Tag Archives: East Jackson

SSA Fall League Week 2 Recap

Up until the regular season starts, Suwanee Sports Academy is home of the High School Fall League spanning from Week 1 (Aug. 20) to Week 8 (Oct. 15). 16 varsity teams take to the court along with two AAU programs, creating a competitive atmosphere. A handful of teams are in early contention to crack the Top 10 in their respective classifications for the 2016-17 season, making the SSA Fall League an intriguing stop during the dog days of summer.

Parkview 59, Alexander 49


Two teams with high expectations that could really sneak up on the state met in Week 2. The Panthers were without 6-foot-7 sophomore Ahmir Langlais and 6-foot-5 freshman Toneari Lane who were both at North Florida Elite Camp where they picked up scholarship offers. Even without two of their brightest young talents, the Panthers still managed to lead coast-to-coast and knock off the Cougars.

Parkview entered the fourth quarter up 11 before Alexander’s Damion Howell began to hurt Parkview’s smaller interior, the beefy 6-foot-7 big man collecting six of his eight points in the quarter. The Cougars clawed to within four before Parkview leaned on last year’s leading scorer, junior Cam Chavers to carry them to the finish line. Chavers netted six of his team-high 14 points in the final frame. The Panthers’ backcourt harassed the Cougars into turnovers which led to easy hoops. (Jr.) Justin Spencer scored 13 points followed by (Jr.) Myles Joseph and (So.) Jamiel Wright scoring 11 apiece. As a team, Parkview knocked down nine threes, which should stretch defenses out to allow Langlais space to maneuver inside this upcoming season.

Alexander showed flashes of being a dangerous team in Class AAAAAA with their lineup of (Jr.) Grant Howard, (Sr.) Rod Rapley, (Sr.) Zeek Copeland and sophomore Cameron Armstrong surrounding senior Damion Howell inside. Howard provided the most consistent outside shooting, able to pull up off the dribble and drain from deep. He hit four three-pointers en route to a game-high 16 points. Rapley added nine points and Howell, eight. The Cougars’ aggressive guard play will be at its best when configured into Coach Jason Slate’s system.

St. Francis 49, Grayson 45


Junior Travis Anderson caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points and rallying the Rams to a 40-39 lead after trailing 39-32 to enter the final period. The game was tied at 45 with 1:59 left, both teams matching baskets. A silly late foul with 14 seconds remaining put St. Francis senior guard Wallace Tucker at the line. Tucker, who scored a game-high 18 points, sank the two-for-one free throw to give the Knights a two point lead. Anderson had one last chance to either tie or win the game, but the ball slipped out of his hands and a thunderous dunk by Dwon Odom sealed the deal.

Plenty of new faces will be front and center for St. Francis this year. None will be more heavily tracked than freshman guard Dwon Odom. The 6-foot-2 mega-athlete made his presence felt during the travel circuit and enters high school ball as a ballyhooed prospect. Odom stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, one assist, five steals and three blocks. As elite an athlete as the youngster is, he must craft his shot over the next four years. All 10 of his points came on fast breaks; three of them dunks. Once he gains more confidence in his jumper Odom has a chance to be a very special player.

Now asked to be the leader, veteran Wallace Tucker played the best game I’ve seen him put forth. He did a number on the physically smaller Grayson guards and cleaned up when sent to the foul line, scoring eight points via the charity stripe.

For Grayson, Anderson really turned it on when the game got competitive in the fourth quarter. Incoming freshman Deivon Smith didn’t play a whole lot. The little guard is crafty and has a nice future ahead of him. He hit a game-winner at the buzzer to beat Odom’s Atlanta Celtics earlier in the offseason, giving the two guards a little history. It was a downer not being able to see each other matchup more.

Outside of Anderson, 6-foot-4 senior post Kyle Butts impressed. He is a strong rebounder that gives Coach Geoffrey Pierce a lot of effort inside. He finished with six points and 10 rebounds. Another senior, Aaron Rowe, brings some depth to the wing after moving in from Parkview. He had five points and five rebounds. Terrell Greene scored six points from the perimeter to go with his two steals. The Rams were missing starting center, 6-foot-6 Kenyon Jackson inside who is currently in football season.

