Tag Archives: Upson-Lee

Georgia Tech team camp Day 1 notes Part 2

By Rameen Forghani

South Cobb 44, Shiloh 37

It was a tale of two halves for South Cobb, who after falling behind 19-12 to Shiloh in the first half, took advantage of a barrage of floaters and fouls to open the second half and give them just enough firepower to overcome Shiloh in what was the closest game of the night. Shiloh shot 41.2% from the field in the first half (7-17) while South Cobb shot only 25% from the field (4-16).

Shiloh fell into foul trouble early, surrendering seven fouls in the first eight minutes of the first half, compounded by early point guard troubles turning the ball over too often before the team could fall into an offensive set. In an otherwise poor half of basketball, Shiloh ended the half with 9 defensive rebounds and 5 offensive boards, compared to South Cobb’s 10 and 5 rebounds, respectively.

An early run of easy buckets in the paint to open the second half for South Cobb propelled them to the victory, making three straight from the field and two from the stripe before missing. Although outrebounded by Shiloh in the second half, South Cobb shot 71.4% from two-point land (10-14) along with 73.3% from the free throw line (11-15), superior to Shiloh’s 31.8% from the field (7-22).

Shiloh’s inexperienced squad stayed in the 2-3 zone, whereas South Cobb played man with a high press, which at times gave Shiloh issues moving the ball. A technical foul called against a Shiloh guard for complaining about a no-call gave in a tight game gave South Cobb the momentum to finish the game a combined 5-for-7.

Sandy Creek 49, Upson-Lee 34

Upson-Lee head coach Darrell Lockhart elected to sit his frontcourt for the first half of this contest and Sandy Creek took advantage. The lack of depth was evident for Upson-Lee as they struggled to move the ball offensively and get themselves good looks. Indicative of the half that the Knights were enduring, an Upson-Lee assistant coach yelled prior to a trip to the line, “Can you make a free throw?” The answer to his question was promptly answered by the ball’s clang off of the rim.

Sandy Creek was able to build off of their point guard’s energy and post a respectable first half performance. Sandy Creek led 20-8 at the half.
​Despite Tye Fagan and co. checking in to start the second half, Upson-Lee was unable to legitimately contend with the Patriots, a bit worrying for a reigning state champion. As the final score reflects, the Knight starters were unable to close the deficit or stop the Patriots defensively.

Despite rough shooting in the first three halves of basketball on the day for Sandy Creek, their jump shooting improved markedly in the second half. The Patriots were also able to force turnovers and wreak havoc in the waxing seconds of Upson-Lee advancing the ball past midcourt. Sandy Creek was impressive in their ability to stay tough and maintain their aggression throughout the game, attacking the ball handler and leaving them little room to make a play.

Shiloh 66, Duluth 50

Shiloh exploited a tired Duluth early and never looked back cruising to a 66-50 victory in a game that was, for all intents and purposes, over before the half. Shiloh harassed Duluth early in the paint on both sides of the ball, driving and seemingly scoring at will. Shiloh’s early successes in the paint freed up the perimeter, which Shiloh aptly recognized and scored by.

Duluth was simply a step behind and a step too slow to stop Shiloh’s offense; their fatigue showed on jump shots, which consistently came up short of the basket.

The box score is very indicative of the general disposition of the game. With 8 minutes gone in the first half, Shiloh led 16-5. At the end of the first half, the score was 45-21, again in favor of Shiloh. With only 6 minutes played in the second half, the scoreboard showed 57-29.

Tye Fagan, No. 2 Upson-Lee officially announce their statewide legitimacy in destruction of No. 3 LaGrange

No. 2 Upson-Lee 68, No. 3 LaGrange 50

In the LaGrange Toyota Classic Championship, No. 2 Upson-Lee (15-0) faced its biggest test yet: No. 3 LaGrange (11-2) in a bandbox gymnasium harkening back to decades and decades of success with four state title banners hanging on the walls. Over the past three seasons, both teams have seen the wins pile up. Upson-Lee gained relevancy back in 2014-15 as a No. 4 seed in the Class AAAA playoffs, taking a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight. Last season the Knights rolled off 17-straight wins heading into the playoffs but were upset in the first round by New Hampstead. Fast forward to present day, the Knights marched into the Championship game with a chance to make a statement – and they did.

From the opening tip, the Knights and junior wing Tye Fagan were locked in. The potent 6-foot-3 lefty who averages upwards of 24 points per game banked in a baseline three to open the game from the right corner and from there the rout was on.

