Tag Archives: Jenkins

GHSA State Championship Recaps

March 7 – Macon Centreplex

Class AA

Laney Wildcats basketball

(G) R4 #1 Laney 63, R4 #2 Josey 40 The Wildcats ripped off a 12-0 run after trailing 16-15 to find the cushion they needed to blow past Josey for a fifth time this season and win their second-straight state title and 62nd game in-a-row. Alabama-signee De’sha Benjamin was unstoppable with 19 of her game-high 26 points in the first half when it mattered most. She finished with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Laney led 29-20 at the half, holding the Eagles to 22.7% shooting. Jhessyka Williams tacked on 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Jaiden Hamilton tallied 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as the third head of the Wildcat attack. Josey finished just 29.5% from the field and 3-of-14 from deep. Tykedra Rolland (10) and Rhykeria Rolland (7) were held to 17 points total. Ebony Clark led the Eagles with 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Thomasville Bulldogs basketball

(B) R1 #1 Thomasville 66, R2 #3 Vidalia 31 It was a blood bath from the opening tip as the bigger and more athletic Bulldogs ran wild with a 13-0 start. Sloppy Indian ball-handling led to turnovers while lazy transition defense accounted for six Bulldog first half dunks. The Indians shot 4-of-24 from the field (16.7%) and 1-of-14 from deep in the opening half as the Bulldogs led 41-10 at the break. McDonald’s All-American and Mississippi State-bound forward Reggie Perry finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Vonterius Woolbright added 17 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds. Titus Wright had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Vidalia was led by Tahj Jones’ 10 points. The Indians finished 2-of-25 from three. Thomasville outscored Vidalia 40-20 in the paint and had 22 points off turnovers.

Class A-Public

Greenville Lady Patriots basketball

(G#4 Greenville 73, #3 Marion County 52:  While Marion County came out double-teaming reigning Class A-Public Player of the Year and Mississippi State-signee Brittany Davis, the rest of the Lady Patriots picked up the slack, helping Greenville grab a 21-10 first quarter lead and building it to 43-26 at the break. Davis finished with 30 points (5-20 FG; 19-20 FT) 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block in her final game. Freshmen Shabrica Leslie and Jabrika Leslie came up big, Shabrica posting 14 points and 5 rebounds while Jabrika had 12 points. Nuriyah Slaton finished with 8 points, 16 rebounds and 5 steals. The Lady Patriots grabbed 24 offensive rebounds and put up 26 second-chance points. Greenville out-rebounded the bigger Eagles 54-46. Marion County was led by Torriunna Myers’ 15 points. Jameisha Williams chipped in 8 points. Ashley Whitley battled for 7 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.

Wilkinson County Warriors basketball

(B) #3 Wilkinson County 71, #5 Montgomery County 68: The Blue Storm took over the Macon Centreplex again, as the Warriors completed the three-peat, captured their 10th state title in school history and their sixth in the last eight years. Wilkinson County survived a gutsy performance from senior wing Jahleel Wilson who nearly willed the Eagles past the Warriors who are now 10-0 in state title games. Wilson had 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks as he carried the Eagles. Daveaun Coglin finished with 19 points but shot 7-of-24 from the field while Shaw Robinson, who scored 22 in the Final 4, finished 2-of-11 from the field with 5 points. Wilkinson County showed they could play a fast pace game, running up and down with the Eagles in the first quarter, taking a 21-18 lead after one. The two teams entered the half tied at 38. 6-foot-6 senior center Tylan Grable came off the bench to give Wilkinson County 11 points and 14 rebounds. Montgomery County fell behind 62-54 at the 2:44 mark of the fourth quarter but Wilson powered the team back into it, getting help from Daquan Jackson who netted two late hoops. Robinson came away with a steal and a layup to cut the lead to 67-66 with 29.2 seconds left. Having to foul, the Eagles sent Raequan Smith and Brandon Mayes to the line, who went 4-for-4. With 10.7 seconds left, Coach Christopher Owens drew up a three-point look for Robinson, who struggled all night. The guard that averaged 19 points per game on the season, shot an air-ball, sealing the Eagles’ fate. Wilkinson County was paced by Jaylen Lamar’s efficient night, shooting 9-of-14 from the field for 22 points. Devin Jones chipped in 12 points and 4 assists in the win. Montgomery County out-shot the Warriors 72-to-50, but Wilkinson County sank 50% of their shots while Montgomery connected at a 36.1% clip and just 3-of-18 from three.