Eagle’s Landing 56, Georgia Elite Ballers 53


A pair of transfers helped the Eagles over a talented AAU team. 6-foot-8 senior Mohammed Abubakar led the way with 13 points. The big man from Hamilton Heights, TN was aggressive, getting the ball and attacking the rim from the high post. He even knocked down a three. Junior sweet shooter Brandon Thomas moved in from Locust Grove to hit three threes for nine points. Lengthy sophomore CJ Hood pitched in 12 points and was active on defense and the glass rebounding the ball.

Holy Innocents’ 66, Marist 54

The big three of seniors Jules Erving, Cole Smith and Richard Surdykowski overwhelmed Marist. Erving poured in 22 points followed by Smith’s 14 and Surdykowski’s seven points. Marist received 17 points from senior David Sever.

East Jackson 51, Prince Avenue Christian 42

Junior guard Kobe Haley powered East Jackson with 21 points. Prince Avenue was led by senior guard Sam Todd’s 11 points and junior forward Dalton Meeler’s 10 points.

Alexander 49, Flowery Branch 45

Behind guards Justin Quick and John Mills, the Falcons pushed the Cougars to the brink. Quick, a junior, led all scorers with 16 points. Senior Dalton Gerdts buried three threes and finished with 11 points but missed on a game-tying three at the buzzer. Mills, a senior, added 12 points while fellow starting senior guard Brannon Clark was not in attendance. Once again, Grant Howard supplied the offense for Alexander with 11 points. Zeek Copeland and Rod Rapley both went for seven points.

Johnson-Gainesville 55, Forsyth Central 49 OT


The Knights rallied from down double digits to force overtime where they surged past the Bulldogs. Senior forward Dwayne Wilson posted a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

East Jackson & Jackson County finish 2-3 in Region 8AAA

Contributed by Colin Hubbard (@__Chubs__)

Region 8-AAA just might be the best top-to-bottom region in all of AAA this season and the top four teams were put on display at Emmanuel College on Friday and Saturday to determine the region champion and the state tournament seedings.

The lionhearted Jackson County Panthers who eclipsed the 16-win mark and a spot in the state playoffs for the first time in 14 years faced off with the up and coming East Jackson Eagles in the second round of the tournament in what was a much-anticipated third meeting of the two rival schools.

The Panthers got the best of the Eagles in the teams’ first two meetings but all of that was thrown out the window when the two met at a neutral venue.

Coming off a 6-game win streak, the Eagles jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead to start the game after forward Jaylen Morgan knocked down a 3-pointer and hammered down a baseline dunk.

The Panthers knocked down back-to-back shots to cut the Eagles’ lead to three points but a Drue Drinnon pass to Travis Anderson resulted in a 3-point swish to give East Jackson a 10-4 advantage.

The Panthers then answered with three straight buckets to tie the game up at 10-10 and then took the lead 12-10 but Drinnon quickly tied the game up at 12-12 seconds later.

Then entered 5-9 sophomore guard Xavier Clark.

Clark who has been a minor contributor for the Eagles for much of the season entered into the game due to some foul trouble for East Jackson and made the most of the opportunity.

Clark quickly stole a pass from the Panthers and converted it into a contested layup to give the Eagles the lead back at 14-12. Seconds later, Anderson threw a pass to Clark who then launched up a 3-pointer and drained it as the crowd erupted in East Jackson’s favor.

East Jackson head coach David Boyd was extremely pleased with the spark that Clark gave the East Jackson squad.

“Tremendous, just tremendous,” Boyd said. “We were in foul trouble and he came in and played great he really did.”

However, the scrappy Panthers would not go away quietly and took an 18-17 lead with just over a minute left in the first. Drinnon and Anderson were none too pleased with the result and quickly took the game into their own hands and drained one 3-pointer apiece to give the Eagles a 23-18 lead heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter featured turnover after turnover for both teams which resulted in just 19 points being scored between the two schools. However, it was the Eagles who held a 32-25 lead with just three seconds before the half.

With the score likely to stand going into the break, Anderson had other ideas. Anderson buried a corner 3-pointer right in front of the Jackson County crowd as the buzzer sound which gave the Eagles a 10-point advantage at the break.

The third quarter was the best showing by the Eagles. As a team they shot 50 percent from the field on 6-of-12 shooting and knocked down six free throws as well. Drinnon connected on four buckets while Anderson added three, respectively.

The quarter also featured a dunk from Andrew Scott, a player in which the Panthers had announced was no longer apart of the East Jackson basketball team.

The Panthers held things close for much of the quarter, but the Eagles outscored them 18-14 which gave East Jackson a 14-point advantage with one quarter to play.