Laperion Perry, LaGrange’s senior leader at guard, knocked in a three to answer as it looked like a back-and-forth game was in store, but instead it was just a Fagan coming out party. He scored 10 points in the first quarter and got help from senior Michael Smith and sophomore Zyrice Scott throughout. Smith picked up a steal and bucket to help the Knights go up by seven as the game quickly started to slip away from the Grangers with the quarter ending with the Knights ahead 19-9.

Upson-Lee’s quick start proved to be the haymaker and knockout punch in the first round. LaGrange never got off the mat as they saw the lead balloon to 31-16 after a Fagan jumper,

and even higher following a Scott triple.

Scott, a baby-faced sophomore who is nowhere near done growing and maturing, played like a grizzled vet alongside Fagan, dropping in 16 points and collecting five rebounds and four steals. The two powered the Knights to a 36-20 halftime lead, Fagan with 20 points by himself as the Granger fans were at a loss for words with the gym buzzing about the opening 16 minutes.

Things got uglier and uglier as the Fagan show entered its second act. He netted nine more points and drilled his second three of the game in the process.

Entering the fourth quarter Upson-Lee and Head Coach Darrell Lockhart called the dogs off up 61-31. Fagan exited the game with 2:05 left with the Knights up 28, finishing with a game-high 31 points.

Covan Huzzie scored 12 points all in the fourth quarter for the Grangers to make the score more palatable including a three at the buzzer. Bo Russell played hard and finished with 11 points, but Perry and 6-foot-6 Bryan Fanning were held to six and four points respectively.

My Take

When I started this website, I did it for fun and because I wanted to cover the entire state the way it deserves to be covered. With the state being as good as it is – it’s the best in the entire nation – it’s a darn shame that there will always be a handful of fringe D-I/II kids who have major college talent but don’t get enough exposure to have the opportunity to play basketball at a high level. Not every kid like this has to go D-I or deserves to be, but their name needs to be out there for colleges to at least acknowledge their presence and do their due diligence and at the bare minimum take five minutes out of their day to watch a video clip of a player. With that being said, players like Tye Fagan are what high school basketball and Sandy’s Spiel are all about. Thomaston, Ga. is far from the glitz and glam of Metro Atlanta, but boy do they have a special team at Upson-Lee, fueled by Fagan, a nearly straight-A student and a habitual winner. Fagan was a man amongst boys against a very good high school program in LaGrange. Fagan made LaGrange look like they didn’t even belong on the same floor as the Knights and that’s against very good high school players like Laperion Perry, Bryan Fanning, Bo Russell and more. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and that’s what everyone in the crowd did for Fagan. From his opening three-pointer, the lefty was on a mission. He showed the full arsenal, slipping his way to the basket, taking the ball in the low post, hitting two threes and even finishing with his right hand in traffic twice. Defensively he blocked shots and played the passing lanes. He along with sophomores Zyrice Scott and 6-foot-6 defensive end with an Alabama offer, Travon Walker, know nothing but winning. The core has gone somewhere around the record of 125-8 since they all started playing together and the group won the 16U USSSA National Championship this year with the locally based Middle Georgia Supersonics, going a perfect 6-0 in the tournament, winning by an average of 29.5 points per game. The scary part is the trio has one more year together and they will only get better. Scott is a rock solid point guard and Walker sucks up rebounds and has soft hands and good feet on the block. He admittedly said he didn’t play well after the game but he still contributed five points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Senior Michael Smith is a crucial fourth scoring option. The shooter knocked down three triples on the night. Upson-Lee’s biggest issue come state tournament time will be their depth. If any of the big three get in foul trouble, there will be problems. Outside of Walker, there isn’t a ton of height inside for Coach Lockhart. If this isn’t the year for a state title run, next year has a very real possibility of being it, as long as the Knights can develop one or two more players around their core. Expect the Knights to be in a gym near you this time next year in a major holiday tournament…

LaGrange is a much better team than they showed. They were just shell-shocked by Upson-Lee and I fully expect Coach Mark Veal to use the game as a teaching moment and to build momentum heading into an interesting region schedule. They host No. 1 Sandy Creek on January 13, a game with enormous statewide implications. The score will of that game will be something everyone will want to keep an eye on. There wasn’t much to pull from against Upson-Lee other than Bo Russell playing extremely hard all night and Kenan Grey being a load inside, but even he was held to four points along with Bryan Fanning as they ran into Walker inside.

