Tag Archives: cedar shoals

Peach State Stops of the Week (12/3-12/9)

People always ask me, “What’s the best game in town this week?

Peach State Stops of the Week will highlight some of the best basketball being played in Georgia for the current week. Whether it’s a tournament/showcase, a region rivalry, a Top 10 showdown, or a seldom heard sleeper, Peach State Stops of the Week will let you know what gym you need to get into


No. 5 Bradwell Institute at No. 4 Brunswick

If you want to take a trip to go see the Savannah River this Friday, you might as well stop by to catch two of the coast’s best basketball teams they have to offer at 8:30. The Tigers (6-1) are somewhat of an upstart, going 11-12 last year, but were a Preseason Top 10 team and haven’t disappointed yet thanks to the arrival of Preseason All-State First Teamer Khalyn Weekley and Isaiah Scott. Weekley is averaging over 20 points per game as a physical and explosive 6-foot-3 point guard while Scott provides a wiry 6-foot-4 frame on the wing that possesses a soft touch. Add Ronald Canty Jr. and Javonte LeCounte and you have a potent offense. The Tigers face a major test in defending Class AAAAAA state runner-up, Brunswick (5-0). The Pirates have handled their business behind a quick, yet undersized backcourt. 5-foot-8 senior Marcus Scott leads the team in scoring while 5-foot-10 Daquan Humphreys and 6-foot Jaylen Jackson are also experienced seniors. Tarique Gray and Shaky Baggs are two versatile pieces at Coach Chris Turner’s disposal.

No. 5 Southwest DeKalb at No. 3 Miller Grove

Region 5-AAAAA is always a dogfight with DeKalb County powers going toe-to-toe nightly. The young Panthers (5-2) will try to pick up a statement win over the Wolverines (4-2), who have seen their dominance and their talent gap shrink over the past two years, but still remain the team to beat. Sophomore point guard KD Johnson has proven to be the real deal and merits his Preseason All-State honors. The fearless competitor is averaging 18.9 points, 4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.6 steals per game. James Glisson III continues to round into a strong post presence, the 6-foot-6 junior averaging 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while lanky 6-foot-4 wing Eugene Brown III is chipping in 11.1 points and 7 rebounds. The trio will have to compete with TJ Stargell, Maurice Harvey and Lorenzo Anderson who pace the Wolverine offense from the backcourt. Stargell plays floor general while getting Anderson and Harvey in scoring position. Jermon Clark and Kevin Paige are two space eaters that rebound and block shots inside.



No. 7 Cedar Shoals at Clarke Central

The shoe is on the other foot for the first time in a long time for these two Athens rivals. Though they are currently ranked in the Top 10, No. 7 Cedar Shoals (2-4) is reeling after three straight losses against elite competition including a 74-48 defeat against Region 8 foe No. 2 Buford this Tuesday. Clarke Central (5-0) hasn’t played nearly as difficult of a schedule but have the momentum heading into Saturday’s showdown. The Gladiators have often been the underdog but even so, they’ve always found a way to play the Jaguars tight, losing 73-70 and 67-57 last season. The core of Dwon Smith, Quamontae Monfort, Mijah Campbell and Jaiquez Smith have helped the Gladiators to their best start since 2013-14’s 26-2 team. Trey Johnson and Martavius Darden give Andre McIntyre a bevy of scoring options. Cedar Shoals will turn to sophomores Quincy Canty and Tyler Johnson to provide an inside-outside punch. Jai’Vanni McDavid and Keivaziay Ball are scrappy senior guards that have been through countless wars under Coach L’Dreco Thomas. Keep an eye on sophomore Demetrius Glenn, a sharpshooter that transferred from Clarke Central to Cedar Shoals this offseason.

Georgia State Session II Top Teams

By Trent Markwith   (@TMarkwith14)

Parkview Impresses

There was some talk surrounding the Panthers coming into June after losing three key transfers to Shiloh, but this team used the GSU stage to show that they are just fine. Anchored down by Ahmir Langlais inside, Parkview has a dependable post presence in the 2019 big. Langlais is tough and very active down low, but is also smart in the post, knowing when to kick to guards if he is doubled.

The Panthers made their mark this weekend with pesky defense in each game; they have a plethora of tough guards who take pride in locking down on every possession. Their guards were also reliable on offense with good production from Wilfred Campbell, Brandon Harvey, Jamiel Wright, and others.

