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Albany hoops surging despite setbacks

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The Albany boys' basketball team has won 23 of its 25 games this season, and is in the third round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

However, this year's success hasn't come without challenges. Two of the Lions' biggest players -- Dax Neece and Cameron Dacus -- have been fighting injuries this season.

"Obviously the guys we lost have a lot of skill, and I'm definitely not as good as them so I had to stick with hard work instead of skill," senior Henry Kelly said.

Kelly and Adam Faith are two of the players that have stepped up during Neece and Dacus' abscence.

"The most difficult part has been on offense because they are really good scorers and it was tough losing them," said Faith. "Other people had to pick up their roles."

Both Kelly and Faith said head coach Ryder Peacock didn't have to tell them about expanding their roles and picking up their performances.

Instead, they could see their team was in need and knew they had to contribute more.

Albany faces McCamey in the Class 2A Region I quarterfinal on Tuesday night at 7 in Sterling City.

If the Lions win, they will advance to their third straight regional tournament. But from the beginning of the season, Peacock has made it clear that the goal is to go even further.

"He didn't even mention getting district champs," said Kelly. "He said this is the year he wants to go past regionals and go where no team in Albany has gone before."

That would mean the state tournament in San Antonio next week. A stage Albany has never reached.

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