Tag Archives: Miller Grove

Georgia State Team Camp Session II Analysis P. III

Head Turner

Avery Wilson of Forest Park can flat out score the ball. I said he was 6-foot-1 in my preview, but after shaking hands with him and meeting him face to face, he’s closer to 6-foot-3 or maybe 6-foot-4 on a good day. Stock up. The explosive guard didn’t play in the first half in a loss to Westminster but decided to give it a go in the second half.

Wilson was nursing a beat up ankle but that didn’t stop him from making an immediate impact. His first two touches in the second half? Two layups in a row, charging his way down the lane. Wilson wasn’t done there. Not just a put-your-head-down-and-attack guy, Wilson banged in three threes including a four-point play. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds and one steal in one half of work. Not bad, considering he hurt his ankle late in the game and did not re-enter. He’s healthy now and will continue to get buckets his senior season. Don’t sleep on the kid from Forest Park.

Bright Future

With Malik Beasley being the 19th pick in the NBA Draft, Kaiser Gates entering year two at Xavier, 6-foot-7 forward Chance Anderson gone to San Francisco and Kobi Simmons off to Arizona after a McDonald’s All-American career, one would think the St. Francis dynasty would finally be entering its twilight right? You might want to hold off on those predictions because Coach Drew Catlett is enamored with his group, especially his young talent that has worked its way up through the pipelines.

Freshmen Dwon Odom and Chase Ellis are ready to make an impact. Odom at 6-foot-2 but still room to grow a few more inches, is a freakish athlete that has had a great year. The 6-foot-2 Ellis might not have quite the athleticism or ceiling as Odom, but he is an elite scorer, pumping in over 1,000 points over his middle school career.

Final Four

Miller Grove 27, Cedar Shoals 24

Bucket-getter extraordinaire Tae Hardy poured in 13 points and three steals, including the game-clinching steal and dunk at the buzzer. Kevin Paige continued his strong camp with four rebounds and two blocks. Cedar Shoals received 12 points from Snipe Hall and five rebounds. Phlan Fleming finished with six points and three boards.

Woodstock 28, Parkview 27 

Cam Chavers, last season’s leading scorer for the Panthers as a sophomore, dropped in nine points and talented sophomore point guard Jamiel Wright added six points but the Wolverines were able to hold on. Late blooming post, 6-foot-5 senior Cameron Crowe was able to negate Ahmir Langlais’ dominance inside (four points) and outscored him with seven points of his own. Noah Frith, an active 6-foot-4 junior when healthy, tagged on six points in the win.


Miller Grove 35, Woodstock 18
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU

The 7-time state champion Wolverines raced out to a 9-0 lead against the first time in 20 years state playoff berth Wolverines and never looked back on their way to the Session II title. Jalen Mason, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, poured in 11 points for Miller Grove. I liked what Mason did over the course of camp as an active defender on the perimeter that keyed a lot of breakouts over the weekend. Tae Hardy scored six in the win and Kevin Paige corralled six rebounds.

For Woodstock, Tyreke Johnson did everything he could to lead the Wolverines. Johnson, who had a strong showing at Kennesaw State Elite Camp which led to an invite back to practice with KSU, continued his hot summer. The 6-foot-4 guard netted 11 points in the loss. Cameron Crowe performed admirably against the bulkier Miller Grove front line coming up with three blocks.


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

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.

DICK’s National Tournament: Miller Grove vs. Findlay Prep

No. 13 Miller Grove (30-2) vs. No. 5 Findlay Prep, NV (28-1)
Photo by Ty Freeman
Photo by Ty Freeman

Since Wheeler protested and broke the evil spell cast over high school basketball by the GHSA last year which prevented teams from playing in national tournaments at the conclusion of their GHSA sanctioned season, Class AAAAA state champion Miller Grove becomes the second Peach State team ever to play for the mythical national title.1 The Wolverines are no stranger to the big stage, winning seven state championships in the past eight years and becoming a staple on the national circuit. Miller Grove went 4-2 against out-of-state competition, their only losses coming to No. 7 Chaminade, Mo. 86-77 and Lone Peak, Ut. 73-71, both teams headlined by McDonald’s All-Americans and Duke signees Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson, respectively.

