Tag Archives: grayson

SportalShowcase Preview

SportalShowcase
SportalShowcase

Ten teams from across the state of Georgia will descend on South Paulding High School on Saturday, December 8th for the inaugural SportalShowcase.  Join us in the gym or watch online at www.SportalTV.live

12:00PM: Mundy’s Mill vs. Franklin County

Mundy’s Mill enters the season with momentum behind 6-foot-5 Rayquan Brown and 6-foot-7 Jordan Black. The dynamic duo along with 6-foot-5 center DeMarcus Fannin power a Tiger team that loves to play fast. Franklin County has patiently taken their lumps in Region 8-AAA and now are prepared to fight for a state playoff berth behind a talented 2020 trio. 6-foot combo guard Micah Roebuck was an All-Region selection and Coach Jason Shaver’s top scoring option. Titlan Wells and Titus Brown round out a solid core that plays together year round.

2:00PM: Woodville-Tompkins vs. Chattooga

Woodville-Tompkins reached new heights in Year 1 under Coach Lenny Williams, earning an Elite Eight berth in Class A-Public. No longer the best kept secret down on the coast, the Wolverines will get everyone’s best shot now that they move up to Class AA and open the season ranked No. 2. All-State 6-foot-5 senior guard Preston Crisp averaged 17 points per game a year ago and sees running mates 6-foot-6 junior Benard Pelote and Region Player of the Year Charleston Willingham back for one last ride. Chattooga has gone 72-11 over the past three seasons in north Georgia and has proven to be a pest when overlooked. Just two years ago the Indians upset future McDonald’s All-American Reggie Perry and Thomasville and were three points away from securing a Final Four trip. Chattooga, who opened the season ranked No. 9 in Class AA, returns nearly everyone from last year’s 23-4 team that lost in the First Round of the tournament. 5-foot-6 Jundraius “Nuk” Adams is one of the most exciting players in the state. The Indians focus on their defense and fast pace play to make up for their lack of size.

We preview the final three games of the day.

4:00PM: ELCA vs. Grayson

The transfer bug bit Class A-Private Preseason No. 4 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy hard, but Coach Derrick Mason still has more than enough to rival last year’s 27-4 Final Four team. College of Charleston signee Trevon Reddish is a Preseason First Team All-State pick while Mekhi Cameron and KJ Jones are big wings that can shoot. Inside, Felix Uadiale has blossomed into a double-double threat while 6-foot-7 Jordan Smalls can play multiple positions. Grayson has appeared in back-to-back Class AAAAAAA Final Fours. Highlight maker Deivon Smith moves into the lead guard role full-time while 6-foot-5 Reco Hallmon will be asked to score more. Jevon Tatum led DeKalb County in scoring last year at 18.3 points per game and is one of a handful of transfers that will help make Grayson one of the deepest teams in the state.

6:30PM: Coffee vs. Campbell

Two Elite Eight teams in their respective classifications clash in an evenly matched bout. Coffee opens the season ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAAA after running out of gas against two-time defending state champion Langston Hughes 71-67 in the third round. Coach Pernell Smith has a pair of Preseason All-State Second Team selections in physical 6-foot-2 slasher Jayce Moore who averaged 19.6 points and 11.6 rebounds and 6-foot-7 Georgia Southern signee Mackenzie McFatten. The Trojans bring their south Georgia toughness to Douglasville where the Spartans will be waiting. Campbell lost to eventual state champion Meadowcreek 67-57 to end their season. 5-foot-9 point guard Terrell Burden is lightning quick and one of the best point guards in Georgia. 6-foot-5 Brandon Deravine is a versatile forward and 6-foot-6 Drew Thomas, new to the program, is a long forward that provides great help on the glass and defensively.

8:30PM: Jeff Davis vs. South Paulding

For the first time in school history a swarm of Yellow Jackets from Jeff Davis will be migrating to the Metro Atlanta area. Coming off their first region championship in school history, Jeff Davis must build around 2020 Top 100 recruit 6-foot-6 Ja’Queze Kirby, a two-time All-State selection. The junior is must-see TV and will try to improve upon his average of 19.5 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.2 steals and 3.6 blocks. Freshman CJ Parker could crack the rotation as an outside shooter to pair with Kirby. The host Spartans are a battle-tested group led by seniors. Coming out of Region 5-AAAAAA, South Paulding relies on defense to frustrate opponents. Cam Armstrong is Coach Gil Davis’ top option after averaging 17 points per game as a junior. Seniors Shane Gibson, Chandler Travis and ultimate hustle-guy Sha’mi Shields round out the Spartans’ core.

