Sour Shooting Sinks No. 7 East Hall at 56th annual Lanierland

Flowery Branch 62, No. 7 East Hall 56

Following a 72-49  defeat suffered by the girls team on their home floor to No. 2 Flowery Branch, the No. 7 East Hall boys had their sights set on capturing their first Lanierland title since 2010. It didn’t happen. The Vikings slipped to 9-4 on the season in Valhalla to a red-hot Flowery Branch team, 62-56. The Falcons advanced to 9-5 and now are winners of seven straight, but more importantly, owners of their first-ever Lanierland trophy.

The Vikings held a 15-11 lead after one behind two Triston Cooper threes. But once the second quarter rolled around, the basket got tighter and tighter for the host team. The senior would not score again in the game as East Hall managed to shoot just 15-of-58 from the field, 25 percent. While the Vikings hit rough waters, the Falcons began to take flight. Senior forward Gabe Holston scored seven points in the second quarter and finished tied for a game-high with 15 points. The 6-foot-3 forward’s rebounding was a difference in the game as he pounded the glass for 17 rebounds and was named tournament MVP following the game.

John Mills, one of the Falcons’ most lethal scorers, was saddled with foul trouble in the first half and scored just six points in the opening 16 minutes while running mate Brannon Clark chipped in seven to lead Flowery Branch to a 29-24 lead at the break.

At the 5:21 mark of the third quarter Flowery Branch extended its lead to a game-high 10 points at 36-26. Markese Jackson and Tylor Brown wouldn’t let the game get out of hand for the proud program. Both Jackson and Brown scored 15 apiece with the two combining for 22 points in the second half. The Vikings trailed 42-34 heading into the championship deciding final quarter.

Down eight, East Hall finally made its move and cut the lead to 52-47 with 2:14 remaining after Andy Lara drove and found Luke Cooper for a three from the top of the key. From that point on the Vikings were inclined to start fouling and it worked.

Trey Bailey and Holston combined to go 0-of-3 from the line as East Hall inched closer at 54-51 with 1:15 to play. With a minute left, Lara drove to the rim down four, but was whistled for a travel. The Vikings would have to foul Mills who sank both and made it 57-51 before the Falcons closed the game out at the line. Mills scored eight of his 14 points in the second half while Clark netted seven of his 14 in the last two periods.

There's nothing like Lanierland
There’s nothing like Lanierland

Top Performers

Flowery Branch
Gabe Holston – 15 points, 17 rebounds
Brannon Clark – 14 points, 5 rebounds
John Mills – 14 points
Trey Bailey – 8 points, 4 rebounds

East Hall
Tylor Brown – 15 points, 7 rebounds
Markese Jackson – 15 points, 3 rebounds
Luke Cooper – 11 points

Third Place Game

North Hall 73, West Hall 61


Top Performers

North Hall
Carson Heinen  – 21 points (15 in 2H), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
Evan Easton – 25 points
Sam Jackson – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal

West Hall
Dylan Curry – 28 points (22 in 1H), 2 steals
Xzavier Reid – 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks
Esteban Ulloa – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Tyquan Statham – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block

No. 1 Laney spoils No. 10 Thomson in clash of area’s best

As always, the incomparable Chad Cook (@AugBball) was on-hand to witness 3A No. 1 Laney (12-0) and 4A No. 10 Thomson (9-2) in a meeting of two of the Augusta area’s best teams. The Wildcats held on 62-58 at home.  Below is the Augusta Guru’s analysis. Be sure to visit his site for more coverage on this game and everything Augusta.

No. 2 McIntosh Dunks No. 8 Milton at Lake City Classic

5A No. 2 McIntosh 74, 6A No. 8 Milton 68

 The 4:00 P.M. slot of Lake City Classic at Allatoona High School was one of the most intriguing games of the day. Powerhouse No. 2 McIntosh playing against the No. 8 ranked team in the state’s highest classification, Milton.