The Wolverines have an ace up their sleeve as they meet Findlay Prep, the three-time DICK’s National Champion hailing from Nevada. Alterique Gilbert keys the Miller Grove attack. The UConn signee racked up the awards this year being named Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Georgia while garnering a Sandy’s Spiel First-Team All-State selection. Gilbert was a stat-sheet stuffer averaging 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 4.1 steals his senior season. Findlay Prep Head Coach Andy Johnson is well aware of Gilbert’s explosiveness and will counter with a slew of D-I guards that will try to slow down the Wolverines’ catalyst. Skylar Mays (4-star LSU) and Carlos Johnson (2-star UNLV) will try to use their size against Gilbert if they get matched up. Gilbert stands 5-11 while Mays and Johnson are a pair of physical 6-4 guards.

Alterique Gilbert with Sharman White | Photo by Travis Hudgons
Alterique Gilbert with Sharman White | Photo by Travis Hudgons

Luckily for Miller Grove, they are more than just a one man team. Aaron Augustin averaged 9.9 points and 8.0 assists as the team’s lead guard when the ball wasn’t in Gilbert’s hands. The ETSU de-commit is still deciding on where he will play next year. Augustin’s strong build allows him to rush past defenders and make plays in the lane whether he is kicking out to the corners to deadly shooters Tae Hardy and Colin Young, or finishing at the rim. Everyone Coach Sharman White puts on the floor can spread out the defense and cause matchup problems for the bigger Pilots.

Findlay Prep will have just that however: a massive size advantage. In the state championship Allatoona exploited its size inside with Randy Legros, a raw 6-7 big man, who scored eight points in their 50-48 loss. The Pilots’ post players and much bigger and much more polished with six players standing over 6-7. Tristan Clark (4-star Baylor), PJ Washington (5-star) and O’Shae Brissett (4-star) lead the charge for the basketball power plant.

L-R: PJ Washington, Markus Howard, Oshae Brissett, Skylar Mays | Photo by Jann Hendry/MaxPreps
L-R: PJ Washington, Markus Howard, Oshae Brissett, Skylar Mays | Photo by Jann Hendry/MaxPreps

Washington, a junior, averages 16.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Both Brissett and Clark average close to 10 points while it is point guard Markus Howard (4-star) who leads the team in scoring at 18.6 per. Findlay averages 99.9 points per game, but the competition does have the right to be put into question playing “Academies” such as Planet Athlete, Impact and Elite One, teams the Pilots beat up on a combined 12 times according to MaxPreps, winning by an average of 56.5 points. Findlay’s lone loss came to Bishop Gorman, Nv. 77-71, a team that GHSA Class AAAA runner up Jonesboro defeated 65-64 at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.

On paper it seems like Findlay Prep is the heavy favorite, but if you delve deeper into the numbers Miller Grove has a puncher’s chance. UAB football signee 6-6 Raylon Richardson must play better than he did against Allatoona (5 points, 3 rebounds) and more like he did against Wofford signee Dishon Lowery and Chase Walter of McIntosh when he posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks as an X-factor in Miller Grove’s semifinal rout.

The one advantage the Wolverines have that can’t be disputed will be on the bench in the form of Coach White. White has coached in the USA Basketball program and is a master in-game decision maker. He will put his pack of Wolverines in the best spot to succeed as they look to make history for the state of Georgia in their march to the DICK’s National Championship.

1  MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and USA Today Super 25 [rankings used for tournament] No. 1 Chino Hills & No. 4 St. Anthony, both undefeated, are ineligible to participate in the tournament due to state rules like the GHSA had in place for years.

Miller Grove hangs No. 7 in defensive war with Allatoona

No. 1 Miller Grove 50, No. 2 Allatoona 48

Head Coach Sharman White said before the game that No. 1 Miller Grove (30-2) needed to attack to beat No. 2 Allatoona (31-1) and that’s what they did. They attacked the Buccaneers not only on offense but on defense, surviving previously undefeated Allatoona 50-48 for the program’s seventh title in eight years after Ephraim Tshimanga was unable to get a shot off on the Bucs’ final possession.

Allatoona controlled the tempo and contained Miller Grove’s explosive offense led by McDonald’s All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert. The Bucs got off to a hot start with a 4-0 lead, but turnovers throughout the game prevented Allatoona from taking a complete grasp of the game. 23 turnovers haunted the Bucs while the two teams combined for 24 in the first half with Miller Grove committing just three errors in the second half.

Allatoona turned Miller Grove’s turnovers into seven points in the first quarter. An unexpected lift came in the form of 6-foot-7 senior Randy Legros. The defensive specialist attacked Raylon Richardson and got him into foul trouble early. Legros finished with eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines surged ahead to take a 24-20 halftime lead behind the play of Gilbert. The star guard netted eight of his 15 points in the second period. Both he and Aaron Augustin caused the Bucs fits by attacking the hole relentlessly, the two combining to go 13-of-19 from the foul line on the night.