The fourth quarter belonged to senior Kamron Walters who knocked down three huge shots, two of which came on put backs. The senior had a chance to tie the game in overtime against the Panthers in their second meeting but failed to do so. He got his revenge on Friday night.

“Kameron has just been outstanding,” Boyd said. “He only started playing basketball in his sophomore year so he’s inexperienced but he’s just been great to have. He understands his role and came up big for us tonight.”

Boyd felt especially happy for Walters after what happened to him in Game 2 against the Panthers just a few short weeks back.

“I felt bad about what happened to him at the end of that game,” he said. “It’s hard to come in and be asked to make a big play when you haven’t played much in the game so I blamed myself for that but he came up really big tonight.”

The Eagles took all of the eat out of the Panthers late in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 71-49 win to secure no worse than a No. 2 seed in the state playoffs. The loss moved the Panthers into a game with the Jefferson Dragons to determine the No. 3 seed.

“I thought that the difference between the first two times we played them (Jackson Co.) and this time was the defense,” Boyd said. “They hurt us on the inside with their post players playing very well in the first two games but we did an excellent job of slowing Ellis and Giroux down tonight.”

East Jackson’s goal for the game was to get into transition as much as they could and that’s exactly what they did.

“We felt that our big four did a great job of spreading the floor and that helped us get into transition and run all night,” Boyd said. “We haven’t had all of our guys all season long until the very end so we’re happy. Anytime you can beat Jackson County is a plus.”

Drinnon finished with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting including 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. On what might have been a up and down shooting night for Drinnon, he couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome.

“That was the best team effort we have had all year,” Drinnon said. “Everyone played their role, played hard and helped us win the game”

Drinnon was especially happy for Walters.

“That was probably one of his best games all season,” he said. “His best game came against Oconee but that was definitely a close second.”

When asked how good it felt to shut up all of the doubters and knock off the rival Panthers in the biggest game of the season, Drinnon answered calmly and gracefully.

“It feels good, there’s nothing they can say.” he said. “We just beat them to go to the region finals. That it.”

Anderson, who has been Drinnon’s right-hand man all season long put together a solid game of his own. He finished with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting and had five rebounds and three steals to go along with it.

“Coach told us that we had to play like a team in order to win today and we did just that,” Anderson said. There is no I in team.”

Anderson was equally if not more happy to knock off Jackson County as well.

“It feels really good, especially with the amount of trash they talk and them saying a lot of negative stuff in their little newsletter and stuff like that. We beat them in the one that mattered.”

The win moved the Eagles into the region tournament finale for the first time in school history but waited for them was Morgan County who is the No. 1 ranked AAA team in the state of Georgia.

After a valiant effort, the Eagles were sent home with a 9-point loss, 60-51 against the Bulldogs and will take on Central-Carroll in the first round of the state playoffs as a No. 2 seed.

Jackson County took care of business against Jefferson, 57-54 and will take on Rockmart in the first round of the playoffs.

No. 1 Morgan County handles East Jackson

*Guest contribution from Colin Hubbard (@__Chubs__)

No. 1 Morgan County 75, East Jackson 56

The Morgan County Bulldogs (15-3, 7-0) have been a powerhouse in AAA high school basketball for quite some time now, but their 2015-16 squad could be their best team yet. After knocking off the No.1 ranked Laney Wildcats last week, the Bulldogs moved into the No.1 spot and hosted an up-and-coming East Jackson (9-8, 4-3) team on Friday that was hungry for a statement win. Morgan County and East Jackson have been the class of Region 8 for the past two seasons but the Eagles had never beaten them in that time span.

The Bulldogs are led by Florida Atlantic signees Jailyn Ingram and DeVorious Brown while the Eagles are powered by the sophomore trio of Drue Drinnon, Travis Anderson and Jalen Morgan.

FAU signee DeVorious Brown went for 27 against previously undefeated Laney
FAU signee DeVorious Brown went for 27 against previously undefeated Laney

Ingram, who is also a tremendous football player, elected to take his talents to Boca Raton to continue his basketball career and his decision to do so seems to be playing dividends.

Drinnon on the other hand is the Class of 2018’s No.1 ranked combo guard according to Future 150 and has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in less than two seasons. In East Jackson’s 81-58 win over rival Jefferson last week, all three of the Eagles’ trio scored 20 or more points before heading into a much-anticipated rematch with the Bulldogs.

Despite a strong effort to start the game, Morgan County was the better team on the night and picked up a 75-56 win to remain undefeated in Region 8.

“We knew coming in that they (East Jackson) were going to come out with a lot of energy so we knew what to expect,” Morgan County Head Coach Jamond Sims said. “We had our hands full with Drinnon in the first half but in the second half we were able to keep him in front of us and that helped us close out the game.”

“The team goes as Jailyn goes and when he wants to assert himself and be the best player on the floor, the rest of our team’s confidence goes up,” Sims said. “Whenever he catches the ball within 18 feet of the basket, he can pretty much shoot over anyone out there so he’s a big part of our success.”

The start couldn’t have been better for the Eagles after jumping out to a 12-4 lead but costly turnovers gave the Bulldogs a 1-point lead after the first quarter, 16-15.

Drinnon and Anderson combined to score 10 of the Eagles’ 15 while the Bulldogs got nine from Jordan Ford.

Travis Anderson | Photo By Ben Munro
Travis Anderson | Photo By Ben Munro

The second quarter did not start out the way East Jackson would have liked and quickly the Eagles found themselves in an 10-point hole midway through the quarter. However, hot shooting from Drinnon cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 41-35 at the half.

Drinnon scored 15 of the Eagles’ 20 points in the second quarter and led all contestants with 20 points at the half on 8-of-8 shooting while Ford added two more to lead the Bulldogs with 11 points.

The Bulldogs found their rhythm in the third quarter and dominated in all facets of the game. Ingram netted eight points in the period and helped build Morgan County’s lead to 61-46 heading into the fourth.

The Eagles managed to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter but that was the closest they could get. Ingram proved to be too big for the smaller East Jackson frontline and finished with 20 points on the night.

Drinnon poured in a game-high 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting, dished out seven assists and collected four steals.

“We were doing fine at the start but they (Morgan County) started pressing us and that caused us to have a lot of stupid turnovers,” Drinnon said.

“We didn’t rebound the ball. They out rebounded us just like every other team we play so we need to work on rebounding and be safer with the ball going forward.”

Ingram on the other hand was very pleased with the way they played and is excited to see where the Bulldogs are headed.

“We have a lot of experience in playing in tough games so we knew that we would be ready for this one,” Ingram said. “We use all of our games as a learning experience and playing a team like East Jackson helps us going forward.”

Jailyn Ingram was too much inside for East Jackson
Jailyn Ingram was too much inside for East Jackson

East Jackson head coach David Boyd has spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to beat what has become the Eagles’ biggest thorn in their side but has yet to find an answer.

“They are hard to beat and I haven’t figured it out yet,” Boyd said. “I think they have the best team in AAA right now with the amount of length they have. Some of our newer guys that came out for the second semester got introduced to high-level basketball for the first time but we will keep fighting and hopefully get to play them again in the region tournament.”

Colin’s Take: East Jackson arguably has the best young backcourt in all of AAA but their inability to rebound has really held them back. Jalen Morgan, who has played in just three games after transferring from New Hope Christian Academy (NC), gives them the best option down low to rebound the ball but still needs time to get acclimated to East Jackson’s system. While they might not find a rebounding answer this season, they are well on their way to becoming a well-known AAA powerhouse next season and have a great shot at competing for a state championship in the very near future.

Morgan County doesn’t have a weakness. They have three players over 6-foot-6, they run the floor as good as anyone and they can shoot the basketball with ease. Their size and strength wear teams down late in games which gives them a great chance at getting back to the state championship game later this year. If you haven’t watched Morgan County play, then you’re missing out. They play like a Class AAAAAA team and could easily contend in a division of that magnitude.

Jackson County Stuns No. 4 East Jackson, 67-63

Behind Joel Ellis’ 20 points, Jackson County (5-3, 2-0) stunned No. 4 East Jackson (3-4, 0-2) on Friday night, 67-63. Ben Munro of The Jackson Herald was in attendance to cover the game. Please follow him at @BHMunro1 on Twitter and click on the link below for full details of the upset.


Experience Reigns as Miller Grove Storms Past East Jackson

5ANo. 1 Miller Grove 94,  3ANo. 4 East Jackson 68

*Contributed by Colin Hubbard (@__Chubs__)

HOSCHTON — The No. 1 Miller Grove Wolverines made the 72-mile trip up I-85 to take on the No. 4 East Jackson Eagles in a scrimmage that had everyone around the state of Georgia buzzing.