The Parkview guards can shoot outside and penetrate, which ensures that teams cannot just harass Langlais in the post without any worries. This combination of defensive pressure and an inside-out presence on offense propelled the Panthers to impressive wins throughout the weekend, which ended with them winning the championship against Cedar Shoals, who had beaten them earlier on Saturday. New Head Coach John Collins should be excited to see what this group will do in the winter.

Cedar Shoals Reloads

With the departure of nine seniors, there may have been some uncertainty heading into 2017-18 for the Jaguars. However, the defending Class AAAAA state runner-up gained two nice additions in 2020 players Tyler Johnson and Quincy Canty from Athens Christian, to go along with some returners who are ready to step up. The Cedar Shoals squad looked very good at GSU, with wins over St. Pius and Miller Grove in bracket play before losing in the aforementioned championship game against Parkview.

Johnson showed a nice all-around offensive skill set for the team, capitalizing on catch and shoot opportunities and scoring off the dribble consistently during camp. Canty provides versatility as a forward for the Jaguars; he was effective on mid-range jumpers and was aggressive inside on both ends, using his athleticism to rise over defenders for rebounds and buckets.

Rising seniors Jaivanni McDavid and Keivaziay Ball also had solid performances for the team, putting them with Johnson on the perimeter creates a very nice trio of guards for the Panthers. McDavid and Ball both know how to fill it up and will provide toughness and leadership for the Cedar Shoals team this year.

St. Pius Strikes Again

St. Pius was one of my favorite teams at the Georgia Tech team camp and this weekend they were back at GSU with more impressive play. The Golden Lions displayed the same fundamental, energetic play throughout the camp that I saw before, but I also had a few new observations this weekend.

Both Gonzalo twins missed some time at GSU and without two main guys, I felt like Everett Lane solidified himself as the go-to guy and clear leader for the team this upcoming season. Lane is such a competitor and thrives in big moments when his team needs someone to step up.

Along with Lane, Troy Stephens and Niko Broadway both picked up their play at the camp, further proving themselves as key pieces for St. Pius in 2017-2018. Both of these guards showed good toughness and scoring ability for the Golden Lions. Zach Ranson, who always plays with a lot of passion, seemed to have raised his level of intensity even more this weekend. Ranson was fierce inside, converting on crafty reverse layups, throwing his body around, and running hard in transition for easy baskets.

Time To Shine For Harvey And Co. At Miller Grove

With the graduation of Tae Hardy, who averaged nearly 20 PPG last season, several players now have the opportunity to step into the spotlight for Miller Grove. Maurice Harvey is now the primary ball-handler for the Wolverines and excelled in his role at GSU. It was already known that Harvey was a freak athlete in transition and while he put that on display this weekend, he also showed some nice point guard skills. Harvey made good reads off the pick and roll, dumping down to the roll man and hitting mid-range pull-ups when defenders went under the screen.

Other standouts for the Wolverines were Jermon Clark and Kevin Paige, who have big, physical bodies that they used to their advantage during the Wolverines’ games. These mobile, athletic forwards were very aggressive and productive for Miller Grove during their time at GSU; they scored and rebounded with ease for the Wolverines and showed that they form a post duo that will create issues for opposing teams this season.

Donell Nixon & No. 1 Buford sink No. 3 Cedar Shoals

No. 1 Buford 72, No. 3 Cedar Shoals 66

Coming off of a 59-54 overtime loss at Duluth, two-time defending Region 8 champion No. 3 Cedar Shoals was looking to get back on track. Standing in their way was new Region member, No. 1 Buford who suited up for the first time as the top ranked team in Class AAAAA.

Over the next 32 minutes, the two state powers traded blows until Buford came away victorious after a late mental error by the Jaguars.

A fast pace opened up the action as Alex Jones pushed the Wolves offense down the floor finding open men. He made sure to get powerful forward Marcus Watson in the mix early on, but Charleston Southern-signee Phlan Fleming lifted the Jags in the first quarter, gliding to the basket for six points.

Buford held a 16-11 lead after David Viti worked the glass for an And-1 and helped the Wolves finish the first quarter with a 20-15 lead.

In the second quarter starting point guard Jai’Vanni McDavid and reserve Damarrea Lowe got loose. The two sliced and diced, Lowe scoring all six of his points in the frame and McDavid netting eight of his 14 in the frame for Cedar Shoals.

As the two teams went back and forth, the one constant all night for Buford was Watson. The strong 6-foot-6 forward attacked the basket and punished the slighter of build Jaguars trying to defend him. He posted 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 25 points and 13 boards.