Down four at the half, it was still a game that Allatoona felt it had a chance to win by slowing down one of the state’s most potent offenses. After Miller Grove extended its lead to 27-22, its largest of the game, Allatoona stormed back with a 9-0 run to take a 31-27 edge with 3:30 remaining. With 1:36 to play in the third, sophomore guard Trey Doomes began his first battle with cramps with the Bucs still leading by four.

Allatoona pushed its lead to 37-32 after Doomes found Kevin Perry for an And-1 with 1:19 left, but Augustin would put the Wolverines on his back to end the quarter, collecting a basket plus the foul and then a steal and a lay up to tie the game at 37, five of his team-high 16 points.

The Wolverines trailed 40-37 entering the fourth after Perry banked home a three-ball. Up three with 6:34 remaining, Doomes started to cramp up again. Richardson who was surprisingly outplayed by Legros, nailed a clutch three to knot the game at 44 at the 4:46 mark, still anyone’s game.

Tae Hardy found a bucket inside to regain the lead for Miller Grove 46-44 with 2:35 to play. Down two with 1:44 to go, Doomes missed two free throws and Colin Young made him pay with a jumper to make it 49-45.

Augustin fouled Perry on a three on the following possession and the Coastal Georgia signee sank all three, cutting it to 49-48 with 1:08 left. Mr. Georgia Basketball, Gilbert, was sent to the line with a chance to ice the game but missed the front end of the one-and-one allowing Coach Markus Hood to diagram a play with 19.5 seconds to go.

Instead of getting off a shot, it was Young who came away with the steal and was fouled in the open court.  Young split his free throws with five seconds left setting up one last opportunity for the Buccaneers to complete a dream season and go undefeated but Tshimanga lost the ball on Joshua Jackmon’s leg as it was knocked away and Miller Grove fell on it to secure another banner for Coach White.

Tshimanga, a senior, finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals in his final game. Perry added 13 points while Doomes had an up-and-down night with seven points, five rebounds, five assists but eight turnovers.

Young, who scored eight points on the night, was the key to the Wolverines’ success late.

“He stuck with it. He missed a couple shots he felt like he should have hit earlier, so he was kind of down but he fought through. Just typical of the way he plays. He’s never going to quit and he’s going to keep on fighting and he made two huge plays down the stretch for us,” explained Coach White.

Allatoona didn’t throw any curveballs Miller Grove’s way, even with the emergence of Legros inside.

“They were who they were. They executed their game plan. We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” said White. “Of course you want to win this game in a way where you don’t have to work as hard but we were prepared for a dog fight.”

For a second straight season, it was Allatoona coming up just short on the big stage. Last year’s 49-32 loss to Brunswick was a case of sour shooting but this year the Bucs shot well, hitting 51.6 percent of their shots compared to Miller Grove’s 42.5.

Coach Hood’s four seniors, Dylon Ramsey, Ephraim Tshimanga, Kevin Perry and Randy Legros were paramount to Allatoona’s success.

“Their leadership kept us together and kept us marching forward,” explained Hood. “And tonight, Miller Grove was let off the hook. We had them. But that’s ok. Because you know what’s more important than the scoreboard out there? It’s the journey we had with our young men.”

“If he [Legros] doesn’t get in foul trouble tonight, we win that game tonight. He brings us a presence in the paint. He was the best big man on the floor tonight and I thought it was obvious.”

All-American Alterique Gilbert’s fourth quarter stops No. 9 Southwest DeKalb comeback

No. 1 Miller Grove 53, No. 9 Southwest DeKalb 45


A 15-5 run had No. 1 Miller Grove seemingly on the ropes after taking its largest lead of the game 43-30 entering the fourth, but when the Wolverines needed a hoop, they turned to none other than McDonalds All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert to answer the call as Miller Grove held off host No. 9 Southwest DeKalb in front of a capacity crowd, 53-45.

Southwest DeKalb looked to establish 6-foot-6, 245-pound senior TiQuan Lewis early on. The Washington County transfer posed problems inside for the slighter Wolverines in their first meeting, posting 19 points and 12 rebounds in a 76-69 loss. On Tuesday, the big man scored the Panthers’ first seven points of the game but was held to two points the rest of the way as Miller Grove began digging down and harassing Lewis with active hands.

While Lewis got Southwest DeKalb off to a quick start, Aaron Augustin began his own scoring spree, slashing to the basket and showing off his outside shot to finish with seven of his 10 points in the first quarter, giving the Wolverines a 15-10 lead after one.

