Tag Archives: central-talbotton

Peach State Stops of the Week (1/8-1/13)

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. 3 Sandy Creek at No. 9 Cartersville

Right now, it looks like Region 5-AAAA will boil down to No. 3 Sandy Creek (11-3) and No. 9 Cartersville (10-2). The two teams had a couple wars last year with the Patriots winning at home 86-80 and in the region tournament 60-53 while Cartersville won a wild game in Bartow County in overtime 94-88. While some faces have changed, especially on the Sandy Creek side, expect this long distance rivalry to continue. Kam Miller, Chris Porter and Jarred Godfrey will have their hands full trying to corral Furman-signee Jaylon Pugh. TJ Horton’s aggressiveness in the backcourt will test the Patriots as well. TJ Bickerstaff will have to be the difference maker for Sandy Creek. The 6-foot-7 junior wing has come on strong this season and will need to hunt his shot and crash the glass to take advantage of a smaller Hurricane lineup.

No. 8 Banks County at No. 4 Rabun County [G]

The Lady Leopards (13-3) and the defending Class AA state runner-up LadyCats (12-2) have blossomed into one of North Georgia’s most heated rivalries on the girls’ side. The two meet for the first time this season after Rabun County beat Banks County in the Region 8 championship 78-67 last year after splitting the regular season series. Banks County has challenged themselves early this year, playing three ranked teams twice apiece, going 4-2 against Hart County, West Hall and Madison County. Jaycie Bowen has led the attack from the paint along with Amber Williams while Maddie Thomas and Allison Smith provide matchup problems with their size on the perimeter. Rabun County already has a region loss in the form of an 82-53 defeat at Putnam County, but the emergence of junior guard Georgia Stockton has helped keep the Cats stay afloat without Brooke Henricks. Stockton has poured in the points averaging upwards of 25 per game while receiving help from Laken Stiles and Kaitlin Coleman. Expect an intense high-action game with Rabun County trying to set the tone with their press and challenge the Leopards’ ball handling.


No. 2 Manchester at No. 1 Central-Talbotton

Coach Anzy Hardman has turned No. 2 Manchester (11-0) into a Class A-Public contender and now has a chance to take over the mantle as the team to beat if they can stop No. 1 Central-Talbotton (13-0) and its high-powered offense. Defensive pressure keyed by Jah’nile Hill, Kalil Brawner and Carlos Dixon will try to disrupt the powerful trio of Tayne Smith, ZyTavian Hill and Javares Copeland. Inside, the Blue Devils have physicality around the rim to deny any free runs from Hill or Smith in the form of 6-foot-4, 295-pound Jerquavion Mahone, a defensive tackle heading to Kentucky. While the Hawks have the size advantage on the perimeter, they will still have to chase around Hill, a lightning rod of energy that thrives in transition and creates offense from his pesky defense. It will be a sell-out crowd over in West Georgia with the potential for a break-neck pace.


Creekview at No. 10 Etowah

When was the last time Cherokee County had two boys teams with one loss this late into the season? If someone knows, I’d love to hear the answer. The golden days of boys basketball have been fleeting, but there’s a glimmer of hope between Towne Lake and Owens Store Road. The Eagles (14-1) have hovered around the bottom of the Top 10 in Class AAAAAAA, a great honor after their trip to the Sweet 16 last season. Jaxon Etter has begun to garner D-1 interest with his play on the wing. The junior teams up with Tusculum-signee Adrian Cohen, 6-foot-7 senior Julian Baldwin, D-3 commit Carter Ingersoll and defensive specialist Nick Nagy, who has already clamped down the likes of Devin Vassell (Florida State) and KD Johnson. The Eagles have won 14-straight with their calling card being tough-nosed defense that allows just 44.8 points per game. Creekview (13-1) carries a 12-game winning streak in Class AAAAAA behind KJ Jenkins, the No. 4 senior point guard in the state. Jenkins has proven to be a human torch that can catch fire from deep. Ty Allen along with posts Paxton Nayman and James Wall have helped balance the offense while Barrett Patterson supports from the outside. Etowah will be Creekview’s toughest task since their 68-49 loss to Mt. Bethel Christian.

All-State duo Tayne Smith & ZyTavian Hill power No. 2 Central-Talbotton in early battle of unbeatens

Contributed by Rob Grubbs   (@RCGJr226070)

No. 2 Central-Talbotton 75, Dooly County 68

TALBOTTON, Ga – There is a special feel about high school basketball in the small towns across Georgia, the intimacy of the gym, the feel of community and the sense of pride for those who played previously and return for the memories and root for the current team. A perfect example is Talbotton, Georgia where the Central-Talbotton Hawks call home. On this chilly night, the action heated up inside as two undefeated teams faced off in an early Region 4-A matchup. The No. 2 ranked Hawks (9-0) welcomed the undefeated Dooly County Bobcats (4-1) from Vienna, Georgia.  After overcoming a 13-point halftime deficit, the Bobcats fought back to tie the game at 58-58 with four minutes remaining, but the All-State duo of Tayne Smith and ZyTavian Hill took control down the stretch for the 75-68 win.

