Tag Archives: Paulding County

Paulding County collects 30 steals in blitz of East Paulding

Paulding County 90, East Paulding 77

In front of two vocal student sections that lacked a filter, Paulding County (12-1) put their nearly pristine record on the line against cross town Region 7-AAAAA rival East Paulding (6-5), who is already two wins away from their most victories in a season since 2012-13 under new Head Coach JW Cantrell. Even with the clear size, skill and athletic advantage it wasn’t until the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter that the Patriots were finally able to put away an upset-minded Raider group.

The Patriots entered Wednesday night without one of the state’s top scorers, Jervon Morris (24.9 ppg) who was suspended for disciplinary reasons. Even without Morris, Paulding County played their trademark up-tempo style and pressed the full length of the court.

East Paulding traded buckets with Paulding County as Azer Tidor, a 20+ point-per-game scorer got to the rack early for six points in the opening frame.

Tidor never got into a clean flow however as the Paulding County press harassed East Paulding and picked up eight of their 30 steals in the first quarter to set the tone while John Cook capitalized on the other end, the athletic 6-foot-5 forward scoring nine points to give the Patriots a 22-19 lead after one.

Missing star post Sean Rutledge, Coach Cantrell turned to Cole Brown who provided a spark in the second quarter scoring and rebounding the ball, but Paulding County continued to stretch the lead, going on a 10-4 run to make it 32-23 at the 4:32 mark, Cook scoring eight points during the stretch.

With the Patriots having the ability to bury opponents in a flash, the Raiders responded with a 7-0 run of their own, Silas Johnson Jr. knocking down a three and Ravon Melon finishing two And-1s, but missing both free throw attempts to make it 32-30 with 3:03 left in the first half.

As East Paulding tried to make a game of it, Paulding County punched back with their defensive pressure suffocating the Raiders. Keon Sedgwick capped a 7-2 run which pushed the lead out to 39-32.

At the half Paulding County led 44-39 playing at a Patriot pace. By the break, Cook had already dumped in 20 points and the free throw advantage for the aggressive Patriots started to balloon, going 11-of-20 from the line while East Paulding shot 1-of-6, both teams leaving crucial points at the line.

The Patriots popped East Paulding right out of the gate in the third, swarming for easy steals – Sedgwick, Corleone Thomas and Jamal McIver at the forefront of the pressure which made the score 50-41 after two Sedgwick pull-ups. But once again, East Paulding wouldn’t lay down, cutting the lead back to three before a Thomas layup in traffic made it 52-47 at the 4:48 mark.

The Raiders cut the lead to 58-54 but in the blink of an eye, a Trell Evans three and a McIver steal and layup grew the Patriot advantage to 63-54 with 1:13 remaining before settling with a 67-56 lead heading into the fourth quarter after closing the third on a 9-2 run, Evans netting 11 points in the period.

With East Paulding seemingly on the ropes, the Raiders struck a 9-1 run to trim the score to 68-65 at the 6:20 mark following a Johnson three and put-back.

The three-point deficit would be as close as the Raiders would get as Cook unleashed an onslaught in the final six minutes after failing to score in the third. The senior piled in 12 of his game-high 32 points in the deciding quarter as the Patriots ripped off a 13-2 run to put the game out of reach, making it 81-67 with 3:10 left to play.

In the fourth quarter the Patriots went 7-of-19 from the line, taking more attempts than the Raiders did the entire game going 9-for-18. Paulding County finished 20-of-42 from the line but the story was East Paulding’s inability to handle the press and Cook’s knockout fourth that closed the game 90-77 in favor of the visitors.

My Take

Paulding County was impressive with their overall length, athleticism and aggressiveness. They are the type of team that will overwhelm bad teams and feast on weaker competition which they have done so this year. They may run into trouble when they play disciplined teams with good guard play or teams that can control the tempo and play in the half court. Their lone loss came against Carrollton who had the competency to handle ball pressure and elected to run with them, winning 92-76. Either way, the Patriots are an exciting group to watch and they should be able to secure another state tournament berth and have a ton of natural talent. The details surrounding the suspension of Jervon Morris aren’t pretty if true, but if and when he’s allowed back on the court, it gives Coach Kevin Hammitt another potent scorer. John Cook was great for the Patriots tonight. After three years of chasing stability, he has found it and showed the type of talent he has finishing with 32 points (5 threes), 7 rebounds and 5 steals. He could be a good fit at the JUCO level. Sparkplug Trell Evans stepped up in a big way with his speed and tenacity. His third quarter helped Paulding County extend its lead with Cook going scoreless. The length of Corleone Thomas and Keon Sedgwick led to 13 combined steals. Sedgwick played the role of swiss army knife, collecting 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals and 2 blocks. He’s a wiry and lively player, always getting involved in plays. He had lightning quick hands that led to easy poke aways and showed a nice pull-up jumper.

The fact that East Paulding was able to hang around until the four-minute mark was quite impressive. Outmanned, the Raiders had to scrap all throughout the night and punished the Patriots on the glass, outrebounding the bigger and more athletic visitors 58 to 32. The Raiders were horrendous against the press and all but neutralized their large rebounding advantage however. A lack of a true point guard was apparent as the Patriots bullied them with their pressure leading to 30 Paulding County steals. 6-foot-2 senior Azer Tidor had a quiet 20 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block if that’s even possible. Tidor was steady throughout, scoring six points in the first, third and fourth quarters. The 6-foot-2 combo guard is a nice sleeper prospect that doesn’t play AAU. He’s got a good feel for the game and didn’t get too flustered with the aggressive Patriot defense. He liked to pull-up from the elbow but also showed the ability to finish at the basket. He could help out a small college looking for a reliable option on the wing. Silas Johnson Jr., a 6-foot-3 senior, hit three three-pointers en route to 15 points and 8 rebounds. The lefty isn’t much of a ball handler, but he’s long and can help stretch the floor and rebound. The Raiders will be adding one of the best players in the region this January as 6-foot-5 junior post Sean Rutledge will be eligible. He is a game-changing presence with his ability to score with his back to the basket and will give Coach JW Cantrell a very talented inside-out duo with Tidor on the perimeter. East Paulding’s best basketball is on the horizon as they look to shatter last year’s 8-win mark.

