5A No. 4 Allatoona 56, 6A Harrison 45
— Kyle Sandy (@KyleSandy355) November 13, 2015
The city of Acworth hosted a preseason meeting between my 5A preseason No. 4 Allatoona Buccaneers against the visiting 6A Harrison Hoyas, who I deemed as one of my Super Sleepers (https://sandysspiel.com/sandys-spiels-super-sleepers/) this upcoming season.
The Hoyas managed to hang around with the Bucs in the first half, trailing 16-14 at the end of one and 25-22 at the half thanks to strong starts from big men Austin York and Ryan Boler, who scored 6 and 7 points respectively in the first two quarters. But once the second half rolled around, it was all Allatoona.
The full court trapping defense of the Buccaneers collected 10 first half steals and eventually wore down on the Hoyas who were without guard DJ Rowe. In the first 16 minutes of play alone, Ephraim Tshimanga of Allatoona had 6 steals to his credit while Trey Doomes pick-pocketed 3. The duo of Doomes and Tshimanga was relentless all night as Tshimanga finished with 8 steals while Doomes collected 5.
The Bucs busted the game open in the second half using a 10-0 run to open up a 35-22 advantage they would never be threatened to relinquish. Harrison found its first points of the second half on a York bucket inside at the 4:33 mark. York scored six of the Hoyas’ eight third quarter points and would score 15 in the half to total a game-high 21.
Allatoona outscored Harrison 16-to-8 in the third quarter to take a comfortable 41-30 lead into the fourth. Coach Markus Hood and the Bucs cruised to victory in the final frame and were able to play its bench big minutes to prepare for the regular season.
Turning Point: A 10-0 run to start the second half changed the momentum of the game and gave Allatoona the cushion it needed to hold off the Hoyas. The constant pressure defense applied by the Allatoona guards, primarily Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes, helped account for 17 Buccaneer steals.
My Take: Allatoona will once again be a dangerous team come state playoff time. The Bucs lost a lot of seniors from last year’s state runner-up team, but in talking with Assistant Coach Craig Gaskins before the game, a few players are ready to step up and shoulder a bigger load. The Bucs’ trapping press was ultra-effective tonight. Ephraim Tshimanga and Trey Doomes were like pitbulls at times, hounding the Hoya ball handlers and not letting them advance the ball without harassing them. Kevin Perry, who signs with Coastal Georgia tomorrow morning, looked great as well tonight and showed a feathery touch, sinking two threes and going 6-of-6 from the line. As it did in the state championship last year, size inside could be the achilles heel for Allatoona. The cohesion along the perimeter will be as strong as it gets in the state, but Randy Legros will need to hold his own down low and give the Buccaneers second chances on the offensive glass and alter shots on defense. Chima Ogboi, a sophomore transfer from Mt. Paran Christian, impressed me with his hustle off the bench and could help spark the team at times this season. He finished with 6 rebounds. For Harrison, I am not aware of where DJ Rowe was (unless someone put another player’s name in his place in the scorebook). He was expected to be a big piece of the puzzle this season at the guard spot. Austin York performed admirably and carried the Hoyas. He can bang inside and showed nice footwork. York can also step outside and knock down the jumper. If someone can step up and help take some of the offensive burden off of York, the Hoyas have a chance to be sneaky team this season.