Tag Archives: Allatoona

Miller Grove hangs No. 7 in defensive war with Allatoona

No. 1 Miller Grove 50, No. 2 Allatoona 48

Head Coach Sharman White said before the game that No. 1 Miller Grove (30-2) needed to attack to beat No. 2 Allatoona (31-1) and that’s what they did. They attacked the Buccaneers not only on offense but on defense, surviving previously undefeated Allatoona 50-48 for the program’s seventh title in eight years after Ephraim Tshimanga was unable to get a shot off on the Bucs’ final possession.

Allatoona controlled the tempo and contained Miller Grove’s explosive offense led by McDonald’s All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert. The Bucs got off to a hot start with a 4-0 lead, but turnovers throughout the game prevented Allatoona from taking a complete grasp of the game. 23 turnovers haunted the Bucs while the two teams combined for 24 in the first half with Miller Grove committing just three errors in the second half.

Allatoona turned Miller Grove’s turnovers into seven points in the first quarter. An unexpected lift came in the form of 6-foot-7 senior Randy Legros. The defensive specialist attacked Raylon Richardson and got him into foul trouble early. Legros finished with eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines surged ahead to take a 24-20 halftime lead behind the play of Gilbert. The star guard netted eight of his 15 points in the second period. Both he and Aaron Augustin caused the Bucs fits by attacking the hole relentlessly, the two combining to go 13-of-19 from the foul line on the night.


Down four at the half, it was still a game that Allatoona felt it had a chance to win by slowing down one of the state’s most potent offenses. After Miller Grove extended its lead to 27-22, its largest of the game, Allatoona stormed back with a 9-0 run to take a 31-27 edge with 3:30 remaining. With 1:36 to play in the third, sophomore guard Trey Doomes began his first battle with cramps with the Bucs still leading by four.

Allatoona pushed its lead to 37-32 after Doomes found Kevin Perry for an And-1 with 1:19 left, but Augustin would put the Wolverines on his back to end the quarter, collecting a basket plus the foul and then a steal and a lay up to tie the game at 37, five of his team-high 16 points.

The Wolverines trailed 40-37 entering the fourth after Perry banked home a three-ball. Up three with 6:34 remaining, Doomes started to cramp up again. Richardson who was surprisingly outplayed by Legros, nailed a clutch three to knot the game at 44 at the 4:46 mark, still anyone’s game.

Tae Hardy found a bucket inside to regain the lead for Miller Grove 46-44 with 2:35 to play. Down two with 1:44 to go, Doomes missed two free throws and Colin Young made him pay with a jumper to make it 49-45.

Augustin fouled Perry on a three on the following possession and the Coastal Georgia signee sank all three, cutting it to 49-48 with 1:08 left. Mr. Georgia Basketball, Gilbert, was sent to the line with a chance to ice the game but missed the front end of the one-and-one allowing Coach Markus Hood to diagram a play with 19.5 seconds to go.

Instead of getting off a shot, it was Young who came away with the steal and was fouled in the open court.  Young split his free throws with five seconds left setting up one last opportunity for the Buccaneers to complete a dream season and go undefeated but Tshimanga lost the ball on Joshua Jackmon’s leg as it was knocked away and Miller Grove fell on it to secure another banner for Coach White.

Tshimanga, a senior, finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals in his final game. Perry added 13 points while Doomes had an up-and-down night with seven points, five rebounds, five assists but eight turnovers.

Young, who scored eight points on the night, was the key to the Wolverines’ success late.

“He stuck with it. He missed a couple shots he felt like he should have hit earlier, so he was kind of down but he fought through. Just typical of the way he plays. He’s never going to quit and he’s going to keep on fighting and he made two huge plays down the stretch for us,” explained Coach White.

Allatoona didn’t throw any curveballs Miller Grove’s way, even with the emergence of Legros inside.

“They were who they were. They executed their game plan. We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” said White. “Of course you want to win this game in a way where you don’t have to work as hard but we were prepared for a dog fight.”

For a second straight season, it was Allatoona coming up just short on the big stage. Last year’s 49-32 loss to Brunswick was a case of sour shooting but this year the Bucs shot well, hitting 51.6 percent of their shots compared to Miller Grove’s 42.5.

Coach Hood’s four seniors, Dylon Ramsey, Ephraim Tshimanga, Kevin Perry and Randy Legros were paramount to Allatoona’s success.

“Their leadership kept us together and kept us marching forward,” explained Hood. “And tonight, Miller Grove was let off the hook. We had them. But that’s ok. Because you know what’s more important than the scoreboard out there? It’s the journey we had with our young men.”