March 8 – Macon Centreplex

Class AAA

Johnson Atomsmashers girls basketball

(GR3 #2 Johnson-Savannah 62, R7 #1 GAC 50: The Atomsmashers atoned for last year’s state title game flop by locking down the paint and shutting down a potent GAC offense with three D-I commits. 6-foot-5 senior Giana Copeland swatted 7 shots in the first 6-plus minutes of the game and finished with 3 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks total.  GAC shot 1-of-15 in the first quarter and just 22.1% for the entire game.  Down 52-39 in the fourth quarter with 2:27 left, the Spartans finally made their move, sparking a 9-1 run to close to within 53-48 with 1:27 left. But from that point on, Bubbles Williams, J’Mya Cutter and Jasmine Thompson combined to go 9-of-10 from the line to ice it. Cutter finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds while Thompson added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Williams finished her career with 12 points and 4 assists. Caria Reynolds (Hofstra) led GAC with 13 points and 11 rebounds on 3-of-15 shooting. Taylor Sutton (MTSU) scored 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting and Wofford-bound forward Mary Martha Turner had 6 points and 18 rebounds. Kennedi Williams gave the Spartans a spark at guard with 10 points and 7 assists.

Greater Atlanta Christian basketball

(B) R7 #1 GAC 67, R3 #2 Jenkins 53: The Spartans turned a 25-20 halftime deficit into a state title under alumnus David Eaton. Ben Sheppard keyed a 24-point third quarter by sinking two of the Spartans’ four trifectas in the frame. Sheppard scored 8 of his 15 points in the quarter as the Spartans edged ahead with a 44-38 lead and would never trail again, bouncing back from a 15-1 run that gave Jenkins the lead at the half. Hunter McIntosh iced the game from the line in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the final eight minutes including finishing 14-of-19 from the stripe. Michigan football-commit Chris Hinton piled in 12 of his 16 points in the second half and collected 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the process. Roy Dixon scored 13 points to help the cause. Jenkins was led by Sai Fisher’s 12 points and Mye’on Williams’ 11 points and 6 rebounds. Matthew Sams netted 10.


Buford Lady Wolves basketball

(G) R8 #1 Buford 60, R8 #2 Flowery Branch 49: Buford defeated Flowery Branch for the fourth time this season and seventh in the past two years as the Lady Wolves repeated as state champs and won their sixth title in school-history. Buford held Flowery Branch under the magic number of 50 — all three of the Wolves’ losses this season coming when they allowed over the half century mark. Michigan State-signee Tory Ozment poured in 15 of her game-high 28 points in the first half to go along with her 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Ebony Grant added 12 points. Flowery Branch was paced Alabama-signee Taniyah Worth who finished her career with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists before fouling out with 1:11 remaining down 60-48.  Caroline Wysocki struggled from the field going 1-of-7 to finish with 10 points.