As they do against so many teams, the Chiefs used a devastatingly balanced attack to hang on against a shorthanded Eagles team, 74-68. Milton was once again without Harvard commit, 6-foot-8 Chris Lewis who suffered a severe bone bruise two games ago after being undercut. With Lewis out, Coach Matt Kramer turned to Kyrin Galloway to play a bigger role inside. The skilled 6-foot-8 big was unafraid to show his feathery touch from outside and scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half to keep the Eagles in it.

Rewinding back to the first quarter, it was Will Washington who stole the first eight minutes. He scored McIntosh’s first nine points of the game and scored 12 points in the opening frame while Jordan Lyons was being face-guarded for a majority of the period. McIntosh stretched the lead to 19-13 after Dishon Lowery cleaned up a miss and hammered back a dunk, but the Eagles managed to stay in striking distance and entered the second quarter down 23-19.

With Auburn University Head Coach Bruce Pearl sitting courtside, the hotly recruited baby faced assassin Alex O’Connell went to work. The sweet-stroking junior guard buried two threes (three on the night) and scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the first half to pull the Eagles into a deadlock at 26 all.

But as quickly as the microwave shooter got hot, McIntosh answered right back with a flamethrower of their own. The Chiefs ripped off a 9-0 run to regain control at 35-26 with 3:05 left behind a personal 7-0 spurt from the Furman signee Lyons.

The final points of the half for McIntosh were more than just two points.

Will Washington threw down the dunk of the year with a vicious facial to give the Chiefs a 37-32 advantage heading into the half. The slithery quick playmaker glided to the basket and exploded for a left-handed stuff that resulted in two Eagles hitting the deck.

In the third quarter Milton started to chip away at the lead behind eight Galloway points. The Eagles hung around within three points but were unable to get over the hump as Lowery, Lyons and Chase Walter began to tear into the Eagle defense while Washington remained scoreless in the third. Lowery (Wofford) broke free for some easy dunks along with Walter. The two bigs cleaned up the glass as well with Lowery posting an 18-point 15-rebound double-double and Walter chipping in 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Trailing 51-46 heading into the fourth, Milton had one last push in them. The Eagles cut the lead to 56-54 but from that point on, Washington turned on the afterburners. He scored seven points and helped ignite a 12-5 run by hitting Lyons for a three with 5:47 left to eventually gain a comfortable 68-59 advantage with 2:55 to play. Milton hung around, but McIntosh went 8-of-9 from the line during the game to advance on to the second round where they meet No. 10 McEachern, who comes off an impressive 73-37 rout of No. 6 Lambert, the Longhorns’ first loss of the season.

My Take: McIntosh is extremely difficult to beat, but if they were at all vulnerable, it would start at point guard. They say the key to killing a snake is taking its head off. The head of McIntosh’s snake is Will Washington. The unsigned guard dazzled again. Milton opened up face-guarding Jordan Lyons, but I would have to argue that it is Washington that needs the ball taken out of his hands to slow down the Chiefs. Washington gets everyone involved and makes his teammates better. Dishon Lowery continues to be possibly the best rebounder in the state as he grabbed another 15 boards. The inside-out combination of Washington/Jordan Lyons and Lowery/Chase Walter is hard to match and might not be paralleled in the state in terms of true balance.

Milton showed a lot of promise without Chris Lewis. Kyrin Galloway took too many outside shots for my taste in the first half, but once he got closer to the basket he showed an ability to finish inside and clean up misses with dunks. Galloway looks like a nice stretch big in college who could improve once he continues to get stronger. Coach Matt Kramer runs a fun offense. It might not be as flashy as McIntosh’s, but someone with a basketball mind can appreciate the intricate screens, cuts and constant movement the Eagles use to get their shooters open, primarily Alex O’Connell, who moved exceptionally well without the ball to find creases in the defense. He along with Galloway, is another guy who could take his game to a whole other atmosphere once he starts to grow into his body. Justin Brown and Kendrick Summerour did nice jobs of moving the ball on offense and didn’t force anything. They are both capable scorers but understand their role of needing to move the ball around. Once Lewis is back healthy, they should have some fun matchups with No. 4 Wheeler later down the road in Region 5-AAAAAA.