“If he [Legros] doesn’t get in foul trouble tonight, we win that game tonight. He brings us a presence in the paint. He was the best big man on the floor tonight and I thought it was obvious.”

No. 2 Allatoona says Ahoy! to undefeated regular season

No. 2 Allatoona 75, New Manchester 57

No. 2 Allatoona (25-0, 18-0) wrapped up its fifth straight season going undefeated in region play, advancing its streak to 77 in-a-row on Thursday night after using an 18-0 run spanning over five minutes from the end of the third quarter into the fourth to clinch a 75-57 win over New Manchester and stay perfect on the year.

Having lost 58-47 on Dec. 12 at home to the Buccaneers, New Manchester (17-6, 13-4) felt prepared to take the next step into becoming a statewide threat if they could defeat the juggernaut that Allatoona has become.

The Bucs jumped out to a 12-7 lead midway through the first quarter before Clinton Bentley connected on a four-point play in the right corner. The corner proved to be a headache for both coaches, as three players were fouled while taking a three during the course of the game. Bentley’s bucket gave the Jaguars a 13-12 lead before Allatoona pushed ahead. Known for the defensive prowess of Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes, inside it was sophomore Rolan Wooden off the bench that gave up his body. Wooden would take three charges in the first quarter alone and finish with four drawn on the night.

Allatoona only took a 21-19 lead into the second quarter after Tabashi Thomas came away with a steal and assist Momodou Singhateh as time expired.

For the Buccaneers, the 40-point quarter and high pace were not to their typical liking, allowing the Jaguars to play their tempo and find baskets in transition. In the second quarter with the game teetering back and forth, sophomore Chima Ogboi stepped in and provided a spark for Coach Markus Hood’s Bucs.

First Ogboi found Wooden for a layup.

Then it was Michael Johnson the beneficiary of an Ogboi dime, hitting a three in the corner. Ogboi capped the spurt with a drive to the basket for a hoop of his own making it 33-25, the 6-foot-3 forward accounting for seven straight points.

New Manchester fought back to stay in striking distance and cut the lead to 35-30 with 53.3 seconds left. The Jaguars would enter the break trailing 39-32, Bentley almost hitting a three at the buzzer after a steal.

Uncharacteristic sloppy play haunted the Bucs in the first half. Coach Hood, Coach Craig Gaskins and Coach Nicholas Estes went to the drawing board at halftime and got back to basics, but it wasn’t before the Jaguars made one last push at the undefeated Buccaneers.

Bentley connected with Titus Cook in the left corner for a three-ball, making it 45-43 with 4:41 left in the third quarter, Coach James Bailey’s bunch only down two.

Then Allatoona tightened the screws.

In the flip of a switch the Buccaneers stopped toying with New Manchester and tamed the Jags with their relentless defense keyed up top by Doomes and Tshimanga.

Allatoona closed the quarter on a 10-0 run taking a 55-43 lead into the fourth quarter, putting New Manchester on the ropes after Michael Johnson sparked the run with five points. At the 6:53 mark of the fourth quarter, Allatoona delivered its knockout punch, an 18-0 run ballooning the lead to 63-43. New Manchester was held scoreless for over five minutes until Bentley got a hoop and harm with 6:42 left. From there on out it was academic, Allatoona committing zero second half turnovers and all 12 players scoring helping the Bucs cruise to an 18-point win in Davey Jones’ Locker.

My Take: Shots might not fall but defense doesn’t slump. Allatoona decided to run-and-gun with New Manchester in the first half, but when games are won and lost in the final 16 minutes, they decided to get back to Buccaneer Basketball. The fan base, understanding of the team’s strength, got behind the Bucs as they began to grind away at the Jaguars. The Bucs Basketball Moms brought the D-Fence with them in the crowd and were great all night. On the court the usual suspects had their hands in New Manchester’s cookie jar all game long. Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes continued to terrorize opposing guards. The duo came away with eight steals to pace Allatoona’s 16. Kevin Perry played a nice game with six points in both the first and fourth quarters to finish with 12. Three unsung heroes stood out to me in Rolan Wooden, Chima Ogboi and Michael Johnson. Wooden scored five points, but it was his willingness to sacrifice his body which did not go unnoticed. He drew four charges and has been taking ones for the team all season long. Ogboi accounted for a quick seven points during his stretch in the second quarter. The Mt. Paran transfer shows a lot of potential as being a great glue guy that can do a little bit of everything in the years to come. Johnson scored eight points. It was his three-pointer that ignited the 18-0 run to put away New Manchester.