Warner Robins Demons basketball

(B) R1 #1 Warner Robins 67, R5 #3 Miller Grove 64: In a tug-of-war game to finish a less than competitive week back at the Macon Centreplex, Jacolbey Owens drilled a three with 1.3 seconds left to give Warner Robins their first-ever state championship. Miller Grove got off to a hot start, up 15-6 in the first quarter behind eight quick Lorenzo Anderson points. At the end of one, the Wolverines held a 15-10 lead and kept Georgia State-commit Nelson Phillips scoreless. Phillips scored his first basket at the 5:31 mark with the Demons down 19-14 in the second quarter. At the half, Miller Grove maintained a slim 31-29 lead. While Phillips was 3-of-8 from the field, Jacolbey Owens led the charge with nine points but shot just 3-of-7 from the line. In the third quarter, Phillips flew in from the left baseline corner to throw down a one-handed put-back jam to push the Demon lead to 39-35. A Jaydon Norman layup capped a 12-2 run for Warner Robins, giving them a 43-35 lead at the 2:44 mark. The Demons carried a 51-44 advantage into the final frame, but Miller Grove would not go away. After a quiet third quarter, Anderson scored 8 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth. With 2:33 left on the clock, the Wolverines caught up to the Demons at 60-60. Owens was sent to the line where he was 3-of-10 at the time and as a team, Warner Robins was 18-of-32 at that point. Owens sank both free throws and did the same at the 1:54 mark to make it 64-60. The Demons finished 22-of-36 from the line (61.1%) while the Wolverines didn’t fare much better at 66.7% (16-of-24). Down four, Anderson got to the line and converted both attempts. Less than a minute late, Maurice Harvey, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, did the same, knotting the game up at 64 with 51 seconds remaining. The Demons held for one shot. Instead of getting the ball in the hands of star Nelson Phillips, who finished 6-of-15 for 16 points and 10 rebounds, Coach Jamaal Garman saw Owens control their destiny. Owens went to his left, pump faked, and sailed a three over the outstretched arm of TJ Stargell, drilling it — Warner Robins’ only made three of the game (1-for-11) — sending the crowd into a frenzy. Warner Robins went out to celebrate, but the Wolverines got a second chance at life, as the referees added 1.3 seconds back on the clock. Miller Grove’s final inbound heave was fumbled away, giving the Demons a state championship just 21 miles away from home. Owens finished with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Jaydon Norman added 13 points and 5 rebounds. The Demons collected 18 points off turnovers and out-rebounded the larger Wolverines 43-to-36, grabbing 22 offensive rebounds. Miller Grove received 11 points from Terrence Edwards and 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists from TJ Stargell.

March 9 – McCamish Pavilion

Class A-Private

Wesleyan Lady Wolves basketball

(G#6 Wesleyan 61, #1 Holy Innocents’ 44  After beating the Wolves three times in the regular season, Holy Innocents’ kryptonite rared its ugly head again on the biggest stage. After blowing a 17-point lead last year in the title game, this time the Golden Bears trailed through out and lost to Wesleyan for the third time in the past four state championships. The Wolves’ repeat was led by Furman-signee Sutton West’s 17 points and 8 rebounds. AC Carter had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Old Dominion-signee Amaya Register scored 12 points and freshman Paige Lyons added 10 points and 6 rebounds. UGA-signee Kaila Hubbard finished her Holy Innocents’ career with 18 points and 4 rebounds.  Jada Farrell  had 13 points and 9 rebounds while freshman Jillian Hollingshead tallied 5 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kennedy Suttle, a Penn-signee that had 16 points and 13 rebounds in last year’s final, was held to 4 points and 7 rebounds. As a team, the Golden Bears shot a woeful 27.1% from the field.