Peach State Stops of the Week (12/10-12/16)

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

TUESDAY

No. 6 Fellowship Christian at No. 4 Our Lady of Mercy [Girls]

Looking for two elite High Major All-State players that carry their teams? You will want to take a trip down Evander Holyfield Highway to watch reigning Class A-Private Player of the Year Morgan Jones (Florida State) trade buckets with future Colorado Buffalo Cameron Swartz in this heavyweight bout. Jones is the state’s most unstoppable force, pouring in 36.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game as a 6-foot-2 forward. She has led the Lady Bobcats to a 5-1 start including a 59-48 upset of No. 5 Landmark Christian last week to propel Our Lady of Mercy into the Top 10. Jones dumped in 47 points and 20 rebounds and has her Bobcats making noise statewide after finishing 13-13 a year ago. If Jones is the state’s most unstoppable player, Swartz is one of Class A-Private’s most explosive athletes and versatile scorers. The 5-foot-11 guard makes plays all over the floor for Fellowship Christian (2-2), averaging 33.5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3.7 steals. She is a threat to score once she steps over half-court and isn’t afraid to fire away from all angles. Expect fireworks tonight.

No. 5 Grayson at No. 4 Newton

Two juggernauts collide for early season supremacy in Region 8-AAAAAAA. Ashton Hagans has been unstoppable for Newton (7-0), collecting five consecutive triple-doubles. The Rams have not missed a step from last year’s 28-2 team that fell in the Elite Eight, even after graduating JD Notae (Jacksonville) and Isaiah Miller (UNCG). Tyrease Brown has emerged as one of the state’s most lethal shooters while Hagans has toys inside with Dre Butler and Armani Harris to finish around the rim. The Rams have much more inside-outside balance than they had a year ago, giving teams headaches trying to figure out how to slow down the high-flying offense that averages 86.8 points per game – tops in Class AAAAAAA. Something will have to give as Grayson (4-1) enters with defense being their calling card, allowing just 52.6 points per game, their highest point total allowed coming in a 67-64 loss to Class AAAAA No. 1 Warner Robins. The Rams can get a bucket when they need it from their deep backcourt headlined by Charleston Southern-signee Travis Anderson. Fellow senior Nick Edwards is one of the state’s better unsigned guards while DJ Williams, Reco Hallmon and Justin Fleming all provide their own unique dynamic. Luol Solomon, Orvel Graham and Deivon Smith have provided sparks throughout the season while the post is anchored by double-double man 6-foot-6 Kenyon Jackson and 6-foot-7 senior Terrence Porter. You can watch LIVE on SUVtv.

WEDNESDAY

No. 8 Maynard Jackson at No. 9 Lithia Springs

Last week’s snow storm affords us a full week of high school basketball with Region 6-AAAAA front runners locking up for sole possession of first place on a rare Wednesday-nighter. Head Coach Travis Williams has breathed new life into the Maynard Jackson (8-0) program and has the Jaguars off to their best start in over a decade in just Year 2 at the helm. Senior Marquavis Carter has been lights out from deep, averaging 23.8 points while connecting on 20-of-47 three-pointers. The addition of 6-foot-7 senior TJ Boykin has provided a versatile piece that can do a little bit of everything while 6-foot-5 sophomore Timpia Ogoun has developed into a sturdy post presence that averages 9.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. Lithia Springs (7-0) just cracked the Top 10 this week behind a balance of youth and veterans. Sophomore guard Anthony Hardy has led a balanced scoring attack with over 14 points per game. 6-foot-5 freshman post Omarion Smith has dominated defensively around the rim, blocking 6.2 shots per game to go with his 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. Seniors Christian Horton, KeyShawn Phillips and Terrence Ashford have all contributed consistently this season.

