South Paulding Avoids Setback at SEBA

South Paulding 54, Blessed Trinity 49

Game 1 of the SEBA Showcase at Pope High School pitted two programs with differing identities. South Paulding, coming off a disappointing loss to No. 4 Allatoona the night before, wanted to get back into their groove and run a free flowing offense. Blessed Trinity preferred to slow things up and use a methodical pace on offense and a grind-it-out style on defense.

To begin the game, it looked as if South Paulding’s athletic lineup paced by Kane Williams, was going to run roughshod through Blessed Trinity, taking a 12-0 lead behind a trapping press. The Titans didn’t score a basket until John Michael Bertrand, who scored a team-high 16 points, scored with 1:25 left in the opening period and netted all four of Blessed Trinity’s first quarter points which resulted in a 14-4 hole entering the second.

Things slowly began to change after the Titans shook off a sluggish first eight minutes. Blessed Trinity began getting to the basket and drawing fouls. The Titans got as close as seven points in the second quarter but still trailed 29-21 at the half after sinking 10-of-15 free throws.

Though they let their foot off the gas pedal, the Spartans still felt like they were in control, especially with the big first half of Williams. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals in the opening 16.

Coach Patrick Hughes made the proper halftime adjustments for Blessed Trinity and much like they did in the second quarter, the Titans slowly crept closer and closer to South Paulding. Ja’Cori Wilson picked up his fourth foul with 6:33 to play in the third and the Spartans’ lead down to 31-29 after CJ Abrams completed a three-point play.

While the 6-foot-7 Wilson sat, the South Paulding lead continued to dwindle before Blessed Trinity took its first lead of the game, 35-33 with 3:45 left in the third quarter. The Titans outscored South Paulding 20-10 in the frame to take a 41-39 lead into the fourth, thanks to seven points off the bench from Abrams, who ended the night with 11.

Blessed Trinity extended the lead to their largest of the game at 43-39 less than a minute into the fourth. Suddenly sensing the game was in jeopardy, Coach Gil Davis’ Spartans began to respond, using its trapping defense to force turnovers. Wilson finally checked back in with 5:29 left and trailing 45-43. While Wilson struggled to find any rhythm, it was big man Anthony Brown who stepped up. Brown blew a couple bunnies in the first half, before Williams fed him for a game-changing slam with two minutes to play to give the Spartans a 51-47 lead.

With 26.3 seconds remaining, Blessed Trinity found itself with the ball down 52-49. But the Titans were unable to get a good look as DJ Jackson forced Jackson Svete into a huge turnover. Blessed Trinity had one last opportunity after a Spartan turnover, but were unable to convert on a three with 13.3 seconds left, handing to the ball back to South Paulding who would sink a pair of free throws to close out a 54-49 win and avoid blowing a big first quarter lead.

My Take: South Paulding came to play and looked hungry after a poor showing on Friday night, but after they took a 12-0 lead, it looked like the Spartans lost focus and didn’t take the Titans as serious as they should have. Blessed Trinity began wearing away at South Paulding by making them play long defensive possessions and be patient while the Titans sliced and diced their way to backdoor cuts and screens leading to layups. John Michael Bertrand played well for the Titans with 16 points. Kyle Swade hit some big shots and finished with 12, but it really was backup guard CJ Abrams’ big third quarter that got them back into the game.

South Paulding turned to Kane Williams late in the game and he was the difference maker, coming away with all the plays. His running mate Ja’Cori Wilson picked up too many silly fouls and left all the work on Williams’ plate. He along with Anthony Brown made sure to get the Spartans back in the win column. Brown struggled to finish inside at times, but the burly big man’s soft hands helped him take over down low on his way to 17 points and 13 rebounds. If Brown can be that effective inside with Williams and Wilson performing like they are capable of, the Spartans will be very dangerous throughout the season. Blessed Trinity’s style of play and discipline will keep them in every game they play this year. Class AAA is wide open, giving the Titans the chance to play spoiler for a lot of other teams come state tournament time.