(B) #6 Aquinas 65, #4 St. Francis 60: St. Francis missed three three-pointers in the final 33 seconds as Aquinas won their first-ever state title. The Knights led 33-26 at the half, weathering a 12-to-4 foul count and a 13-of-15 free throw shooting effort, but in the third quarter, the game came to a screeching halt. The Irish outscored St. Francis 25-to-9 in the third as both Tre Gomillion and Trent Bowdre scored 8 apiece in the quarter. As a team, the Irish connected on 10-of-12 field goals in the third after shooting 6-of-19 in the first half. Aquinas controlled a 51-42 lead heading into the fourth. Dwon Odom scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the quarter. At the 6:47 mark of the fourth quarter, the Irish held a 55-48 lead. The Knights fought back and cut the deficit to 61-60 after Odom collected a steal and drained a three-pointer in transition with 48.7 remaining. The Knights had Daniel Parrish trapped in the corner on the press, but were called for a foul that sent the South Carolina move-in to the line. Parrish missed the front-end of the one-and-one, giving the Knights one last look with 8.9 seconds showing on the clock. Coach Drew Catlett designed a misdirection play that found CJ Riley open in the corner for a good look, but his three-pointer was off and Parrish secured the rebound, knocked down both free throws and clinched the title. As a team, the Irish went 24-of-27 from the line. St. Francis opened up 15-7 in the first quarter going 4-of-9 from deep, but finished just 6-of-26 for the game. Gomillion led Aquinas with 16 points and 14 rebounds after having just four points at the half. Dajuan Hill added 15 points and 5 rebounds while Parrish (14) and Bowdre (10) each hit double figures. Riley finished with 18 points and 4 assists for the Knights. Chase Ellis was quiet with 10 points.


Lovejoy Lady Wildcats basketball

(G) R4 #1 Lovejoy 57, R6 #1 Harrison 41: Lovejoy used a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Hoyas 23-to-5 to gain control and win their first-ever state title. After being held to 1-point in the first half, Genesis Bryant scored nine in the third quarter to spark the Wildcats, but Lovejoy still trailed 36-34. In the fourth quarter, it was fellow sophomore Anaya Boyd’s turn to carry the load. Boyd finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds, scoring nine in the fourth quarter. Bryant finished with 14 points. Avanna Preston scored 8 points while Kayla Brown collected 8 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Wildcats cut down on their turnovers after committing 12 in the first half and finished with 16 on the night. Harrison turned it over 17 times, seven times in the second half. The Lady Hoyas were led by GCSU-signee Harper Vick’s 10 points and 4 assists. Sarah Woghiren had 8 points and 7 rebounds. Eastyn King and Amara Newsom each had 6 points. UAB-signee Audrey Jordan fouled out and was held to just three shot attempts, finishing with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Langston Hughes Panthers Basketball

(B) R5 #1 Langston Hughes 85, R8 #1 Gainesville 78: In front of alumnus Deshaun Watson, Gainesville led by as many as 14 points at 42-28 at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter and carried a 45-38 lead into the half, but the Panthers of Langston Hughes would not be denied, as Coach Rory Welsh and company repeated as state champs. Saddled with foul trouble the entire game, the Red Elephants were able to control the tempo and slice up the Panthers defense in the first half. Kajuan Hale scored 13 of his 15 points in the half while Gainesville made Virginia Tech-signee Landers Nolley work for everything he got, scoring 16 points but also facilitating with five assists. Down seven points, Langston Hughes needed players other than Nolley to step up. Tyrel Morgan scored eight of his 14 points in the first half to provide support, but Tyler Smith was quiet with just three points and two rebounds.  Following a dormant opening 16 minutes, Smith brought a spark, scoring eight points in the third as the Panthers surged past Gainesville to take a 65-59 lead into the fourth. Gainesville’s final lead of the game came at the 2:16 mark of the third quarter up 57-56.  Middle Tennessee State-signee KJ Buffen scored all 13 of his points in the first half but sat in the second with foul trouble, only managing to take two shots in the second half. Not tested since their 83-81 comeback win at Buford on January 20, the Red Elephants faced adversity for the first time in a long time.  At the 1:47 mark of the fourth, Langston Hughes captured their largest lead of the game at 78-67 after a Tyler Smith And-1 and a technical foul on Brent Kelly that gave Nolley a pair of freebies. Instead of rolling over, the Red Elephants fought back in Coach Benjie Wood’s final game on the Gainesville sidelines. Bailey Minor completed a 4-point play, Hale split a pair of free throws and Rafael Rubel finished a layup to make it 78-74 with 1:13 remaining in the blink of an eye. Rubel would then add a three to make it 80-77 with 48 seconds to play, but that would be as close as the Red Elephants would get as Langston Hughes went 8-of-9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Nolley finished his illustrious career with three state titles — two in Georgia and three in a row including a sophomore championship campaign at Curie, IL. The future Hokie poured in 34 points (17-of-20 FT), 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Smith added 17 points. Gainesville was led by Minor’s 17 points. Rubel chipped in 12 points.

