well, so we’re always getting invited to tournaments because people know that Hancock High is going to show up.”

Sisco is a combined 152-53 during his seven years on the bench at Hancock.

He and his staff shifted the mindset of the team ahead of this season in order to wash off the disappointment they experienced a year ago when the season ended.

“We used to go through and list out a bunch of goals before the season, but this year we just had one goal, that is to win a state championship,” said Sisco. “And we knew that to reach that goal, we’d need to be able to refocus and reset after every game. “Win the next game,” has kind of become our rallying cry and it’s a mindset that the girls have fully bought into.”

The 6A semifinals will be held in the Mississippi Coliseum on Feb.28. Should the Hawks make it that far, expect to see some West Lincoln green mixed in with a huge crowd of Hancock High supporters to cheer on Sisco and his team.