The Eagles had a very tough task coming into the game, but they weren’t going to let that get to them.

The  Wolverines had won six consecutive state titles before falling in the quarterfinals to Warner Robins last season, but the Eagles have built one of the best backcourts in the state led by sophomores Drue Drinnon, Travis Anderson II and Lamont Smith.

New addition Travis Anderson
New addition Travis Anderson

East Jackson head coach David Boyd is no stranger to top competition after leading Milton High School to several state title games in the last few years and has quickly turned East Jackson into an unlikely high school basketball powerhouse on the rise.

Miller Grove on the other hand was looking forward to taking on a team built on tempo and was excited to see how they would be able to handle a hostile road environment.

Things didn’t start off great for the high flying Eagles as they found themselves in 5-0 hole after three turnovers.

The Wolverines extended their lead to 14-7 with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter, but Anderson and the Eagles would not go away.

Anderson drained two three pointers late in the first quarter to cut the lead to 21-17 heading into the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, the Wolverines built a 10-point lead after an Alterique Gilbert three-pointer, but Drinnon answered back with a three of his own.

Drue Drinnon streaking past Aaron Augustin
Drue Drinnon streaking past Aaron Augustin

The Eagles matched the Wolverines shot-for-shot from that point on and trailed Miller Grove 44-37 at halftime.

Gilbert led all scorers with 14 points at the break while Drinnon and Anderson each had 13, respectively.

Anderson nailed a three-pointer to start the third quarter to cut the lead to just four points, but the Wolverines answered with a three of their own to bring the lead back to seven points, 47-40.

Miller Grove extended their lead to nine after a quick layup, but back-to-back Drinnon field-goals cut the lead back to six points midway through the third quarter.

After Drinnon split a pair of free throws, Miller Grove’s advantage was at five, but that would be the closest the Eagles would get the rest of the way.

Miller Grove's size inside hurt the Eagles
Miller Grove’s size inside hurt the Eagles

Miller Grove went on a 9-2 run to give the Wolverines a 58-42 lead that would eventually settle at 69-55 entering the final frame.

The experienced Wolverines wore down East Jackson and outscored the Eagles 25-13 in the fourth quarter en route to a 94-68 victory.

Post-Game Thoughts:

The story of the night was rebounds and turnovers. The Wolverines out-hustled and out-rebounded the Eagles all game long.

Despite 42 percent shooting from the field for East Jackson, the Eagles turned the ball over 22 times and managed just 28 rebounds on the night.

“Our rebounding has got to improve tremendously moving forward and we have to grow up fast because we’re young but I thought we competed well, especially in the first half and didn’t quit so I’m pleased with the effort,” Boyd said.

“We hope to get into a transition game and pick up the pace during games but the way you do that is great defense so there is a lot of work for us to do on the defensive side.”

East Jackson’s top three scorers were all sophomores and now have just one game under their belt as teammates.

Both Drinnon and Anderson praised one another for what they can bring to the table which has both players extremely excited to see where they can go.

“We don’t both have to score and I’m able to take some of the pressure he had last year off and make it easier for each of us to play better,” Anderson said.

“I’m really happy to have Travis here this year,” Drinnon said. “It’s just another scorer to work with and help me play better as well.”

Turning Point: After a great first half by both teams, the Eagles were unable to keep up with the Wolverines in the second half. East Jackson was outscored 50-31 in the second half despite shooting 44 percent from the field.

Colin’s Take: It’s safe to say that both teams will be extremely successful this season. East Jackson has an extremely loaded back court with three to four players who can all score 20 plus points a game, but none of that will matter unless they can take care of the ball and crash the boards. Coach David Boyd, Drue Drinnon and Travis Anderson all made it a point of emphasis to improve their rebounding in the coming weeks. Miller Grove on the other hand has a very balanced team. UConn-commit Alterique Gilbert is the leader of the team and will need to put the team on his back at times, especially on offense. There is a reason why the Wolverines had won six consecutive state titles. Look for them to be in the mix for another one this year.

Top Performers:

Miller Grove
Alterique Gilbert – 24 points
Tae Hardy – 17 points
Aaron Augustin – 14 points, 7 assists, 5 steals
Colin Young – 12 points, 10 rebounds

East Jackson
Drue Drinnon – 27 points (9-20 FG)
Travis Anderson – 21 points (4-8 3PT)
Lamont Smith – 10 points