March 10 – McCamish Pavilion

Class AAAA

Spalding Lady Jaguars basketball

(GR2 #1 Spalding 58, R4 #1 Henry County 46: Sophomore forward Corriana Evans exploded for 19 points and 17 rebounds as the Jaguars raced past Henry County. Kirah Milner scored 9 points and Kiana Banks added 8 points and 9 rebounds. In the loss, Auburn-signee Brooke Moore had 21 points. Amaiya Jackson tallied 10 points and 8 rebounds. As a team, the War Hawks shot 6-of-29 from deep and 26.8% overall.

Upson-Lee basketball

B) R2 #1 Upson-Lee 70, R8 #1 St. Pius X 54: 63-straight. The Knights repeated as state champions, racing past the Golden Lions in the second half after trailing 33-32 at the break. With JaCorey Smith suspended, junior guard Jarrett Adderton stepped up. In his first showdown with the Golden Lions after transferring in from Florida in the off-season, the 6-foot-2 sparkplug provided the Knights with 16 points (7-11 FG) — 10 in the first half — 5 rebounds and 5 assists. St. Pius held their largest lead of the night at 33-25 after back-to-back Everett Lane threes with 1:04 left in the second quarter, but the Knights closed on a 7-0 run, capped by an Adderton block which led to a Tye Fagan layup with two seconds left. The Golden Lions drilled 5-of-14 threes in the first half and got eight points from Troy Stephens. But in the second half, the Knights slammed the door shut, St. Pius going 1-of-9. With the deep ball not dropping, the Golden Lions still harassed the Knights and trailed 44-40 with 1:19 left in the third before a Fagan layup and an Adderton jumper pushed the lead to 48-42 heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, the Knights ran wild as the Golden Lions’ tank was on E. A 14-2 run saw contributions from everyone, growing the lead to 64-47 with 2:49 showing on the clock. Fagan, a MTSU-commit, finished his high school career with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Travon Walker helped the Knights dominate the paint for a second-consecutive time against the Lions, collecting 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks as the Knights out-rebounded St. Pius 43-to-28, blocked 11 shots and outscored St. Pius 40-28 in the paint. Zyrice Scott netted 14 points to go with his 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The X-factor in last year’s game, Everett Lane, finished with 11 points to pace the Golden Lions. Cameron Traylor drew the defensive duties and helped keep Lane in check as he took his first shot attempt at the 6:46 mark of the second quarter. Matt Gonzalo had 8 points and 4 assists while Zach Ranson added 9 points. The Golden Lions scored 19 points off 18 Upson-Lee turnovers. The Knights now await a call from the GEICO Nationals.


Westlake Lady Lions basketball

(GR2 #1 Westlake 60, R8 #1 Newton 45: Westlake led 39-32 at the end of three and pulled away late to claim their first state title. Anastasia Warren poured in 22 points while freshman Raven Johnson had 15 points and 11 rebounds including grabbing her own missed free throw and finishing a bucket inside to put the game out of reach at 50-41 with 1:13 remaining. Taylor Hosendove added 10 points and 6 rebounds. Newton was powered by Jurnee Smith’s 25 points and 6 rebounds. Lexii Chatman added 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Meadowcreek Mustangs basketball