Top Performers

South Paulding
Kane Williams – 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 1 block
Anthony Brown – 17 points, 13 rebounds
Ja’Cori Wilson – 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block

Blessed Trinity
John Michael Bertrand – 16 points, 8 rebounds
Kyle Swade – 12 points, 6 rebounds
CJ Abrams – 11 points
Jackson Svete – 8 points, 2 assists

No. 3 McIntosh Smokes No. 6 Sandy Creek On Jordan Lyons’ Historic Night

5ANo. 3 McIntosh 69, 4ANo. 6 Sandy Creek 51

Sandy Creek High School was jam packed on Saturday afternoon in a game that featured two top ten programs hailing just 10 minutes apart from each other. What the fans received was a highlight laden contest, but a lopsided result as No. 3 McIntosh outclassed a talented No. 6 Sandy Creek team, 69-51.

The atmosphere was set for an intense game, meaning there was no better stage for Jordan Lyons to make history. The prolific scorer signed to play his college ball at Furman entered trailing former Chief Jeff Sheppard for the all-time boys scoring record by two points. Sitting at 1,917 points, a three-pointer would shatter Sheppard’s record of 1,919. To nobody’s surprise all it took was seconds into the game for Lyons to etch his name in the record books and continue to build on a legacy that will never be forgotten.

On the very first play of the game, Wofford signee Dishon Lowery swung the ball to the right wing where Lyons was ready to catch and fire. Bang. His three-pointer didn’t only move him into first place in boys program history and second behind Gabby Seiler for the school record, but it also set the tone as McIntosh led nearly wire to wire and never relented in a statement game that proclaimed the Chiefs are still the team to beat in Fayette County.

McIntosh leapt out to a quick lead and rode Will Washington the rest of the way. Three dunks in a row put the Chiefs up 9-4 early in the game after monster slams from Lowery and Chase Walter after sloppy defense by the Patriots. In total, the Chiefs would throw down four dunks in the opening frame highlighted by a Washington to Walter alley oop. At the end of the first quarter, McIntosh held a 20-15 lead in a fast pace game.

The Chiefs began to open up a lead, but Elias Harden kept Sandy Creek in the game and hit three three-pointers in the first half to draw the Patriots to within 27-26. But from that point on, it was all McIntosh. The Chiefs used a 16-0 run to blow open a 43-26 lead early into the third quarter. Washington was the key cog from his point guard position, making dazzling play after dazzling play. At the half McIntosh led 38-26 with Washington creating 25 of the team’s points, scoring 14 of his own and handing out five assists.

Sandy Creek had no answer for Washington and the bruising play inside of Lowery and Walter, who finished the night with 14 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocks and 10 points and seven rebounds respectively.

The Patriots went ice cold after drawing within one-point in the second quarter and McIntosh knew what to do after smelling blood in the water. Sandy Creek would never threaten in the second half.

My Take: Will Washington is the best pass-first true point guard in the entire state, hands down. His game is so smooth and his ability to find open teammates is uncanny and unteachable. For the third time this season, Washington left me shaking my head wondering why D-1 schools are not all over him. He finished with 25 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two steals and completely outplayed Christian Turner, a Gardner-Webb signee, who was stuck on six points for most of the game until a couple garbage time baskets. I wondered if Sandy Creek’s pressure could get to McIntosh’s guards — a resounding ‘no’. I wondered if Evan Jester and Keith Heard II were up to the task of banging bodies with the bulkier and more experienced Chase Walter and Dishon Lowery — ‘no’. Lowery and Walter combined for 24 points, 20 rebounds, three assists and five blocks while Jester and Heard only mustered up nine points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.

The most troubling thing I saw tonight was Sandy Creek trying to throw lobs off the backboard down 17 in the second half. There is a time and place for that; it’s not when your crosstown rival is throttling you. Elias Harden played well with 25 points, but he and the rest of the Patriots lived by the jumper and died by the jumper in the first half. Christian Turner wasn’t his usual aggressive self and didn’t attack the paint with much success. The Patriots hadn’t played for two weeks and it showed; definitely a brutal draw to play such a powerful team after the long layoff. Coach Anthony McKissic will have a lot of bulletin material to use and will have a nice opportunity to do some teaching and get Sandy Creek back inline as they re-enter region play.