Top Performers

Upson-Lee
Tye Fagan – 31 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Zyrice Scott – 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Michael Smith – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Travon Walker – 5 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks

LaGrange
Covan Huzzie – 12 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Bo Russell – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Laperion Perry – 6 points, 1 assist, 3 steals

Middle Georgia Supersonics win 16U USSSA National Championship

The boys from Middle Georgia romped their way to the 16U HoopSeen/USSSA National Championship this past weekend at Suwanee Sports Academy. The Supersonics finished a perfect 6-0 with an average margin of victory of 29.5 points, scoring two wins by 46 and 47 points. In the championship game, the Sonics raced out to a large early lead and never looked back, coasting to a 65-42 win over Team Phoenix.

Consisting of players from Upson-Lee, Taylor County, Perry, Crawford County, Manchester and First Presbyterian Day, the Supersonics’ full-court trapping press wreaked havoc all weekend forcing turnovers that led to easy buckets.

The catalyst for the Supersonics was sophomore point guard Zyrice Scott. Scott led a trio of Upson-Lee Knights (23-4) that powered the Supersonics on both ends of the floor. The slight of build 5-foot-10 guard was lethal in transition. In the Sonics’ 81-34 rout of the Tampa Bayhawks, Scott netted a game-high 20 points. He drilled five threes and punished the Bayhawks when they left him open. Scott doesn’t have a lightning fast trigger on his jumper, but he is pure once he sets his feet and lines it up. With the ball in his hands, Scott is quick laterally and can shake his way past defenders. He scored eight points in a 62-29 win over the Rebels and in the finals he added 12 points.

Don't let his look fool you. Zyrice Scott can play.
Don’t let his look fool you. Zyrice Scott can play.

While Scott provided the outside shooting, big man and fellow Knight Travon Walker was a wrecking ball inside. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound star defensive tackle with an offer from UGA already entering just his sophomore season, can get the job done on the hardwood as well. Mobility, strength and length were all on display for Walker. He and Scott worked the pick-and-roll with Walker diving hard to the basket for easy buckets.

Walker excelled at catching passes while on the move and rebounding in traffic. His soft hands and strong grip allowed him to control the paint. He posted 15 points and nine rebounds against the Bayhawks and eight points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks against the Rebels. In the championship Walker once again led the Sonics with 12 points, winning his battle with 6-foot-7 Ibrahim Dodo.

Travon Walker will be a top big in Middle Georgia
Travon Walker will be a top big in Middle Georgia

The third-head of the Supersonic attack? Tye Fagan. The 6-foot-3 junior guard that led Upson-Lee in scoring last season at 20 points per game came off the bench as an electric sixth man. Fagan’s consistency and ability to score in bunches was something no other team was able to match. Fagan scored from all three levels, showing a three-point touch, a mid-range game and the ability to take smaller defenders into the post and shoot over them.

Fagan, a 3.6 GPA student, disrupted opponents with his active hands atop the Supersonic press. Against the Bayhawks he tossed in 10 points, three assists and three steals. He then went for 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks vs. the Rebels.

Tye Fagan is a versatile scorer
Tye Fagan is a versatile scorer

Perry High School’s Jake Smith also announced his presence with his play this weekend. The 6-foot-1 rising junior netted 10 points against the Rebels and contributed on defense and with his passing throughout the weekend. As a sophomore at Perry (18-11), Smith averaged 5.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals and a team-leading 4.2 assists per game.

Travon Walker wasn’t the only star football player on the court with the Middle Georgia Supersonics. Lyn-J Dixon of Taylor County provided a spark off the bench with his non-stop motor and electric athleticism. Dixon, who gained national headlines after his 451-yard, 5-TD performance last season as a running back – yes, a running back – is entering his junior season and holds offers from Alabama, Tennessee and UGA.

Back to the court; Dixon added 12 points and three steals off the bench against the Bayhawks. Dixon is at his best in the open court and soars to the hoop in transition once he attacks the lane. He and Jahnile Hill (Manchester) added a dimension of relentlessness off the bench, both smothering opposing ball handlers and igniting the Sonics’ press.

Though the GHSA state championships have been moved out of Macon, there is still plenty of reason to visit Middle Georgia. The area is filled with talent and will give the Metro Atlanta schools a run for their money whenever they meet.

Featured Photo by Ty Freeman|HoopSeen