In the first quarter, the Hawks were up 6-5 early but went on a 10-2 run featuring threes from Hill and Javares Copeland for the 16-7 lead. The Hawks would push that lead to 13 at the half, with Hill and Smith both scoring three-point plays on drives to the basket with the foul. With Bobcat star Jarquavius Brown held in check in the first half, sophomore Rashad Lucas lead Dooly with six points and was strong on the boards.

You can never keep a player like Brown down for long, as he spearheaded the Bobcat comeback by scoring 13 points in the third quarter as Dooly County slowly whittled the lead away. Brown also showed his passing ability, threading the needle on a full-court pass for an easy basket after a Hawk made free throw. The Bobcats finally tied things up with 6:21 remaining in the game at 51 with a three from Bo Lawson, his second three of the fourth quarter.

With the game tied now, it felt like Central-Talbotton rose their game to a higher level. Perhaps Dooly County had expended too much energy in making the comeback, but the two times the Bobcats tied things up, the Hawks seemed to dig deeper. Once things were tied at 58, Hill got a strong offensive rebound and put-back to give Central-Talbotton a lead they would never relinquish as they closed the game on a 17-10 run, including Smith’s free throw clinic at the end to ice it.

Hawk Head Coach Fredrick Cotton said of his two stars, “They are big time athletes, they are who we want to have the ball with the game on the line. They have played together so long, it is almost like they know exactly what the other is thinking and going to do. They are fun to watch.  We have seven seniors, they all have a lot of experience playing together.”

Dooly County Head Coach Towandi King also put on a coaching clinic, he respectfully negotiated with the refs all night and coached his players back into the game when it would have been easy for them to fold on a mid-week game on the road. In the end, his team ran out of gas from the comeback effort, but they were right there till the end.

The win gives Central-Talbotton the lead in the early Region 4-A standings, but there is a lot of ball left to be played.

Rob’s Takeaways

  1. Region 4-A is going to be fun to watch, there were four undefeated teams headed into action Tuesday night, No. 2 Central-Talbotton, No. 3 Macon County, No. 10 Manchester and Dooly County. Also in the mix is Brookstone at 6-2.
  2. It was a tough road trip for Dooly County. On a school night, they left Talbotton at 9:30 for the 1:30 hour drive back to Vienna, which would put them home sometime after 11pm. Single-A schools face long trips for region contests.
  3. JaQuavius Smith let the game come to him, after being held scoreless in the first quarter, he finished with 29, highlighted by 11 in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, including 7-7 from the free throw line.
  4. ZyTavian Hill is a beast on the boards, he thinks every loose ball is his and he takes it.
  5. Hawk senior Javares Copeland is a solid inside player, perfect complement to Hill and Smith and has gotten college coaches’ attention as well.
  6. Bobcat Jarquavius Brown scored right at his season average of 26.7. He is a finalist for the Mr. Middle-Georgia basketball player of the year presented by Hypesouth Media.

Top Performers

JaQuavius “Tayne” Smith – 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
ZyTavian Hill – 29 points, 14 rebounds
Javares Copeland – 9 points, 6 rebounds 3 steals

Dooly County
Jarquavius Brown – 25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
Zeff Felton – 9 points, 15 rebounds
Rashad Lucas – 16 points, 7 rebounds

5 Ready to Contend

From good to great, these teams are looking to take the next step into becoming state championship contenders. While there are blue bloods in every classification that will open up as perennial favorites, these “Cinderella stories” should be in the discussion as dark horses to make a deep run.

R3-AAA (19-10, 11-3)

Amanze Ngumezi
Amanze Ngumezi

It’s now or never for the Atomsmashers to regain control of Region 3. Coach Utaff Gordon returns his top three scorers from a group that pushed eventual state champion Pace Academy to the brink in the Sweet 16 before running out of gas 49-41. 6-foot-8 senior Amanze Ngumezi must take his game to the next level after averaging 12.8 points per game and earning more D-I offers this spring. 2019 guard Shamar Jones led Johnson in scoring at 13.2 points while brothers Eleik, E’Maury and Elavian Bowles bring energy and versatility to the backcourt. Jenkins, who went 3-1 vs. Johnson, should take a step back to the pack with Region 3 Player of the Year Trevion Lamar graduating along with sparkplug guard Zion Williams. Islands has the best player in Savannah in junior point guard Trae Broadnax, but running mates Justin Cave and Hugh Durham have both graduated. If Johnson can’t grab the one-seed or at the very worst the two-seed, it will be a failed season unless they get hot in the state tournament.

Jeff Davis
R2-AA (20-8, 11-5)

Ja'Queze Kirby
Ja’Queze Kirby

Coach Donnie Arrington is starting to build something in Hazlehurst. After going 105-38 in five years at Effingham County, Arrington decided to reconstruct Jeff Davis. He has done so. Now entering his fourth season, he has gone from 4-22 to 13-14 to 20-8 last year. Arrington’s centerpiece is Class AA Freshman of the Year Ja’Queze Kirby. At 6-foot-5, Kirby did it all for the Yellowjackets, leading the team in points (14.8), rebounds (11.7), assists (3.3), blocks (3.2) and second in steals (2.1). Second leading scorer Kirese Manley (13.4 ppg) and fourth and fifth leading scorers Chandler Davenport (9 ppg) and Tae Thomas (7.9 ppg) all return for their senior season. Swainsboro and Vidalia will still be tough customers but Kirby’s versatility could be the ace up Jeff Davis’ sleeve. The Yellowjackets were trounced as the three-seed in the first round of the playoffs by Butler, 88-67.

Athens Christian
R8-A (22-7, 11-3)

Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson

The clouds have finally parted for the Eagles to take flight. Those clouds over the past two seasons have been known as the Lakeview Academy Lions, but with a massive senior class graduating, it may be time for Athens Christian to regain their perch atop Region 8. Just three seasons ago, the Eagles finished 29-1 behind current UGA Bulldog “Turtle” Jackson. Athens Christian doesn’t have a stud like that this year, but they do return an extremely young team that fell in the Class A-Private Elite Eight to, guess who, Lakeview Academy for the third time last year. Everybody returns from a team that suited up five freshmen, two sophomores and six juniors. 6-foot-5 freshman Quincy Canty led the team in scoring and was an All-Region Second Team selection. Senior Cody Boyd brings experience to the backcourt and a crafty scoring touch with his left-handed stroke. Richard Jibunor and Kohl Phillips are both important pieces heading into their senior seasons. Jibunor is a physical 6-foot-3 presence inside who holds SEC offers for football. Lastly, rising sophomore guard Tyler Johnson looks ready to make even more of an impact in year two. He has put together a strong summer with his scoring prowess. He plays bigger than his size, allowing him to rebound at a high clip and defend multiple positions. Offensively, Johnson can pour it on from beyond the arc. There is a lot to like about the Eagles.

R4-A (17-8, 11-5)

JaQuavius Smith & ZyTavian Hill
JaQuavius Smith & ZyTavian Hill

Whenever you have two grown men on your team, you have a great chance to make some noise, especially in Class A-Public. JaQuavius “Tayne” Smith and ZyTavian Hill were named Second Team and Honorable Mention All-State respectively their junior seasons. Smith, 6-foot-5, is a long guard that averaged 17.3 points per game and can gash teams with his drives. Hill stands 6-foot-4 and is a chiseled athlete with great hands. He has a quick burst to the basket but most impressive is his tenacious rebounding. Playing with the Middle Georgia Raptors, the duo has seen elite level talent which will prepare them for their final high school season. Outside of Smith and Hill will be the deciding factor on how far the Hawks will go in the postseason. Central-Talbotton lost at Taylor County in the Sweet 16, 51-41. If Smith and Hill get some help around them and Coach Fred Cotton finds a way to put them in a position to succeed, a trip to the Elite Eight or even Final Four shouldn’t be unattainable.

Macon County
R4-A (20-9, 12-4)

Clayton Jenkins, Lakeviyon Walker, Makevion Bonner
Clayton Jenkins, Lakeviyon Walker, Makevion Bonner

If there is a Class A-Public team that could get hot and go all the way, look no further than Macon County. Following a 61-47 Final Four loss to eventual state champion Wilkinson County, the Bulldogs got a taste of what it takes to win a title. With unconscionable scorer Clayton Jenkins back for his senior season along with athletic forward Trey Brown and a couple other pieces starting to come of age, Macon County is a dangerous team. Jenkins averaged 22.3 points and isn’t afraid to pull the trigger from anywhere across half court. Brown provides the dirty work at 14.5 points and 8.7 rebounds while rising sophomore Lakeviyon Walker and junior Makevion Bonner could be the two to get the Bulldogs over the hump. Walker, 5-foot-11, brings his football physicality to the hardwood. He averaged 9.5 points, 6 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a playmaker who plays with a chip on his shoulder. His ability to stretch the floor next to Jenkins makes for a lethal combination. Bonner is a long 6-foot-5 wing that is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He averaged 6.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 blocks. His progression will be uber-important to Macon County’s future. He could develop into a much-needed defensive stopper to slow down the likes of Clarence Jackson (Wilkinson County), Rashun Williams (Calhoun County) and Tayne Smith (Central-Talbotton), just to name a few of Class A-Public’s top wings.