Top Performers

Will Washington – 25 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
Dishon Lowery – 14 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks
Jordan Lyons – 13 points
Chase Walter – 10 points, 7 rebounds

Sandy Creek
Elias Harden – 25 points, 5 rebounds
Christian Turner – 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Evan Jester – 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Keith Heard II – 3 points, 6 rebounds

Feature Photo By Adam Hagy

12-18 Recaps





No. 1 Archer 61, Spartanburg (SC) 52: Archer received school-records in points and blocked shots from Autumn Newby as the Lady Tigers rallied from down nine points at the half to earn a win at the Crescom Bank Holiday Invitational. Newby finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Linsey Marchese posted 19 points and 15 rebounds in the comeback.

Northview 52, Habersham Central 41: Junior Shannon Titus scored 18 points and freshman Ashlee Austin tossed in 16 to power the Lady Titans to a region victory.

Class AAAA

No. 2 Marist 48, Grady 23: Dominique Oden kept the Lady War Eagles perfect with 16 points, five rebounds and four steals. Annabelle Farabaugh finished with 11 points and three assists in the win.

Pickens 51, Cartersville 44 OT: Mackenzie Hampton scored 15 points and Autumn Young chipped in 10 to lift the Dragonettes over Cartersville.

North Oconee 51, Washington-Wilkes 30: The Lady Titans received 16 points from Camryn Williams and 11 from Emma Weynand in the win.

St. Pius 41, Redan 38: Kathryn McKenzie scored 11 points and Macey Carson added 9 off the bench to lead St. Pius X over Redan in a Region 6-AAAA contest.  The Golden Lions (7-2, 6-2) led 30-21 after three quarters before the Raiders opened the fourth quarter on a 16-5 run to take a 37-36 lead with 1:45 to play. Hannah Jones gave the Golden Lions the lead for good with two free throws and found Leah Middleton streaking down the sideline with 14 seconds left for the final margin. Taylor Tucker led the Raiders (7-2, 6-2) with 12 with Brianna McIver chipping in 9 in the loss.

Class AAA

No. 3 Dawson County 69, Mt. de Sales 21: Karlie Bearden scored 14 and Haley Burgess added 13 points to cruise the Lady Tigers past Mt. de Sales in the first round of the St. Anne-Pacelli Christmas Tournament. Peyton Porter and Kaylee Sticker both chipped in eight points as well.

Class AA

Darlington 59, Calhoun 53: Anna Claire Atha poured in 30 points to lead the Lady Tigers over Calhoun at the Holiday Festival at Berry College. Kelsey Garrett added 16 points in the win. Calhoun was led by Jana Johns’ 20 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Ashlyn Barnes pitched in 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals for the Yellow Jackets.

Class A

No. 1 St. Francis 54, Millbrook (NC) 40: St. Francis led the entire game in the opening round of the Crescom Bank Holiday Invitational. Jala Jordan poured in 23 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Lady Knights. Maya Dodson scored 11 points and posted nine rebounds and five blocks.

First Presbyterian Day 69, Schley County 28: The Lady Vikings moved to 5-3 on the season. Emma Lako scored a team-high 17 points and Kate Patterson added 13.

Late No. 1 Laney Run Keeps Comeback Cats Undefeated

No. 1 Laney did it again last night.  The Wildcats rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to win on the road against Westside, 69-64. Chad Cook of AugBBall was in the crowd and has expert analysis on how the game unfolded. Please follow him on Twitter @AugBball for constant updates on the overlooked hotbed of Augusta basketball. Click the link below for his full thoughts on the game.

For @AUG_Chronicle’s recap, @WStaats8 was also on hand for the big game. His story can be found here:

Feature Photo by Augusta Chronicle

Sandy’s Spiel Joins HoopSeen

Official Press Release:

Yesterday afternoon it was announced that I will be joining the HoopSeen team effective immediately. You will be able to find Game Night Recaps, Games To Watch Previews and more on, but don’t fret — will still be up and running.

Rankings, in-game analysis and more will be housed here throughout the season. The partnership with such an established company with grassroots here in Georgia was a no-brainer, as I believe together we can show the love to the state of Georgia that it deserves.

If you are not already following me on Twitter, please do @KyleSandy355 and of course follow @HoopSeen and @HoopSeenGA along with the rest of the exemplary staff.

Thank you to all the players, coaches, supporters and readers for helping Sandy’s Spiel make a name for itself in the Peach State. Hopefully this is only the beginning for even greater things to come.

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