The heavyweights entered the half deadlocked at 31, but Cedar Shoals had reason for optimism as key pieces Stavion Stevenson, AJ Jones and Snipe Hall combined for just seven points in the opening 16 minutes.

Before the Jaguars could get their footing, Jones hit Donell Nixon for the third of his six threes to open up the third quarter. Nixon, standing only 5-foot-8 on a good day, peppered Cedar Shoals from beyond the arc the entire game, the Jags losing sight of the little man as he floated on the perimeter dropping in 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half.

Hall began to heat up for the Jaguars after a quiet first half and scored five straight to tie the game at 36, but in the blink of an eye Buford poured in a 12-0 run to take a commanding 53-40 lead, the spurt keyed by a Jones assist to Viti and then Jones and Nixon trading triples.

Up 13, Watson grabbed a rebound and tried to ignite a fast break but threw an errant pass into the chest of Stevenson who laid up an easy hoop, sparking a Jaguar run of their own. Cedar Shoals closed the third quarter on a 7-0 surge and entered the fourth quarter down 53-47.

The Jaguars ripped off 10 straight points to close to within three and eventually took the lead 60-57 as Hall and McDavid attacked Buford’s smaller guards. The 20-4 run had the home crowd in a frenzy as the Jaguars forced turnovers and picked up the tempo.

After Viti split a pair of free throws, the Jaguars somehow left Nixon open for another three, the Wolves regaining a 61-60 lead with 3:53 to play. Fifty-seven seconds later, Watson grabbed a miss and led the break, passing up to Jones. Jones took one dribble before dumping the ball off to Watson for a slam on a 2-on-1 fast break, one of Jones’ dazzling 12 assists on the night making it 63-60.

Hall answered however with an And-1 tying the game at 63 with 1:58 remaining, three of his 14 second half points. Just over 30 seconds later, it was Nixon again supplying a dagger from deep to give Buford a 66-63 lead.

The Jags were able to get a stop and raced down the court for a chance to either tie or cut it to one, but Bobby Miller came out of nowhere to poke the ball away from behind to give possession back to the Wolves.

Having to foul, Cedar Shoals sent Nixon to the line where he sank two attempts to go up five. With time ticking down, AJ Jones put on an array of moves in the corner to get free and splashed a step-back three to breathe life into the Jaguars, cutting the lead to 68-66 with 21.2 seconds left.

Nixon was sent to the line for a 1-and-1, but inexplicably as he attempted his first free throw, the Jaguars had six men on the floor, resulting in a technical foul. Nixon was awarded with four free throws and buried them all as he went 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and as a team the Wolves finished the game 18-of-22 from the stripe, clinching a wild Region 8 road victory.

My Take

No. 1 vs. No. 3 lived up to the hype albeit a sour ending to the game. Alex Jones was masterful at point guard for the Wolves. Pound-for-pound he is one of the best point guards in the state and I can fully endorse he is the best passer I’ve seen in the state of Georgia over the past two seasons, ranking in the top echelon with Will Washington formerly of McIntosh. Close to the group is also Xavier Bledson of Gainesville. Jones’ court vision is elite. He can drop dimes on the best defenses in the state. Donell Nixon was absolutely lights out from deep. Cedar Shoals had to hold their breath whenever he attempted a shot from beyond the arc. He may have missed one or two tops. Nixon was simply automatic when left open and had ice water in his veins at the line in the fourth.  Of course possibly the most important due to his X-factor ability, is Marcus Watson who moved in from North Carolina. He is a physical presence attacking the hoop but also showed the willingness to attempt threes, hitting one. As exciting as his two-handed flushes were, I was most impressed by the forward’s free throw shooting. He went a perfect 8-of-8 from the line. He has D-I written all over him. He and Nixon are just sophomores. Scary. Even scarier? David Viti and Jones are still juniors and senior Sahil Patel isn’t even playing due to a knee injury. And by the way, the biggest play of the game bar none? Bobby Miller’s chase down steal on the fast break. That was HUGE.