(B) R7 #2 Meadowcreek 56, R7 #1 Norcross 43: For a second straight season, Norcross entered the state title game with momentum and labeled a slight favorite, but again it wasn’t in the cards. After beating Meadowcreek  three times this season, twice on buzzer-beaters, the Blue Devil magic ran out as the Mustangs used a 13-1 run to open the fourth quarter and squeeze Norcross into submission, capturing their first-ever state championship. Dequarius Nicholas scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-6 from the foul line. Brandon Boston fouled out at the 6:10 mark with Meadowcreek up 38-37. With Boston’s 13 points on the bench, the Mustangs outscored Norcross 18-6 the rest of the way. Kyle Sturdivant finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds, but his late-game heroics never came into play. Meadowcreek pounded the interior all night, outscoring the Blue Devils in the paint 30-to-16. Duquesne-signee Amari Kelly posted 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks while Detroit-signee Cory Hightower put up 6 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Meadowcreek closed out the game with a bang at the 1:55 mark as freshman Kedrick Green delivered a behind-the-back pass to Jamir Chaplin for a big slam to make it 46-37.

Chaplin finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds while Green added 5 points. Meadowcreek tallied 12 assists on the night compared to just two for the Blue Devils. As a team, Norcross was held to 31% shooting. UGA-signee JoJo Toppin had 8 points and 7 rebounds while Issa Muhammad managed 4 points and 4 rebounds. Norcross shot 1-of-14 from three.

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.

Georgia State Team Camp Session II Preview

Session II of the Georgia State Ron Hunter Basketball Team Camp is here. The first session saw North Clayton powered by center Ahsan Asadullah march its way to the title with a win over Dacula. This Friday and Saturday (June 24-25) returns an even more loaded field. If you’re in the Atlanta area and are a major ‘hoop-head’, this is a must see event but I caution you, some teams will not be at full strength with their top players out at individual elite camps or college visits, so buyer beware.

Nonetheless, the field is absolutely juiced with powerhouse programs, up-and-comers and individual standouts. To break it down for the casual fan and not to slight anyone, here’s a quick synopsis of the teams on display.

Top Tier: Greenforest Christian (A-Private State Champ), St. Francis (A-Private Runner-Up), Miller Grove (AAAAA State Champ), Cedar Shoals (AAAAA Final Four), Pace Academy (AA State Champ), Jenkins (AAA Runner-Up), Treutlen (A-Public Final Four).

2015-16 State Tournament Teams: St. Pius, Sandy Creek, Chattooga, Lambert, Tucker, Grayson, Woodstock, South Forsyth.

Those are just a bulk of the teams that have had success recently. With graduations, transfers and coaching changes, everything is subject to change. Teams like Westminster, New Manchester, Duluth, Etowah, Parkview, King’s Ridge, Therrell and more are what really make this a great field, entering as the great unknowns as to how good they can be this upcoming season.

With a majority of the teams listed, here’s a further breakdown of some interesting/subtle storylines.

Jenkins has two great seniors returning in point guard Zion Williams and Trevion Lamar. Williams flourished in his first season at Jenkins after transferring from Savannah. The lightning quick guard averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 assists. The offense centers around 6-foot-5 do-everything forward Trevion Lamar.  He averaged 16.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.7 blocks. Lamar is one of the best players in South Georgia.

Life will be different without Connor Mannion (Navy) and Ross Morkem (North Georgia), but Coach Scott Bracco isn’t conceding too much of a drop off at Lambert. Tenacious, gritty, savvy and experienced are all words that can be used to describe Andrew Melms. The senior point guard makes the Longhorns offense go, but Musa Thompson and Austin Deckard are lethal as well along with Damon Stoudamire who enters his junior season. Thompson has the measurables to become a very good player as a 6-foot-4 wing. He has a chance to put it all together his senior season.