Top Performers

Will Washington – 23 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists
Jordan Lyons – 20 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Dishon Lowery – 18 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
Chase Walter – 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks

Alex O’Connell – 25 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
Kyrin Galloway – 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Kendrick Summerour – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Justin Brown – 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals

Week 6 Rankings


  1. Westlake (7-2)
  2. Shiloh (6-2)
  3. Norcross (10-1)
  4. Wheeler (6-3)
  5. Tift County (10-0)
  6. Lambert (11-0)
  7. Collins Hill (10-1)
  8. Milton (9-2)
  9. Newton (7-2)
  10. McEachern (8-1)


  1. Miller Grove (9-2)
  2. McIntosh (9-1)
  3. Allatoona (9-0)
  4. Gainesville (6-1)
  5. Heritage (10-1)
  6. Cedar Shoals (11-2)
  7. Riverwood (13-0)
  8. Camden County (12-0)
  9. LaGrange (9-1)
  10. South Paulding (8-1)

Class AAAA

  1. Grady (11-0)
  2. Jonesboro (8-2)
  3. Lithonia (8-3)
  4. Liberty County (6-1)
  5. St. Pius (8-2)
  6. Walnut Grove (10-1)
  7. Sandy Creek (7-3)
  8. Eagle’s Landing (12-1)
  9. Henry County (9-3)
  10. Thomson (9-1)

Class AAA

  1. Laney (11-0)
  2. Morgan County (8-2)
  3. Jenkins (7-2)
  4. South Atlanta (9-1)
  5. Calhoun (6-0)
  6. Central Macon (8-2)
  7. East Hall (7-3)
  8. Callaway (4-2)
  9. Southwest Macon (9-3)
  10. Banks County (10-1)

Class AA

  1. Thomasville (10-0)
  2. Crawford County (8-0)
  3. Seminole County (8-1)
  4. Vidalia (10-0)
  5. Early County (6-1)
  6. Holy Innocents’ (7-3)
  7. GAC (6-4)
  8. Long County (8-2)
  9. Macon County (7-2)
  10. Wesleyan (7-2)

Class A-Private

  1. Greenforest (11-1)
  2. SWAC (6-4)
  3. St. Francis (9-3)
  4. Lakeview Academy (8-1)
  5. North Cobb Christian (8-1)
  6. St. Anne-Pacelli (7-3)
  7. Whitefield Academy (6-5)
  8. Landmark Christian (8-3)
  9. Our Lady of Mercy (7-3)
  10. Tattnall Square Academy (7-2)

Class A-Public

  1. Treutlen (7-0)
  2. Randolph-Clay (10-2)
  3. Wilkinson County (6-2)
  4. Taylor County (8-2)
  5. Lincoln County (5-1)
  6. Hawkinsville (7-3)
  7. Atkinson County (7-2)
  8. Terrell County (5-5)
  9. Wilcox County (7-4)
  10. Hancock Central (5-4)

Class AAAAAA sees no movement, but that will be sure to change after a week full of monster matchups. Lake City Classic at Allatoona High School will be hosting top programs from across the state, highlighted by nine ranked teams of which three are in 6A. No. 8 Milton squares off against 5A No. 2 McIntosh Monday afternoon at 4:00 P.M. while No. 6 Lambert and No. 10 McEachern meet afterwards at 5:30 P.M. with a chance to vastly improve their stock.

No. 3 Allatoona moves up one spot in AAAAA after winning the Rumble at the Ridge in Kentucky, where the Bucs knocked off some of the best programs in the state, scoring wins of 65-64 over Hopkinsville (No. 5 in all of Kentucky) after trailing by 10 with 1:28 left, 65-60 against Polaski Southwestern (No. 14) and 54-43 in the championship over host Pleasure Ridge Park. The play of Trey Doomes and Ephraim Tshimanga continue to dismantle opposing offenses with their pressure defense up front. LaGrange slips one spot following a loss to 3A No. 4 South Atlanta, 65-50 at the War Eagle Classic. Southwest DeKalb is replaced by No. 10 South Paulding, who debuts in the top ten. The Panthers dropped 72-70 to Morrow at the Peach State Classic which set up the Spartans to join the picture. Coach Gil Davis has the Spartans playing tough defense and finding easy baskets on offense. Junior guard Kane Williams is the straw that stirs the drink. He finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals in a 54-49 win over Blessed Trinity at the SEBA Hoopfest on Dec. 19, their last game. He along with 6-foot-7 junior Ja’Cori Wilson and lunch pail and hard hat big man Anthony Brown, make South Paulding a dangerous team.