Cedar Shoals could have laid over and died when Buford stunned them with a lightning quick 12-0 run, but the heart of a winner can’t be taken for granted. The Jaguars are some junkyard dogs that don’t fold when games get tough. Last year it was Jerrick Mitchell powering the offense at the point and now this year it was Jai’Vanni McDavid, a junior, that did it all for Coach L’Dreco Thomas. The Jags don’t have the D-I sex appeal that other programs have, but their players play hard. McDavid finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Damarrea Lowe, who I loved at the Miller Grove Shot Clock League, gave the Jaguars a spark in the second quarter and is an exceptional guard off the bench that could start for most teams. AJ Jones and Snipe Hall were quiet in the first half but loud in the second. Jones scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth while Hall carried the group throughout the final 16 minutes. Phlan Fleming got off to a quick start, looking smooth getting to the cup but then faded off until he hit a big three late in the third quarter. Stavion Stevenson had a quiet night inside with just four points. The Jags are yet to hit their stride but have all the pieces in place to make another run to the Final Four. Region 8 will be a dog fight between the two statewide powers.

Top Performers

Marcus Watson – 25 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Donell Nixon – 26 points (6 threes), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block
Alex Jones – 10 points, 2 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 steal
David Viti – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist

Cedar Shoals
Snipe Hall – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 4 steals
Jai’Vanni McDavid – 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals
AJ Jones – 12 points, 1 rebound
Phlan Fleming – 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Damarrea Lowe – 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Stavion Stevenson – 4 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals

Georgia State Team Camp Session II Analysis P. III

Head Turner

Avery Wilson of Forest Park can flat out score the ball. I said he was 6-foot-1 in my preview, but after shaking hands with him and meeting him face to face, he’s closer to 6-foot-3 or maybe 6-foot-4 on a good day. Stock up. The explosive guard didn’t play in the first half in a loss to Westminster but decided to give it a go in the second half.

Wilson was nursing a beat up ankle but that didn’t stop him from making an immediate impact. His first two touches in the second half? Two layups in a row, charging his way down the lane. Wilson wasn’t done there. Not just a put-your-head-down-and-attack guy, Wilson banged in three threes including a four-point play. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds and one steal in one half of work. Not bad, considering he hurt his ankle late in the game and did not re-enter. He’s healthy now and will continue to get buckets his senior season. Don’t sleep on the kid from Forest Park.

Bright Future

With Malik Beasley being the 19th pick in the NBA Draft, Kaiser Gates entering year two at Xavier, 6-foot-7 forward Chance Anderson gone to San Francisco and Kobi Simmons off to Arizona after a McDonald’s All-American career, one would think the St. Francis dynasty would finally be entering its twilight right? You might want to hold off on those predictions because Coach Drew Catlett is enamored with his group, especially his young talent that has worked its way up through the pipelines.

Freshmen Dwon Odom and Chase Ellis are ready to make an impact. Odom at 6-foot-2 but still room to grow a few more inches, is a freakish athlete that has had a great year. The 6-foot-2 Ellis might not have quite the athleticism or ceiling as Odom, but he is an elite scorer, pumping in over 1,000 points over his middle school career.

Final Four

Miller Grove 27, Cedar Shoals 24

Bucket-getter extraordinaire Tae Hardy poured in 13 points and three steals, including the game-clinching steal and dunk at the buzzer. Kevin Paige continued his strong camp with four rebounds and two blocks. Cedar Shoals received 12 points from Snipe Hall and five rebounds. Phlan Fleming finished with six points and three boards.

Woodstock 28, Parkview 27 

Cam Chavers, last season’s leading scorer for the Panthers as a sophomore, dropped in nine points and talented sophomore point guard Jamiel Wright added six points but the Wolverines were able to hold on. Late blooming post, 6-foot-5 senior Cameron Crowe was able to negate Ahmir Langlais’ dominance inside (four points) and outscored him with seven points of his own. Noah Frith, an active 6-foot-4 junior when healthy, tagged on six points in the win.


Miller Grove 35, Woodstock 18
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU

The 7-time state champion Wolverines raced out to a 9-0 lead against the first time in 20 years state playoff berth Wolverines and never looked back on their way to the Session II title. Jalen Mason, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, poured in 11 points for Miller Grove. I liked what Mason did over the course of camp as an active defender on the perimeter that keyed a lot of breakouts over the weekend. Tae Hardy scored six in the win and Kevin Paige corralled six rebounds.

For Woodstock, Tyreke Johnson did everything he could to lead the Wolverines. Johnson, who had a strong showing at Kennesaw State Elite Camp which led to an invite back to practice with KSU, continued his hot summer. The 6-foot-4 guard netted 11 points in the loss. Cameron Crowe performed admirably against the bulkier Miller Grove front line coming up with three blocks.