Augustin sank his final basket of the night, a three-pointer at the 4:06 mark of the second quarter to push the Wolverine lead out to 21-14. Southwest DeKalb leading scorer Keith Gilmore scored just one point in the first quarter but began to find the bottom of the net while it looked like the Panthers were about to lose distance with the Wolverines. The senior scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the second period, but the Panthers still entered the half trailing Miller Grove 34-22.

To open the second half, Southwest DeKalb made sure to not stray away from the inside game, feeding it to Lewis early on, but Miller Grove caused him to fumble away a few opportunities with its pressure defense.  He and Gilmore combined for 17 of the Panthers’ 22 first half points meaning someone else had to step up. While Southwest searched for a third option in the third quarter, Miller Grove slowly began to pull away.

TiQuan Lewis is a big boy
TiQuan Lewis is a big boy

Aidan Saunders received a pass in transition and threw down a dunk, the first of the game, to extend the lead to 41-30. Seconds after the gym-rocking slam, the student sections of both teams began to get into it, causing a five-minute stop in the action while teachers and police went into the crowd to make sure nothing got out of hand. After the brief stoppage, Miller Grove added another hoop to give itself a 13-point cushion heading into the final eight minutes.

Instead of rolling over and letting the Wolverines blow them out of their own gym, the Panthers showed some bite of their own. A long and methodical comeback began to take place with Southwest using its helter skelter tempo and press to force Miller Grove into rushed shots and turnovers. Coach Eugene Brown finally found his third and fourth scoring options as Nathaniel Ambersley scored six of his 11 points in the fourth while Mandarius Dickerson added nine points in the game.

With 1:10 remaining, Gilmore caught a feed down low and went baseline to lay it up and claw the Panthers within 48-45. Seconds later at the 48.5 mark, Gilbert answered with an And-1 to make it 51-45 and stem the tide. The All-American poured in nine of Miller Grove’s 10 fourth quarter points and took over when Coach Sharman White needed him the most.

29.2 seconds remained when Coach White called a timeout. The Wolverines attempted to inbound the ball, but an offensive foul was called, giving the ball back to the Panthers still down six. Southwest DeKalb was unable to score, but forced a turnover with 15 seconds left. Gilmore had the ball on what looked like a 3-on-1 fast break, but instead of trying to get the bucket and play the fouling game, he elected to attempt a pull-up three which missed and resulted in a rebound and outlet for a Gilbert run-out dunk with seconds left to end the game.

Missed opportunities hurt the Panthers, especially as they entered the bonus with 5:26 left in the fourth, but made only 1-of-5 from the line and finished 8-of-16 for the game.

My Take: If you didn’t get to Southwest DeKalb by halftime of the girls’ game, you weren’t getting a seat. I strolled in right as the game was finishing up and there were no seats to be found. The action that ensued on the court warranted the crowd. Miller Grove looked like the top team in the state, coming away with a huge win in a wild environment. The Wolverines look to push the ball every chance they get and have some of the best spacing I’ve seen all year with shooters peppering the perimeter. Alterique Gilbert didn’t have his best game, missing some open threes, but he would not be denied when the game was on the line. Aaron Augustin had a big first half with 10 points but didn’t score in the second. He along with Gilbert were able to hit open men. The pair made everyone around them better tonight. The Wolverines are a very unselfish bunch and play for one another even with all the stars on their roster. They came away with 11 steals hounding the Southwest DeKalb guards, especially in the first half holding Darius Hogan, Mandarius Dickerson and Nathaniel Ambersley to five total first half points, with Hogan never cracking the scorebook on the night after scoring 12 against Miller Grove in their first meeting.

Southwest DeKalb showed a lot of heart, scrapping to get back into the game. TiQuan Lewis is a load inside and can punish smaller defenders. Keith Gilmore was the senior leader I expected him to be, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds. If Coach Brown can get guard production around those two, the Panthers will be a tough team in the state tournament. The glaring issue for the Panthers was a lack of pure shooting. They made just one three-pointer on the night and shot 50% from the foul line. Missed free throws and Hogan’s quiet game came back to bite Southwest. Hogan is the team’s best shooter from deep, averaging over two makes a game and hitting 40%.

Top Performers

Miller Grove
Alterique Gilbert – 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
Aaron Augustin – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Raylon Richardson – 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block
Aidan Saunders – 7 points
Joshua Jackmon – 5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
Tae Hardy – 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals

Southwest DeKalb
Keith Gilmore – 16 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist
Nathaniel Ambersley – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
TiQuan Lewis – 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block
Mandarius Dickerson – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks