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11-24 Recaps and Scores


No. 3 Westlake 94, 3ANo. 3 East Jackson 70: Westlake continued to prove they are a favorite in the state title hunt with another statement victory over 3A No. 3 East Jackson. Chuma Okeke finished with 22 points and Jamie Lewis scored 21 and handed out 10 assists for the Lions. Danny Lewis dropped 18 in the win. East Jackson’s trio of guards was held in check for the most part. Lamont Smith came up big with 25 points on five long balls, but Drue Drinnon was stifled for just five points in the loss.

No. 7 Collins Hill 62, Central Gwinnett 52: Behind new addition AJ Cheeseman’s 15 points and 7 rebounds, No. 7 Collins Hill won its season opener in the Jared Cook Classic. JD Ozoh pitched in 11 points in the win. TeShaun Hightower and Kai Lambert both chipped in 9 points apiece while Chris Parks battled for 8 points and 6 rebounds. The Eagles forced 23 turnovers. The Black Knights were led by Jaquan Morris’ game-high 16 and Kwinton Turner’s 12 points.

No. 9 Lambert 79, Hardaway 41: On the back of Navy-commit Connor Mannion, No. 9 Lambert blew past Hardaway at the Columbus Classic Shootout. The big man scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a dominant performance. Ross Morkem added 11 points to the cause while Austin Deckard and Andrew Melms both finished with 10 points. Melms also handed out 11 assists.

Peachtree Ridge 65, Archer 64: The Lions used a three-pointer at the buzzer from Markell McCollum to stun the Tigers in the Jared Cook Classic. Archer had taken the lead late with an 11-0 run. McCollum finished with 11 points – 9 coming in the fourth. Milz Tatum led Peachtree Ridge with 12 points. Archer fell to 2-1 on the year and received a game-high 19 points from sharpshooter Darrion Taylor. Amori Atkinson added 16 and Byron Andrews contributed 11 points.

Berkmar 62, Duluth 48: A hot start propelled the Patriots to a nice in-county win in the Jared Cook Classic. Indiana-bound guard Al Durham showed off his feathery touch and led all scorers with 18 points and a handful of threes. Josh Faulkner added 16 and Darius Harrison scored 14 for Berkmar, who was without new additions Jay Estime and Zac Cooks, making the win all the more impressive. Jalen Hodges led Duluth with 17 points.

Dacula 89, North Gwinnett 79: Dacula once again proved it can score with anybody in the state as they finish the Jared Cook Classic 2-0. Wofford signee Kevon Tucker continued his offensive onslaught and poured in 41 points – 28 in the first half. Tucker also notched seven steals and eight rebounds. Derek St. Hilaire added 15 points for the Falcons. The Bulldogs hung around with a barrage of threes and received a team-high 25 from Colby Leifson.

South Forsyth 79, Eagle’s Landing Christian 54:  Five War Eagles scored in double figures to lift South Forsyth to its first win of the season. Bryan Cuellar led the way with 17 points while Joe Brandon added 16 and Tyler Elliott finished with 15. Taylor Drury chipped in 13 and Daniel Bateman netted 10 points in the balanced scoring attack.

Harrison 59, Northview 53: Four Hoyas scored in double figures to place third in the Parkview Tipoff Classic. Ryan Boler led the way with 13 while Chris Brown and Juwan Owens tossed in 11 points apiece. Austin York closed out the scoring with 10.


No. 3 Gainesville 70, 1ANo. 2 St. Francis 58: No. 2 St. Francis was no match for No. 3 Gainesville in the finale of the Jared Cook Classic. The Knights played without five-star guard Kobi Simmons and could not match the Red Elephants’ fire power. D’Marcus Simonds scored 14 points to pace Gainesville. Chance Anderson scored 15 points in the first half to keep the Knights afloat.

No. 4 Allatoona 67, Americus-Sumter 55: With two starters out, the Bucs had no problem picking up a season opening win at home. Ephraim Tshimanga led the way with 20 points, six steals and one block. Kevin Perry added 13 points and two steals to help pick up the slack for Trey Doomes who is out to begin the season after getting dinged up in a preseason car crash.

South Paulding 73, Rockmart 48:  Kane Williams powered the Spartans with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Ja’Cori Wilson posted a big double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Jalen Tolbert also contributed 10 points.

Creekview 70, Johnson-Gainesville 54: Zach Russell scored 20 points and John Gibbs added 17 as the Grizzlies finished their play in the Chestatee Turkey Shootout. Russell was named to the All-Tournament team for the week.

Shaw 82, Manchester 75:  The Raiders advanced to 3-0 with a win over Manchester in the Columbus Classic Shootout. 6-foot-7 forward Cam Paulding paced the Raiders with 18 points.

Carver-Columbus 82, Notasulga 36: Joey Payne was named game MVP after scoring 12 points to notch another win for the Tigers as they blew out the Alabama based Notasulga High School at the Columbus Classic Shootout.

Apalachee 63, Hebron Christian 54: The Wildcats picked up their first win of the season after being tied 26-all at the break. Kamar Baldwin poured in 27 points and Jabari Hill added 17 to notch the win.

Lanier 58, North Oconee 45: Adrian Martin earned MVP honors as the Longhorns three-peated in the Titan Turkey Classic. Martin poured in 26 points, four steals and three assists. He and Bryan Mungai earned All-Tournament honors.

Riverwood 51, 2ANo. 4 GAC 40: Riverwood continued its hot play and advanced to 5-0 on its way to winning the North Forsyth Tip-Off Tournament. No. 4 GAC is now the second top ten 2A school the Raiders have knocked off this year. Kohl Roberts posted a double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks and was named Most Outstanding Player for the tournament. Charnchai Chantha added nine points and five assists and was an All-Tournament selection. Elijah Jenkins pitched in six points and six assists, but the activeness of Isaiah Gaddy once again proved to be an X-factor as he finished with nine points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Discovery 71, White County 61: First-year program Discovery has proven that age is just a number. The Titans earned their first trophy in the program’s history by capturing the Turkey Shootout title. Brian Liles was named tournament MVP and finished with 12 points. DJ Young threw in 16 to lead the charge and Andrew Moore added 10.

Class AAAA

No. 5 Sandy Creek 91, Griffin 51: A 25-to-7 second quarter helped the Patriots blitz past the host Griffin Bears. Christian Turner scored 11 points, dished 10 assists and collected 8 steals. Elias Harden finished with 20 points and six steals. AJ Freeman led the attack with six threes en route to 25 points. Both Keith Heard II and Evan Jester grabbed nine rebounds while Jester added 12 points and Heard had four blocks. Freshman TJ Bickerstaff came in and scored 11 points off the bench.

No. 6 St. Pius 54, Decatur 46: The Golden Lions survived a scare and used a 16-to-4 run to close the game and remain undefeated. Kerney Lane continued his outstanding play and scored a career-high 31 points – 14 coming in the fourth – to stave off the upset. Lane drilled a corner three at the 2:12 mark to cap an 11-0 run and give the Lions a 46-42 advantage. The Bulldogs played tight with St. Pius and used their interior play to earn second chance points.

North Hall 71, Habersham Central 49: The Trojans picked up win No. 2 on the year behind Carson Heinen’s 27 points. Coach Tyler Sanders’ group forced 28 turnovers in the win.

Class AAA

No. 6 Blessed Trinity 50, Chapel Hill 46: The Titans moved to 3-0 behind John Michael Bertrand who scored 18 points. Dallis Jacks scored a game-high 22 for Chapel Hill.

Jackson County 82, Commerce 60: Behind Joel Ellis’ 27 points the Panthers nabbed their first win of the season. Preston Giroux pitched in 16 points in the winning effort.

Class AA
Class A

No. 3 North Cobb Christian 82, Woodland-Cartersville 28: Nick Fleming dished out seven assists and Jonny Crumly pulled down 11 rebounds to notch the Eagles’ first win of the season at the Southeast Whitfield Thanksgiving Tournament. Kobe Wilson and Demiere Brown did the majority of the damage with 13 points apiece.

No. 4 Whitefield Academy 64, Hillgrove 54: Isaiah Hart used an efficient 9-of-14 night from the field to power the Wolfpack. He finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three steals. Brendon Myles went for 16 points and nine rebounds while Jimmy McCarthy had 12 points and 11 boards.

No. 6 Landmark Christian 84, Jackson 57: Five players scored in double digits as the War Eagles soared to 4-0. Zack Allen once again paced the high-flying bunch with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Collier Schultz added 11 points and eight assists while Wix Patton posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

No. 7 St. Anne-Pacelli 77, Strong Rock 30: Locust Grove was the scene as the No. 7 Vikings pounded Strong Rock Christian to open the 2015-16 season. Seniors Triston Wells and Tre Sudberry did most of the damage for Coach Alan Griffin’s team, scoring 22 and 21 points respectively.

No. 9 Lakeview Academy 87, 3ANo. 9 East Hall 69: Tre Gober poured in 24 points and Carter Reeves was named Tournament MVP after posting 23 points and 10 rebounds to win the Piedmont College Hardwood Classic championship. Evan Pitts added 11 points, Drew Cottrell chipped in nine points and was named to the All-Tournament team and Daniel Fadool netted eight to advance Lakeview to 2-1 on the season.



No. 10 West Forsyth 49, North Forsyth 38: West Forsyth rebounded from a loss to Flowery Branch to come back and defeat rival North Forsyth in the Zaxby’s Raider Classic. Maryland bound center Jenna Staiti posted 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Wolverines while Haley Simpson led the Raiders with 9 points.

Northview 59, Alexander 31: Melissa Muench scored 19 and Shannon Titus chipped in 13 to help lift the Lady Titans to 3-2. Alexander falls to 1-2.

Grayson 47, North Oconee 46: The Lady Rams captured the Titan Classic Championship over host North Oconee. Kendra Hutchinson led the attack with 15 points. Essence Jordan added 11 and Jessica Ewing posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Lambert 60, Mountain View 53: The Lady Longhorns picked up a big win at the Parkview Tipoff Classic as Ashley Johnson and Molly Williams led the way. Johnson scored 14 and Williams netted 13 points in the win.

South Gwinnett 48, McIntosh 44 2OT: Savannah Soles scored a game-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Comets outlasted the visiting Lady Chiefs. Abrionna Lester and Jasmine Williams both scored 11 points for South Gwinnett in the win.


Forsyth Central 57, Discovery 9: Forsyth Central’s experience overwhelmed the first-year program. Julie Richards led all scorers with 23 points and Abbey Fagan netted 15.

Class AAAA

St. Pius 34, Decatur 31: An extremely young Golden Lion team picked up its second straight win of the season to move to 2-1. Decatur led 23-18 at the half, but was held to two points in the third as St. Pius roared back to tie the game heading into the fourth. Pius went on 12-2 run over the 3rd and 4th quarters to take a 30-25 lead.  Decatur scored six straight to take a 31-30 lead.  The Golden Lions responded by holding Decatur scoreless over the final 4 minutes of the game. Macey Carson scored 8 points while Hannah Jones and Kathryn McKenzie pitched in 7 and 6 points respectively. The Lady Bulldogs remain winless on the young season, but saw Chyna Eagle shine with 12 points on four deep balls.

Class AAA
Class AA

No. 2 Wesleyan 67, 3ANo. 7 Morgan County 43: Wesleyan downed upstart Morgan County, handing the Lady Bulldogs their first loss of the season. Cairo Booker poured in 20 points and Mikayla Coombs finished with 12 to power the defending state champs’ attack. Natalie Armstrong cleaned the boards with 10 rebounds and Amaya Register dished out seven assists in the win.

Class A

No. 10 Commerce 78, Jackson County 63: Mya Jones poured in a game-high 39 points and six assists to lead the No. 10 Lady Tigers. Jackson County received seven three-pointers from Logan Cook in her 23-point effort.

No. 10 Stratford Academy 47, GMC 25: Class A-Private’s No. 10 Lady Eagles raced past Georgia Military College behind Mary Wilson Avant’s 10 points.



Allatoona 67, Americus-Sumter 55
Banks County 94, Elbert County 72
Berkmar 62, Duluth 48
Blessed Trinity 50, Chapel Hill 46
Bradwell Institute 36, Woodville-Tompkins 31
Brunswick 57, Johnson-Savannah 54
Carver-Columbus 82, Notasulga (AL) 36
Collins Hill 62, Central Gwinnett 52
Creekview 70, Johnson-Gainesville 54
Dacula 89, North Gwinnett 79
Douglass 53, Oconee County 48
Flowery Branch 62, North Forsyth 48
Gainesville 70, St. Francis 58
Harrison 59, Northview 53
Jackson County 82, Commerce 60
Lakeview Academy 87, East Hall 69
Lambert 79, Hardaway 41
Landmark Christian 84, Jackson 57
Lanier 58, North Oconee 45
Lumpkin County 73, Union County 44
Mill Creek 67, Jefferson 34
Newnan 61, Opelika (AL) 50
North Cobb 56, Josey 43
North Cobb Christian 82, Woodland-Cartersville 28
North Hall 71, Habersham Central 49
North Murray 46, Heritage-Catoosa 41
North Paulding 61, Dunwoody 57
Ola 74, Locust Grove 69
Peachtree Ridge 65, Archer 64
Pickens 53, Copper Basin (TN) 51
River Ridge 59, West Forsyth 46
Riverwood 51, Greater Atlanta Christian 40
Roswell 65, Cambridge 60
Shaw 82, Manchester 75
South Cobb 70, Paulding County 61
South Forsyth 79, Eagles Landing Christian 54
St. Anne Pacelli 77, Strong Rock Christian 30
St. Pius X 54, Decatur 46
Tattnall County 64, East Laurens 50
Walker 75, Athens Academy 66
Walnut Grove 48, Winder-Barrow 37
Warner Robins 85, Perry 55
West Hall 76, Chestatee 41
Westlake 94, East Jackson 70
Whitefield Academy 64, Hillgrove 54


Bradwell Institute 63, Woodville-Tompkins 41
Campbell 64, Evans 33
Cherokee 74, Blessed Trinity 45
Chestatee 43, North Gwinnett 42
Coahulla Creek 61, Ridgeland 55
Commerce 78, Jackson County 63
Creekview 57, River Ridge 41
Darlington 65, SW Atlanta Christian 56
Douglas County 57, Duluth 49
Flowery Branch 68, Greater Atlanta Christian 43
Glynn Academy 56, McIntosh County Academy 33
Greene County 56, East Jackson 44
Grovetown 63, Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 53
Haralson County 52, Heard County 43
Harrison 58, Dacula 52
Hart County 61, Franklin County 48
Heritage-Conyers 64, Berkmar 34
Hillgrove 62, Central Gwinnett 39
Jackson 53, Landmark Christian 43
Jefferson 57, Mill Creek 50
Lakeside-Evans 33, Aquinas 22
Lambert 60, Mountain View 53
Locust Grove 52, Ola 21
Lovett 67, Centennial 65
Lumpkin County 45, Union County 40
Marietta 57, Wheeler 24
McIntosh at South Gwinnett, late
Milton 45, Cambridge 41
Model 50, Rome 43
Northview 59, Alexander 31
Peachtree Ridge 44, Cedar Shoals 31
Pepperell 57, North Paulding 51
Pickens 56, Copper Basin, TN 20
Savannah Country Day 37, Islands 29
Shiloh 50, Roswell 42
Sonoraville 56, Cartersville 36
South Effingham 49, Groves 22
South Forsyth 57, Parkview 43
Southwest DeKalb 74, McEachern 67
St. Pius X 34, Decatur 31
St. Vincents 44, Savannah Christian 38
Stephenson 43, Loganville 40
Tucker 61, Norcross 60
Veterans 55, Jones County 23
Warner Robins 54, Perry 25
Wesleyan 67, Morgan County 43
West Laurens 63, Vidalia 55
Westside-Macon 38, Southwest 32
Winder-Barrow 68, Walnut Grove 21
Windsor Forest 48, Southeast Bulloch 28

Week 1 Rankings

  1. Shiloh (0-0)
  2. Norcross (2-0) [d. King’s Ridge 81-52, Lovejoy 89-57)]
  3. Westlake (1-0) [d. Gray Collegiate Academy (SC) 79-49]
  4. Wheeler (1-1) [d. Woodstock 80-48, L. 76-70 Montverde (Fl.)]
  5. Milton (2-0) [d. Walton 91-75, Brookwood 76-60]
  6. Pebblebrook (1-1) [L. Montverde (Fl.) 76-70, d. Blanche Ely 64-63]
  7. Collins Hill (0-0)
  8. Tift County (2-0) [d. 4ANo. 8 Worth County 77-61, Buford 56-18]
  9. Lambert (1-0) [d. South Forsyth 74-51]
  10. Newton (1-1) [d. Eastside 90-60, L. 4ANo. 7 Henry County 67-66]
  1. Miller Grove (2-0) [d. Dunwoody 80-40, Stephenson 77-44]
  2. McIntosh (1-0) [d. Morrow 89-68]
  3. Gainesville (0-0)
  4. Allatoona (0-0)
  5. Brunswick (0-0)
  6. Heritage (4-0) [d. Rockdale 75-70, 1ANo. 5 SWAC 81-49, Monticello 83-39, Berkmar 65-55]
  7. Warner Robins (2-0) [d. Taylor County 66-46, Northeast 78-45]
  8. Cedar Shoals (2-0) [d. Tucker 62-38, Rockdale 70-56]
  9. LaGrange (0-0)
  10. Southwest DeKalb (2-0) [d. Salem 69-45, Hampton 108-38]
Class AAAA
  1. Lithonia (2-0) [d. Marist 66-46, Columbia 65-58]
  2. Jonesboro (0-0)
  3. Liberty County (1-0) [d. Bradwell Institute 69-44]
  4. Bainbridge (0-0)
  5. Sandy Creek (3-0) [d. Cambridge 82-37, Banneker 75-36, Westminster 62-47]
  6. St. Pius (2-0) [d. Arabia Mountain 60-53, Chamblee 67-30]
  7. Henry County (3-0) [d. Jones County 77-67, Decatur 55-47, 6ANo. 10 Newton 67-66]
  8. Worth County (2-1) [d. Colquitt County 82-73, Lee County 88-75, L. 6ANo. 8 Tift County 77-61]
  9. Grady (1-0) [d. Redan 78-77]
  10. Upson-Lee (2-0) [d. Heard County 66-36, Johnson-Gainesville 73-41]
Class AAA
  1. Laney (1-0) [d. Greenbrier 74-62]
  2. Jenkins (0-0)
  3. East Jackson (1-0) [d. Tallulah Falls 80-48]
  4. Calhoun (0-0)
  5. South Atlanta (2-0) [d. Carver 76-53, North Atlanta 77-41]
  6. Blessed Trinity (2-0) [d. Lithia Springs 55-53, Meadowcreek 38-24]
  7. Callaway (0-0)
  8. Cedar Grove (1-0) [d. 1ANo. 2 St. Francis 72-69]
  9. East Hall (0-0)
  10. Central-Macon (0-0)
Class AA
  1. Seminole County (0-0)
  2. Pace Academy (0-0)
  3. Crawford County (0-0)
  4. GAC (2-1) [d. 1ANo. 9 Lakeview Academy  73-61, Roswell 64-39, L. Brewbaker Tech (Al.) 64-53]
  5. Thomasville (2-0) [d. Valdosta 72-52, 71-63]
  6. Vidalia (1-0) [d. East Laurens 83-38]
  7. Holy Innocents’ (0-1) [L. Riverwood 54-46]
  8. Early County (0-0)
  9. Rabun County (1-0) [d. Dawson County 79-59]
  10.  Swainsboro (0-1) [L. Statesboro 61-47]
Class A-Private
  1. Greenforest (2-0) [d. WD Mohammed 80-50, Peachtree Ridge 69-42]
  2. St. Francis (1-1) [d. Sacred Heart (Al.) 74-58, L.  3ANo. 8 Cedar Grove 72-69]
  3. North Cobb Christian (0-0)
  4. Whitefield Academy (0-1) [L. Sacred Heart (Al.) 67-62]
  5. SWAC (2-1) [L. Heritage-Conyers 81-49, d. Alcovy 81-32, Griffin 64-37]
  6. Landmark Christian (3-0) [d. Providence Christian 80-56, Fulton Leadership 89-75, Ola 80-69]
  7. St. Anne-Pacelli (0-0)
  8. Stratford Academy (0-0)
  9. Lakeview Academy (0-1) [L. GAC 73-61]
  10. Tattnall Square Academy (0-0)
Class A-Public
  1. Calhoun County (0-0)
  2. Hancock Central (1-0) [d. Putnam County 62-52]
  3. Treutlen (0-0)
  4. Wilkinson County (0-0)
  5. Turner County (0-0)
  6. Randolph-Clay (2-0) [d. Baker County 96-27, Spencer 102-84]
  7. Greenville (0-0)
  8. Dooly County (0-0)
  9. Portal (0-0)
  10. Terrell County (1-1) [d. Miller County 52-34, L. Lee County 62-37]


With not every team in the state getting their season underway, the rankings are still a work in progress. It isn’t fair to penalize teams who haven’t played, but it also is difficult to move teams around in favor of those teams yet to tip, but with that being said, here is how things have played out thus far…

In Class AAAAAA, No. 2 Norcross scored a pair of easy wins while No. 3 Westlake might have been the most impressive team out of the top 10. Junior Chuma Okeke made an instant impact in his first game with his new team, going for 23 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks and four steals. No. 8 Tift County forces its way into the state picture with an impressive win over 4A No. 8 Worth County 77-61 and a devastating 56-18 blowout of Eddie Martin’s Buford Wolves. Berkmar fell from No. 8 to out of the poll with a loss to 5A No. 6 Heritage-Conyers 65-55. If it weren’t for Tift’s excellent play, Berkmar likely would have survived another week. A handful of Gwinnett County schools are knocking at the door to make a top ten appearance.

No. 6 Heritage-Conyers has put Class AAAAA officially on watch of its presence. They hop up two spots and have looked great behind Jordan Thomas, Charles Moore, Isaiah Banks and Byron Abrams. Wins over ranked opponents No. 5 SWAC and former No. 8 Berkmar look nice on the resume. Both No. 7 Warner Robins and No. 8 Cedar Shoals have done some early season thumping.  Senior Keith Gilmore has led No. 10 Southwest DeKalb into the polls. He is averaging 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. Jones County drops out after losing to 4A No. 7 Henry County 77-67 and Baldwin, a 3-21 team a year ago, 68-41.

In Class AAAA, No. 5 Sandy Creek has steamrolled opponents with its mixture of athleticism, shooting and defense. No. 6 St. Pius has been steady behind the stellar play of Kerney Lane. The versatile southpaw is averaging 27 points per game to pace the Golden Lion attack. No. 7 Henry County knocked off 6A No. 10 Newton, using a late Javon Greene freethrow to win 67-66, after losing 86-63 in a scrimmage vs. the Rams. Columbia slips out of the top ten narrowly and is replaced by 2014 quarterfinalist Upson-Lee, who has smashed their two opponents.

The wild, wild west that is Class AAA has already begun shaking up. It is a wide open field with No. 1 Laney the early favorite. State runner-up Morgan County tumbles all the way out of the rankings after a 57-52 loss to Cherokee at the Battle at the Rock tournament. The Bulldogs will have plenty of time to regroup after the upset loss. No. 5 South Atlanta leaps up five spots after a pair of convincing wins. Things haven’t always been pretty with No. 6 Blessed Trinity, but their grind-it-out style of play has started them off at 2-0. Monday’s 38-24 win against Meadowcreek further proved that the Titans are one of the best in the state at controlling tempo. Cedar Grove debuts at No. 8 after a shocking upset of defending 1A-Private state champion St. Francis.

AA No. 4 GAC suffered a setback against Alabama powerhouse Brewbaker Tech, but still holds onto their spot. No. 5 Thomasville picked up a pair of wins in a home-and-away tilt with Valdosta. No. 7 Holy Innocents’ moves down a spot while No. 9 Rabun County jumps one after a 79-59 win over Dawson County and a No. 10 Swainsboro loss.

No. 1 Greenforest looks like the class of A-Private with its size inside and dominating play. No. 2 St. Francis holds onto the second spot after No. 3 North Cobb Christian didn’t play and No. 4 Whitefield Academy fell to Sacred Heart (Al.) 67-62, after the Knights of St. Francis beat them 74-58. No. 5 SWAC was blown out by 5A Heritage. No. 9 Lakeview Academy lost a competitive match with 2A No. 4 GAC, 73-61.

Not much going on in A-Public. Hancock Central defeated Putnam County by 10. No. 6 Randolph-Clay is averaging 99 points per game.

What I Learned During Opening Week

The first weekend of basketball already featured tons of storylines, upsets and big performances. From the GHSA’s denial of transfers Isaac Kellum (McIntosh), Robert Hill (Berkmar), Kovi Tate (Henry County) and more, to a three-point barrage, here is how the weekend shook out.

What I Learned

**Tift County is on the fast track to cracking the 6A Top Ten**

Not ranking the Blue Devils to start the season had me catching some flack. Their play this weekend will only add fuel to the fire as they defeated 4A No. 7 Worth County 77-61 and followed it up with a romp of Coach Eddie Martin’s Buford Wolves, 56-18. Tift faces a major test on Friday against McEachern as the Indians make the long trip south.

**Buck Harris knows how to coach**

That didn’t take long. After Baldwin suffered through a 3-21 season in 2014-15, Coach Harris, who comes over after a ridiculous run at Laney, already has the Braves 2-0 with a monster upset of 5A No. 9 Jones County, 68-41. Donta Justice scored 13 in the win while Keontay Miles and Dalton Strother chipped in 11 and 10 respectively.

**Chicks dig the long ball**

Matthew Addis of 2A No. 10 Rabun County was absurd on Saturday, drilling 13 threes for 39 points to lead the Wildcats over Dawson County, 79-59. Initial reports claimed he went 15-of-16 for 45 points, but Coach Jeff Page gave us 39 points as the official total. Either way, it was a shooting performance for the ages.

**Joby Ball is back**

Joby Boydstone is back in Georgia with his run-and-gun high scoring offense at East Paulding. He picked up a 106-85 victory over Cass in his triumphant return. The Browder brothers powered the Raiders as Jalen scored 30 and Lennard added 23.

**Kobi Simmons needs help**

Class A-Private defending state champion No. 2 St. Francis has struggled out of the gate. The Knights dropped a scrimmage to 2A No. 4 GAC 77-69, but rebounded with a 74-58 win over Sacred Heart Catholic (Ala.) to open the regular season. Saturday however, was a major blemish as unranked Cedar Grove closed out the Knights 72-69. Anthony Showell, a transfer from Duluth, will have to slot in as a consistent No. 2 scoring option. He scored 11 in the win over Sacred Heart. They will need to get things figured out and quickly as 5A No. 3 Gainesville rolls into town on Tuesday.

**What a difference two weeks makes**

6A No. 9 Newton drilled 4A No. 8 Henry County in a scrimmage on Nov. 10, 86-63. The Rams proceeded to blowout Eastside 90-60 in the season opener before running into the Warhawks with the result counting this time. Henry County took advantage of their second chance at the Rams and slipped by 67-66 as Javon Greene hit a free throw to win it. He finished with 20 points while Damion Rosser led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

**Region 8-AAAAA is for real**

No. 3 Gainesville isn’t going to have a cakewalk to the region title. No. 8 Heritage-Conyers and No. 10 Cedar Shoals both look impressive early. The Patriots (4-0) already have notable wins over Rockdale County 75-70, 1A No. 5 Southwest Atlanta Christian 81-49 and 6A No. 8 Berkmar 65-55. Jordan Thomas paces the team with 15.3 points per game while Charles Moore is pouring in 15 and Isaiah Banks 14.3, while leading the team with 6.8 rebounds. The Jaguars have made a statement as well, blowing out Tucker 62-38 before taking down Rockdale 70-56. Phlandrous Fleming, Jerrick Mitchell and Snipe Hall are all averaging double digits.

**No Tookie, No Cookie**

3A No. 3 Morgan County didn’t necessarily get off to a great start at the Battle at the Rock. The Cherokee Warriors kept the Bulldogs at bay and held on 57-52. Life after Tookie Brown is going to be a whole lot different. Devorious Brown and Jailyn Ingram, two FAU signees, must get things on track.

**The GHSA**

I have spilled enough blood with my pen already on this topic, but every day, it seems like more and more revolting things are coming from the GHSA. Denying transfers is fine, but if you are going to do it, you damn well better give a reason why you are denying them. This isn’t mommy and daddy telling their child no, and the kid asking why, only to get the parents’ response as “because I said so.” These are real issues and real kids here. Be a man and stop hiding behind the curtain and let these parents, players and coaches sleep at night. Also, the media is covering YOUR sports. So don’t you dare tell respected media members that they aren’t welcome into state playoff events because they aren’t a newspaper. This isn’t 1960. Wake up, get a clue, and support your student-athletes. The GHSA is hindering its kids’ exposure by not letting all forms of media cover the talent on the biggest stage of the year. Shame on you and shame on your agenda GHSA.


Top Games Results

Montverde Academy (FL) 76,  6A No. 6 Pebblebrook 70 (Montverde Academy Invitational)
2A No. 10 Rabun County 79, 3A Dawson County 59
5A Riverwood 58, 1A Mount Vernon Presbyterian 53
1A No. 5 SWAC 64, 4A Griffin 37
3A No. 10 South Atlanta 77, 5A North Atlanta 41
4A No. 1 Lithonia 65, 4A No. 10 Columbia 58
2A No. 5 Thomasville 71, 6A Valdosta 63
4A No. 5 Sandy Creek 62,  3A Westminster 47 (Hoops 4 the Cure)
3A Cedar Grove 72, 1A No. 2 St. Francis 69 (Hoops 4 the Cure)
4A No. 8 Henry County 67,  6A No. 9 Newton 66
6A  Walton 66, 4A Woodward Academy 64  (Run N’ Shoot Classic)
6A No. 3 Westlake 79, Gray Collegiate Academy (SC) 49 (Run N’ Shoot Classic)
5A No. 8 Heritage-Conyers 65,  6A No. 8 Berkmar 55 (Run N’ Shoot Classic)
1A No. 1 Greenforest 69, 6A Peachtree Ridge 42 (Jared Cook Classic)
1A No. 6 Landmark Christian 89, 1A Fulton Leadership 75
6A Cherokee 57, 3A No. 3 Morgan County 52 (Battle at the Rock)
3A No. 6 Blessed Trinity 55, 5A Lithia Springs 53
3A Westside-Macon 64, 5A Houston County 41
6A Tift County 56, 4A Buford 18
6A Dacula 91, 5A Sequoyah 80 (Jared Cook Classic)
6A No. 6 Pebblebrook 64, Blanche Ely (FL) 63 (Montverde Academy Invitational)
Montverde Academy (FL) 76, 6A No. 4 Wheeler 70 (Montverde Academy Invitational)

Rabun County Opens Season with Addis’ Monster Performance

***Story contributed by Taylor Jones  (@TaylorJones__) of WRBN and WGHC***

2A No. 10 Rabun County 79,  3A Dawson County 59

The Rabun County Wildcats opened the 2015-16 season with a big win over fellow mountain region foe, Dawson County. While starting the season with an impressive victory is important, that is not the story, here.

Rabun’s Matthew Addis had a phenomenal game… scoring 39 points — all (13 makes) from the beyond the three-point line — to help his team knock off Dawson County, 79-59 on Saturday night.

Addis’ performance will be one that Wildcat fans will talk about for years to come, but two other teammates contributed in huge ways to this win. Tevan Brown scored 17, while Ethan Dickerson ended his night with 13.

While the offense was stellar, Coach Jeff Page said that defense is what won the game.

“The whole team played great defense and played unselfish,” explained Page. “It was a great team win.”

Rabun County will travel to Piedmont College in Demorest on Monday to take part in the Thanksgiving Tournament.
First up? East Hall at 8:30PM

Westminster Can’t Shake Slow Start Against No. 5 Sandy Creek

4A No. 5 Sandy Creek 62, 3A Westminster 47

St. Francis High School was host to the Verizon Hoops for a Cure Classic which featured No. 5 Sandy Creek and a Westminster program coming off an 18-8 season. Right away the up-tempo Patriots established their dominance with Gardner-Webb signee Christian Turner hitting Elias Harden on the left wing for a three-ball to open the game. Harden drilled three deep balls all in the first half and finished the game with 15 points.

As good as Harden was from distance, it was Turner who powered the Patriots. He helped ignite a 10-1 run in the first quarter that would give Sandy Creek all the space it needed as Coach Anthony McKissic’s team took a 17-11 lead into the second quarter. Turner scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and bullied his way to the bucket at-will against the smaller Westminster guards.

The Wildcats managed to hang around in the first half with big man Mikael Sampson in foul trouble. The junior picked up his second foul at the 1:21 mark of the first quarter and didn’t score in the first half. Dual-sport star Will Benson was quiet as well in the first two quarters before slamming home a dunk in the final minute of play in the second quarter to give him the team lead with seven points entering the break as Westminster trailed 32-22.

In the third quarter it seemed like momentum would finally swing in favor of the Wildcats as rim protector Keith Heard II picked up his fourth foul at the 4:18 mark of the third with Westminster down 36-26, but McKissic elected to leave him in and seconds later he was rewarded when Heard caught an alley oop and laid it in. Heard fouled out with 1:48 to play in the third with the Patriots holding a 42-28 lead. Entering the fourth Sandy Creek was in control 46-31.

Coach McKissic gearing up for the fourth quarter
Coach McKissic gearing up for the fourth quarter

Sampson and Benson came alive in the fourth quarter, both scoring six apiece, but they could not get any help and Turner continued to control the action for the Patriots. He scored seven points in the final frame and AJ Freeman added five to keep the Wildcats at bay. Westminster was unable to cut the lead to single digits as Sandy Creek’s defense came up with the stops it needed to keep a comfortable distance.

Turning Point: Off a high miss off the backboard, Will Benson came soaring in for a thunderous putback dunk to bring Westminster within 46-33 with 7:10 to play, but the Patriots quickly raced the ball down the court and AJ Freeman converted on a three-point play to take the wind out of Westminster’s sails.

Highlight of the Night: Will Benson turned the tables on “Lob City South” as he recorded three big dunks. His putback dunk, which almost looked like a pass off the glass, left those in attendance marveling at the Duke baseball commit’s athleticism.

My Take: Sandy Creek looks and plays the part of a Top 10 team in the state. They are long, athletic, can shoot and showed discipline; all signs of a well-coached team. Their defense is what can make them a state title contender. The activeness of Keith Heard and Evan Jester inside will be something to watch all season. Christian Turner was a bulldog attacking the basket and abusing the smaller guards of Westminster. He would put his head down and attack at-will, but also was able to find open men outside. Elias Harden settled for too many threes in the first half. Once he started attacking in the second half, it was clear to see why many high major programs are after the junior. Xavier Brewer ended up being the X-factor today. The long sophomore entered in the first quarter and quickly sparked the Patriots. He finished with five points and seven rebounds. Westminster was a little shorthanded due to the football season, but the Wildcats showed flashes of promise. Will Benson didn’t get a ton of chances to create in the first half and I would have liked to see the ball in his hands some more. Mikael Sampson had a slow start to the game but came on strong in the second half. Philip Jones didn’t score much from his point guard position but he filled out the stat sheet in other areas. Tyler Barry, former NBA’er Jon Barry’s son, did not shoot well at all finishing with six points and a lot of missed opportunities. If the core of Jones, Benson and Sampson can control the offense and have it run through them, the Wildcats should have another successful season.

Top Performers:

Sandy Creek
Christian Turner – 23 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Elias Harden – 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
Evan Jester  – 6 points, 9 rebounds
AJ Freeman – 9 points, 2 assists
Xavier Brewer – 5 points, 7 reboundsFullSizeRender (2)

Will Benson – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block
Mikael Sampson – 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block
Philip Jones – 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Tyler Barry – 6 points, 3 assists, 2 steals FullSizeRender (1)


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