Individual standouts line South Forsyth, King’s Ridge and Forest Park. These three schools won’t be mistaken as perennial powers in the state of Georgia, but they do hold hidden gems. South Forsyth’s Evan Cole has a shot to establish himself as the best post player in camp after a steady summer with the Atlanta All-Stars. The deceptively athletic 6-foot-8 forward should see a major leap in recruitment his senior season. The double-double machine can score all over the floor and is a threat to go coast-to-coast.

Though he hasn’t become a star at the GHSA level after battling to become eligible, King’s Ridge’s Tolu Jacobs will be hard to miss. The 6-foot-11, 275-pound rock of muscle enters his junior season. I haven’t been able to see him play, but if he is there on Saturday, you can expect to see me at his court. With size like that, there will always be college suitors. It’s up to him to determine his ceiling.

Going from big to small, Avery Wilson, a 6-foot-1 guard at Forest Park, is a fun player to watch. Wilson is uber-athletic and was one of the state’s top scorers in Class AAAAA. He poured in 19.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The down-hill scorer took a whopping 180 free throws last year. If he can diversify his game and improve the confidence of his three-point shot (20-for-50, 40%), Wilson should start to gain more statewide attention his senior season.

Sandy Creek will see a lot of young faces take on big roles this season after the graduation of Christian Turner (Gardner-Webb) and the transfer of Elias Harden (Pebblebrook). The Patriots are a long team with 6-foot-7 forward Evan Jester leading the charge his senior season. Jester is no joke. He averaged 9.7 points and 8.6 rebounds a year ago but will be the focal point on offense this season. 6-foot-6 sophomore TJ Bickerstaff can play every position on the floor while juniors Jarred Godfrey, Xavier Brewer, Kameron Miller and Chris Porter have been working hard this offseason.

Etowah and Duluth look to revamp their programs with new head coaches in place. Allen Whitehart leads Etowah while Cabral Huff returns to high school at Duluth after winning a state title at St. Francis and taking a stop at Alcorn State. Both teams have played well this summer.

I have hyped Mountain View this summer and think they can still be very competitive even after the transfer of sophomore point guard Donell Nixon II to Buford this offseason. Another sophomore, Anthony Edwards, is a stud at Therrell. If the 6-foot-3 guard decides to stick it out all four years in Atlanta, he can put Therrell on the map.  He led the Panthers in scoring as a freshman and stuffs stat sheets nightly.

Looking for another super sleeper team? Parkview will build upon their 10-16 campaign. The Panthers are super young, graduating just two seniors. The youth Coach Nick Gast has is exceptional. Ahmir Langlais is a long 6-foot-7 sophomore whereas Jamiel Wright is a 5-foot-8 point guard that worked on his craft along with Langlais recently at the Under Armour Best of the Best Camp. ‘Elder statesmen’ Jack Lapenta, Cam Chavers and Truitt Spencer all return. Lapenta (7.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Chavers (10.3 ppg – leading scorer) are now juniors while Spencer (9.8 ppg) is a sophomore.

Another team with some intrigue surrounding them is Chattooga. The Indians came out of a weak Region 7 in Class AA that saw each team get swept by Region 6 in the first round of the state playoffs. The Indians opened the season 22-1 and spent time in the Top 10 but tapered off, losing four of their last five games to end the year. Only three players graduate meaning the Indians will be a strong favorite to romp through their region again. Twin brothers Isaiah and Isaac Foster are set to return for their senior seasons. Isaiah is a lethal scorer at guard that stretches defenses with his three-point shooting. Senior Jay Shropshire is back as well to provide scoring.

For more insight on a couple of teams not listed, feel free to read my previous analysis of other summer team camps.


Bakari Bryant Notches Win 100 with No. 2 Jenkins

Defending 3A state champion, No. 2 Jenkins High School, earned head coach Bakari Bryant his 100th career win on Friday Night, 70-44 over Toombs County. Savannah Now’s Travis Jaudon was in attendance and wraps up an emotional night. Click the link below for the full story and please follow @Jaudonsports on Twitter for some of Savannah’s best high school sports coverage in town.