FRIDAY

No. 7 Swainsboro at No. 4 Jeff Davis

Hazlehurst, GA might be considered “the middle of nowhere” to us city slickers up north, but that doesn’t mean the area isn’t a hotbed for good basketball. Jeff Davis (6-0) is home to possibly the best 2020 player you haven’t heard of, but you should have by now: Ja’Queze Kirby. The hyper-athletic and high-motor forward is a 6-foot-5 energizer bunny that does everything for the Yellow Jackets. The 2016-17 Class AA Freshman of the Year led Jeff Davis in nearly every category, posting 14.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 steals, 3.2 blocks and is improving across the board this season. Seniors Kirese Manley and Chandler Davenport are big shot makers while Tae Thomas is the sparkplug at point guard. They will have a chance to prove themselves a worthy state title contender as they host Preseason No. 1 Swainsboro, who looks motivated after taking a 71-36 beating to Statesboro 10 days ago. The core of All-State First Teamer Jaylan McKinney, Jamil Watkins and Eddie Roberts is still to be feared in Class AA. The Yellow Jackets will have to find a way to slow down McKinney, a binge scorer that averaged over 28 points per game last year, if they want to continue climbing up the rankings.

SATURDAY

2017 SEBA Atlanta Hoop Festival

A true favorite, the SEBA Atlanta Hoop Festival held by William LoPresti is back at Pope High School marking its 10th annual edition. A loaded field features a bevy of talent.

2 PM: Blessed Trinity vs. Hillgrove
3:30 PM: Berkmar vs. Mt. Bethel Christian
5 PM: Hoover (AL) vs. Kennesaw Mountain
6:30 PM: No. 8 Duluth vs. No. 1 McEachern
8 PM: No. 2 Dacula vs. Pope

For an excellent preview of each team, visit SEBA’s Preview Page.

Gwinnett Daily Post Metro Atlanta Challenge

Gwinnett County is slam packed with basketball this Saturday as 15 different in-county schools are in action across three different gymnasiums. Matchups are provided courtesy of the Sandy’s Spiel graphics department.

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Georgia State Team Camp Session II Analysis P. I

Ron Hunter Georgia State Team Camp Session II was held this weekend at the GSU Sports Arena. Teams from all over the state packed the loaded event. Saturday saw Miller Grove hoist the trophy as the Purple Reign continued with a championship victory over upstart Woodstock. As always, there were movers and shakers with stocks rising and stocks dropping. The Georgia State Team Camp experience this summer was top notch and is a must-attend event next offseason for teams looking to challenge themselves against some of the top competition across the GHSA.

Mountain View 50, South Gwinnett 46

Mountain View, a young team with potential to battle for their first ever state playoff berth out of Region 6-AAAAAAA, met South Gwinnett, a team coming off a 5-win season that now has first-year head coach Ty Anderson in place. The Bears were without 6-foot-4 sophomore Brandon Green who was on a visit, but Mountain View was still able to sneak past the Comets in a tightly contested game.

Coach BJ Roy’s team was bit by the transfer bug with second leading scorer Donell Nixon II (12.4 ppg) leaving to man the point guard position at Buford. It has been a learning experience for the Bears but luckily for them, grizzled vet Spencer Rodgers returns for his third year on the varsity roster. The junior led Mountain View in scoring at 15.4 points per game and showed why in the second half vs South Gwinnett.

I wasn’t sure who No. 22 was at first after he had a scoreless first half, but Rodgers announced his presence like a lightning bolt in the final 20 minutes. He caught fire hitting six threes en route to a game-high 18 points. At 6-foot-3, Rodgers can get off his quick trigger when he needs to. He sank 79 deep balls last season and fired at a 43% clip. His barrage helped stave off the Comets who wouldn’t go away behind the play of senior Brycen Lee and junior DJ Williams.

Lee, a 6-foot-4 forward, posted 11 points and two blocks while earning five of his points from the foul line. His aggressiveness around the hoop helped South Gwinnett stay in striking distance, scoring all of his points in the second half.  Williams provided a spark in the second half as well. The 6-foot-2 combo guard netted 10 points on the day. I fully expect South Gwinnett to be competitive this season with Anderson at the helm. Anderson brings over college experience at North Georgia and was coaching his team non-stop, putting his team in the best possible position to succeed.

Outside of Rodgers, Mountain View received steady backcourt play from Miles Long and Jalen Hayes. Both juniors, Long collected five assists while Hayes tallied three. Uchenna Nwagbara and Kevin Kayongo’s activity on the boards will be important to the Bears’ success, a smaller team when measured up to most Class AAAAAAA schools.

Parkview 64, Cambridge 45

In the Session II preview, I took a quick look at the Panthers and hinted at there being a lot of excitement ahead for fans in Lilburn. They did not disappoint, racing their way to the semifinals before falling short by one-point against fellow up-and-comer Woodstock.