The Jaguars played hard and have some good athletes led by Tabashi Thomas, the quarterback of the football team. He skied for a couple rebounds and threw down a dunk. Clinton Bentley didn’t play his best game, but he is a good junior guard that should produce big numbers his senior season. The Jaguars will lose Thomas, Randall Quarles, Momodou Singhateh and Aaron Reddick to graduation as key seniors, but Coach James Bailey’s team shouldn’t completely fall off next year.

Top Performers

Trey Doomes – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Ephraim Tshimanga – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals
Kevin Perry – 12 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
Dylon Ramsey – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Michael Johnson – 8 points
Chima Ogboi – 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Rolan Wooden – 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 charges

New Manchester
Tabashi Thomas – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal
Clinton Bentley – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Titus Cook – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Momodou Singhateh – 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

Swashbuckling Defense Propels Allatoona Over Harrison

5A No. 4 Allatoona 56,  6A Harrison 45

The city of Acworth hosted a preseason meeting between my 5A preseason No. 4 Allatoona Buccaneers against the visiting 6A Harrison Hoyas, who I deemed as one of my Super Sleepers (https://sandysspiel.com/sandys-spiels-super-sleepers/) this upcoming season.

The Hoyas managed to hang around with the Bucs in the first half, trailing 16-14 at the end of one and 25-22 at the half thanks to strong starts from big men Austin York and Ryan Boler, who scored 6 and 7 points respectively in the first two quarters. But once the second half rolled around, it was all Allatoona.

Allatoona’s trapping defense led to 17 steals

The full court trapping defense of the Buccaneers collected 10 first half steals and eventually wore down on the Hoyas who were without guard DJ Rowe. In the first 16 minutes of play alone, Ephraim Tshimanga of Allatoona had 6 steals to his credit while Trey Doomes pick-pocketed 3.  The duo of Doomes and Tshimanga was relentless all night as Tshimanga finished with 8 steals while Doomes collected 5.

The Bucs busted the game open in the second half using a 10-0 run to open up a 35-22 advantage they would never be threatened to relinquish. Harrison found its first points of the second half on a York bucket inside at the 4:33 mark. York scored six of the Hoyas’ eight third quarter points and would score 15 in the half to total a game-high 21.

Trey Doomes strokes a free throw
Trey Doomes strokes a free throw

Allatoona outscored Harrison 16-to-8 in the third quarter to take a comfortable 41-30 lead into the fourth. Coach Markus Hood and the Bucs cruised to victory in the final frame and were able to play its bench big minutes to prepare for the regular season.

Turning Point: A 10-0 run to start the second half changed the momentum of the game and gave Allatoona the cushion it needed to hold off the Hoyas. The constant pressure defense applied by the Allatoona guards, primarily Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes, helped account for 17 Buccaneer steals.

My Take: Allatoona will once again be a dangerous team come state playoff time. The Bucs lost a lot of seniors from last year’s state runner-up team, but in talking with Assistant Coach Craig Gaskins before the game, a few players are ready to step up and shoulder a bigger load. The Bucs’ trapping press was ultra-effective tonight. Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes were like pitbulls at times, hounding the Hoya ball handlers and not letting them advance the ball without harassing them. Kevin Perry, who signs with Coastal Georgia tomorrow morning, looked great as well tonight and showed a feathery touch, sinking two threes and going 6-of-6 from the line. As it did in the state championship last year, size inside could be the achilles heel for Allatoona. The cohesion along the perimeter will be as strong as it gets in the state, but Randy Legros will need to hold his own down low and give the Buccaneers second chances on the offensive glass and alter shots on defense. Chima Ogboi, a sophomore transfer from Mt. Paran Christian, impressed me with his hustle off the bench and could help spark the team at times this season. He finished with 6 rebounds. For Harrison, I am not aware of where DJ Rowe was (unless someone put another player’s name in his place in the scorebook). He was expected to be a big piece of the puzzle this season at the guard spot. Austin York performed admirably and carried the Hoyas. He can bang inside and showed nice footwork. York can also step outside and knock down the jumper. If someone can step up and help take some of the offensive burden off of York, the Hoyas have a chance to be sneaky team this season.

Top Performers:

Kevin Perry – 16 points, 3 rebounds
Ephraim Tshimanga – 11 points, 5 rebounds, 8 steals
Trey Doomes – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 stealsIMG_7685

Austin York – 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks
Ryan Boler – 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 blockIMG_7686