Georgia State Team Camp Session II Analysis P. II

Jenkins 52, Duluth 34

Simply put, Jenkins dominated this game. Senior point guard Zion Williams finished with nine points and four assists, three assists coming off alley-oops, two to junior Tyrone Scott and one off the backboard to Trevion Lamar. Scott is a good athlete at his forward position, standing 6-foot-3. He averaged 8.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as the Warriors fell in the Class AAA state finals. Against Duluth, he scored a game-high 14 points to go with his eight rebounds. Lamar scored six points.

Junior guard Adam Flagler was the only Wildcat that could find the bottom of the net for Duluth. He scored a team-high nine points and added four rebounds and two assists. Lamont Smith was held to four points while Kennesaw State Elite Camp participant Jalen Hodges finished with two points and five rebounds. Alex Powell, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, grabbed just one rebound and didn’t score. He did not see the floor in the second half with a DNP-CD.

Cedar Shoals 52, Etowah 40

A lot of chatter has come from Towne Lake about Etowah building something special to rival Woodstock. Coach Allen Whitehart got a great test from Class AAAAA semifinalist Cedar Shoals and nearly stunned the Jaguars before Phlan Fleming came to life. Etowah jumped out to an early lead behind the sharp shooting duo of Lewis Simonson and Nick Nagy. Nagy hit four threes and finished with 12 points while Simonson canned three and ended with 11.  6-foot-6 junior post Julian Baldwin notched eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Cedar Shoals’ press eventually wore on the Eagles. Fleming caused the smaller Etowah guards nightmares, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and eight steals. Stavion Stevenson hurt the Eagles inside as well with 14 points. Snipe Hall was held to six points and five rebounds but Q’titrius Dillard provided a spark with eight points.

Etowah can be a dangerous team when they are knocking down threes. They hit six in the first half but just one in the second half when they began to struggle with the Jags’ length and athleticism.

King’s Ridge 36, Chattooga 34

The Foster twins are electric on the gridiron and hardwood

North Georgia’s finest, the Chattooga Indians who finished 23-5 last year, dropped a close game to King’s Ridge. I said in my preview that the Indians only lose three players for this upcoming season, but Head Coach Jared Groce informed me that it is now seven. The most notable loss being 6-foot-6 senior center Cameron Evans, who has swapped allegiances with now former region foe Darlington in order to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback. Outside of Evans last year, Chattooga’s tallest player was 6-foot-3 Dee McCutchins, who has since graduated.

Back for Coach Groce is the dynamic backcourt of twins Isaiah and Isaac Foster. The 5-foot-10 guards are feisty and can light up opponents that don’t take them serious. Isaac scored four points in the loss but brother Isaiah gave King’s Ridge everything they could handle. He took over down the stretch and put the Indians in a position to win before a late foul at half court diving for a loose ball damaged the Indians’ shot at winning, which resulted in King’s Ridge hitting the game-winning free throws.

Isaiah finished with 12 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. He can get to the hole with the dribble and can drain the three-ball. The Foster Bros. are must see basketball in North Georgia.

Sandy Creek 28, Therrell 26

TJ Bickerstaff (23) will be asked to take over Elias Harden's scoring role
TJ Bickerstaff (23) will be asked to take over Elias Harden’s scoring role

Without 6-foot-7 senior forward Evan Jester who was on a visit to Cornell, Sandy Creek was able to hold off Therrell. Junior guard Jarred Godfrey led the Patriots with eight points and two steals. 6-foot-6 sophomore TJ Bickerstaff contributed five points and three boards. Chris Porter had five points but my biggest game changer was the smallest man on the court; 5-foot-6 junior Kam Miller. The jitterbug lefty disrupted the Therrell guards with his quick hands, leading to four steals.

King’s Ridge 24, Centennial 21

Mountain of a man Tolu Jacobs, the 7-foot, 280-pound junior, didn’t pan out in Georgia and is now on the West Coast. Coach Scepter Brownlee is not deterred however, even with the loss of Jacobs and explosive scorer Ellis Merriweather (Alpharetta).  Senior Sean Flanigan, who missed last year with a knee injury, re-enters the fold for 2016-17. The 6-foot-2 guard scored eight points in the win and collected three rebounds, two steals and a block as well. Flanigan attacked the rim well and finished when he got there. 6-foot-5 stretch forward Eric Coleman Jr. looked good knocking down two threes. Coach Brownlee expects good things from his duo along with senior point guard Kameron Dozier.