Against Cambridge, the Panthers thoroughly dominated, resting their starters for much of the second half after holding a 40-19 halftime lead. Parkview is loaded with all sophomores and juniors that are all more than ready to make an impact this season. Everything centers around Ahmir Langlais, who makes the Panthers a dangerous team in the paint.

Get familiar with 6-7 Ahmir Langlais
Get familiar with 6-7 Ahmir Langlais

Langlais is a 6-foot-7 sophomore that has made a name for himself over the summer at individual camps and with the Atlanta Xpress. He went for 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks against the Bears. The long armed lefty has excellent hands and gobbles up rebounds in his zone. On offense, he has a soft touch and has a nice baby hook over his right shoulder. As he continues to add on muscle, he will continue to be a force inside.

I liked what I saw from Justin Spencer and Truitt Spencer as well. Truitt, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, was second on the team in scoring a year ago. He finished with 11 points while Justin, a 6-foot-1 junior, added on 11 points as well. The two guards got after it in the backcourt and combined for five steals against Cambridge.

Jack Lapenta, a 6-foot-2 junior forward that posted 7.3 points and a team-leading 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game, contributed six points. His motor is what makes him successful as a workhorse on the glass. Offensively, Lapenta has nice body control when finishing through contact.  More on Parkview later.

Miller Grove 45, Grayson 33

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Grayson played hard without two key guards

Tied 20-20 at the half, the Rams ran out of steam without guards Travis Anderson and Justin Fleming. Joey Chavez and Terrell Greene carried the load on offense. Chavez, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, didn’t play much last year but he is going to earn minutes this season. He is a nice stretch forward that can knock down threes. He sank three of them and finished with a team-high 11 points, Greene netted 10 points from his guard position. 5-foot-7 freshman point guard Deivon Smith was tested against Miller Grove’s bigger and more experienced guards, but he held his own with four points, two rebounds and three assists. Rising sophomore, 6-foot-5 Kenyon Jackson was quiet against the Wolverines’ frontcourt of Kevin Paige and Tworn Seals,  held to two points and five rebounds.

Speaking of Kevin Paige, his stock is trending up after this second session. The first time I watched him play, the 6-foot-7 big fella didn’t really wow me. He is still on the raw side offensively, but defensively he won the matchup with Jackson. He chipped in six points, six rebounds and four blocks. Tae Hardy netted 11 points and three steals while Maurice Harvey, a sophomore, added 10. The Wolverines turned the tides when Hardy, Harvey and Jalyen Mason began trapping at half court in the second half

More on Miller Grove in the upcoming days.

Peachtree Ridge Summer League Analysis

I stopped by Peachtree Ridge High School on Saturday to check out Day 2 of their two day summer league. In attendance were: Peachtree Ridge, Statesboro, East Hall, Dacula, Mill Creek, Strom Thurmond (SC), Grayson and Buford. I caught four games on the day and was able to come away with some solid feedback.

Peachtree Ridge 52, Statesboro 47

Peachtree Ridge led for much of the game and was able to close out Statesboro after a late Blue Devil run put a scare into the Lions. Peachtree Ridge finished 19-11 last season and made a trip to the Class AAAAAA Sweet 16 where they fell to semifinalist Newton 63-61. The Lions lose Milz Tatum and Markel McCollum, but return juniors Devin Vassell and Fred Payton. Vassell, a wiry 6-foot-5 wing, netted a game-high 20 points and collected five rebounds in the win. Vassell’s length allows him to play the passing lanes on the perimeter and rebound the ball inside. He will need to add weight to consistently finish inside (which he had no problem doing on Saturday) to get buckets against the state’s more physical teams.

Devin Vassell was in attack mode for Peachtree Ridge
Devin Vassell was in attack mode for Peachtree Ridge

Fred Payton is the quarterback on the football team and a 6-foot-3 scorer on the basketball team. Payton knocked down three three-pointers and finished with 14 points. He is an exceptional athlete that will help on defense and stretch the floor on offense. Another big time football recruit, Connor Heyward, took to the hardwood. Heyward won’t wow you with his scoring, but the 6-foot-2 guard is a physical player that likes to mix it up on defense and on the glass. His strength allows him to body up taller players inside which gives him great value on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, he is a willing passer.