Henry County tumbles from No. 4 in AAAA to No. 9 after consecutive losses to Whitewater 68-55 and Fayette County 63-50. St. Pius cracks the top five thanks to an impressive win over 2A No. 7 GAC, 46-45 without leading scorer Kerney Lane and brother Everett. Christian Merrill came up big in their absence and scored 14 points including the game-winning floater. Jakob Spitzer played big inside and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.

Entering the season Region 6 put four teams in the top ten; three remain, but it looks as if a new region is beginning to flex its muscle as one of the best. Region 4 places four teams in the ranking with one on the precipice of making it five. No. 2 Jonesboro, No. 6 Walnut Grove, No. 8 Eagle’s Landing and No. 9 Henry County are all dangerous teams, but don’t forget about Eastside who is now 12-2 and riding an 11-game winning streak including, winning the Washington County Christmas tournament with a 72-69 win over a tough Effingham County team. Eagle’s Landing has stayed hot themselves winners of 7-straight featuring a 66-52 win over Whitewater to win the Chuck Miller Holiday Classic at Henry County.

In Class AAA, No. 4 South Atlanta jumps over No. 5 Calhoun after an impressive 65-50 win over LaGrange. Banks County falls from No. 6 to No. 10 after being upset by North Hall, 67-66. No. 7 East Hall is hitting its stride at 7-3 and meets 1A-Private No. 4 Lakeview Academy in a rematch in the first round of Lanierland. The Lions handed the Vikings their worst loss of the season in game number two of the year, 87-69 to win the Piedmont College Hardwood Classic. No. 1 Laney continues to find ways to win after trailing nearly every game deep into the second half. The Cardiac Cats rallied to beat Cross Creek 84-76, Westside 62-60 and Richmond Academy 55-51, stunning the Musketeers for the second time this year by outscoring them 25-12 in the final period. On Tuesday the Wildcats host 4A No. 10 Thomson, led by RJ Johnson and San Antonio Brinson. It will be the biggest test of the season for both programs.

The fall from grace for Pace Academy has been completed as the Knights drop out of the AA top ten at 2-5. This serves as a wakeup call, much like what current 3A No. 2 Morgan County received following a bad loss to Cherokee. Pace has played a national schedule which has hurt them. The talent is there but the results haven’t been yet. Expect the Knights to make hay once they settle into region play and resurface in the top ten sooner rather than later behind Wendell Carter Jr. While the Knights fall out, they are replaced by a surprise team in Region 6, the Wesleyan Wolves. After finishing 11-14 last year, the Wolves are off to a hot 7-2 start and just scored their biggest win of the season, a 60-56 victory over 1A-Private No. 10 Tattnall Square Academy. Wesleyan has now won 7-straight after a 0-2 start.

The seemingly unbeatable 1A-Private No. 1 Greenforest Eagles met their match in the Chick-fil-A Classic championship, losing to Hammond (SC), 70-58. Ikey Obiagu was unavailable to play after hurting his hand. The Eagles fell into an early second half hole and could not climb out of it, struggling to contain UNC-commit Seventh Woods. No. 2 SWAC also fell at the CFA Classic, losing to Gray Collegiate Academy (SC), 79-73. No. 4 Lakeview Academy has won 8-straight following a season opening loss to GAC. With a favorable schedule ahead, look for the Lions to rack up the wins and win Region 8 if they can hold off Hebron Christian (8-2), who looks like the prime competition right now.

Not much change occurs in 1A-Public aside from Terrell County dropping two spots to No. 8 and both No. 6 Hawkinsville and No. 7 Atkinson County rising.