Caleb Holifield, a transfer from Pace Academy, didn’t have a great game but will bring a scoring knack from the outside. He is a good shooter and has experience playing with and against top level competition.

For Statesboro, a 22-9 team from a year ago that fell to quarterfinalist Riverwood 48-47 in the Class AAAAA Sweet 16, senior guard Marcus Kirkland powered the offense.  Kirkland dropped 15 points and collected two blocks. The 6-foot-2 guard hit three of the Blue Devils’ seven threes. Kirkland has a strong build on him. He can get to the basket consistently and should be the leader for Coach Lee Hill’s team. Junior guard Tyler Goodman added eight points and is a scrappy 5-foot-9 guard.

Mill Creek 51, Strom Thurmond (SC) 35

Mill Creek has always been known for its balanced offensive attack. The Hawks snuck into the postseason last year and finished the season 14-15 after a 70-62 loss to Lambert. Key contributors Charles Botchway, Miles Riley and Evan Richardson graduate, leaving the offense to run through rising senior Christian Mancillas. Mancillas is excellent in the classroom (4.0 GPA) and steady on the court as a 6-foot-3 forward. He can affect the game in many ways as proved by his stat line: seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Sophomore point guard Jayden Marshall saw varsity minutes as a freshman and will be counted on to orchestrate the offense. He scored nine points in Saturday’s win. Sophomore Brandon Fletcher, a 6-foot-3 forward, led the Hawks with 12 points. Fletcher played on the ninth grade team last season but could help out the varsity due to their lack of size. Junior Noah Kenney made the most of his varsity stint this past weekend, netting 11 points with nine coming via the long ball.

Strom Thurmond was led by 6-foot-1 guard Onesis Brown. The senior scored a game-high 18 points and added five blocks.

Dacula 46, Grayson 44

Dacula has had one of the best summers from the teams I have seen play so far this offseason, consistently racking up wins. Playing a depleted Grayson team without center Kenyon Jackson and other important pieces, Dacula jumped out to a 25-12 halftime lead. Grayson ramped up its defense with great communication out of a 2-3 zone in the second half. The Rams’ intensity ignited a 19-2 run to take a 31-27 lead with 9:33 left. In the end, poor free throw shooting was the difference maker as the Rams ran out of gas.

Dacula’s balanced backcourt did the damage. Junior Arusha Hunter scored 12 points to pace the Falcons while senior Gary Bishop added 10 and five rebounds. Junior 6-foot-4 post Shayne Buckingham ended with eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Super sophomore Mekhail Bethea was quiet in the first half with just one basket, but scored six points in the second half including clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Grayson’s young backcourt consisted of sophomore Justin Fleming and freshman Deivon Smith, who hope to become as productive as Alphonso Willis and Austin Dukes were over their careers at Grayson. Fleming scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and collected two steals, but missed a huge 1-&-1 free throw with 35 seconds left down 42-39. On the day, Fleming was 0-for-4 from the line with a majority of the free throws counting as two-for-one’s due to summer league rules.

Smith is a tiny guard around 5-foot-7 that has the ability to sneak past defenders and draw open looks for teammates. He finished with four points, three rebounds and four assists. Senior Joey Chavez scored a team-high 12 points and added five rebounds and a block from his forward position. He’s a willing three-point shooter that will have a chance to see important varsity minutes this year. Senior Kyle Butts rebounded the ball well. The 6-foot-4 forward totaled six points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Buford 62, Strom Thurmond (SC) 41

Coach Eddie Martin has not rested on his laurels at Buford. The veteran head coach still teaches non-stop on the sidelines and has the Buford program in good shape heading into Year 2. He has a coach’s dream in rising junior point guard Alex Jones. Jones was named Sandy’s Spiel Class AAAA Best Passer and for good reason. He pitched in 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists in their romp of Strom Thurmond. Diminutive in size, Jones has some of the best court vision in the state. Big men Sahil Patel and David Viti carved up the Rebels inside. Patel, a 6-foot-8 senior, and Viti, a 6-foot-5 junior forward from Lambert, should pair nicely this season. Patel went for 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks while Viti added 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Senior forward Austin Panks is an athletic energy swingman. He tallied eight points and six rebounds and should be a nice piece whether coming off the bench or earning some starts. Sophomore Ashton Young looked good with the varsity, leading the way with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists. Veteran guard Dawson Wehunt rounded out the attack with seven points.