Top Performers

Paulding County
John Cook – 32 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 steals, 1 block
Trell Evans – 20 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals
Corleone Thomas – 17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals
Keon Sedgwick – 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals, 2 block
Kevin Brown – 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Jamal McIver – 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 steals

East Paulding
Azer Tidor – 20 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Silas Johnson Jr. – 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Cole Brown – 9 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
Ravon Melon – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal

2017-18 Dark Horses

Ten Dark Horse teams that will be battling for statewide recognition and a playoff berth this season.


(20-10; 4-6)
Sweet 16

The Eagles finished 20-10 with a Sweet 16 appearance but struggled in Region 4, going just 4-6. Much of the continuity returns except at head coach where Jason Dasinger steps in to build on the quick momentum constructed by now Milton head coach Allen Whitehart. Dasinger racked up a 25-4 record at Alpharetta in his only year on the job and now turns to a new cast at Etowah to replicate his success. Tusculum-commit Adrian Cohen and junior Jaxon Etter power the Eagle offense. Cohen has size and versatility as a 6-foot-5 wing while Etter, a burgeoning college prospect, popped onto opposing teams’ radars last year as he surged his way into becoming a First Team All-Region 4 selection. The 6-foot-3 swingman is a crafty scorer and underrated athlete who can takeover games. Inside, Etowah is anchored by agile 6-foot-7 senior Julian Baldwin and 6-foot-5 dirty work rebounder Carter Ingersoll. Nick Nagy provides the outside shooting and rounds out the core of Etowah’s senior class. Playing to their potential and not down to competition will determine whether or not the Eagles can become a dangerous team come February.

Kennesaw Mountain

(10-18; 4-6)
First Round State

All the ingredients for a winning recipe are in Coach Jesse Bonner’s kitchen this season. Following a 10-18 season out of Region 3 with a 64-51 road state playoff loss at Colquitt County, the Mustangs now have the experience and extra help ready to push them over the hump to fight for a top two seed. Senior guard Josh Strong really ignited his season after exploding at the Lake City Classic, averaging 22 points per game and dropping in 23 points in a win over state-ranked Riverwood. The Second Team All-Region pick has some homerun hitters to run with in 2017-18. Jalyn McCreary is now eligible after missing all of his sophomore season. The 6-foot-7 junior is a Preseason First Team All-State selection that can go toe-to-toe with any of Georgia’s premier stars. Junior Khalil Shaheed should bring a major boost to the backcourt come January, a transfer from Wheeler that likes to get out and run. Still in the mix are quality guards Jordan Barnes and Christian Ramsey along with forward Jalen Knight.

Douglas County

(10-15; 8-8)
No Playoffs

The Tigers sunk to 10-15 overall but finished a respectable 8-8 in the difficult Region 5. Douglas County has more than enough guard play to shake up the region and earn a state tournament berth but it won’t be easy. The tandem of junior Malik Battle and senior Rodney Lewis is a formidable one. Lewis at 5-foot-10 has a slight frame, but can drill threes when left open and also does a good job of getting his teammates involved, averaging a Tiger-best 3.8 helpers a game last year. 6-foot-3 senior Rickey Clark shot 44% from three while 6-foot-5 Ernest Randle brings a physical presence heading into his senior season.


(5-19; 3-7)
No Playoffs

Augusta-brand basketball hasn’t always translated well to the rest of the state in the bigger classifications lately, but in the weak Region 3, there’s no reason why Grovetown can’t grab a state playoff bid and improve from their 5-19 overall mark. The senior trio of Eric Graham II, Emmanuel Bryson III and Nick Tolbert bring experience to the backcourt. Graham is a steady producer that can shoot the ball and make the right decisions. Bryson relies on his defense to convert into offense. 2016 Class A-Private All-State Honorable Mention point guard Jelani Shakir moves in from Aquinas while 6-foot-8 project Jeremiah Smith is a load at 230 pounds that will help from Minnesota. The Warriors have more than enough talent to finish near the top of a region that saw only two teams finish above .500 and had all four teams swept in the first round of the state playoffs.

Paulding County

(11-18; 8-8)
First Round State

The Patriots earned a state playoff bid with an 11-18 record in Region 7 and have a chance to improve on that mark in 2017-18. Second Team All-Region selection Tyron Summerour paces the backcourt along with fellow seniors Vance Anderson and McEachern transfer KJ Shade. Junior Michael Seymour has seen success as a part of a growing stable of guards. The Patriots have some size as well with 6-foot-6 junior Josh Broughton returning and 6-foot-7 Elijah Brown-Kane transferring in from Minnesota for his senior season.  6-foot-3 sophomore Kevin Brown has impressed at forward this fall. Region 7 is up for grabs with Carrollton the slight favorite, but don’t be surprised if Paulding County crashes the party and posts their best win total in years.


(10-13; 7-9)
No Playoffs

It will be a climb to grab a top four seed in the competitively deep Region 4, but the Wolfpack have reason for optimism coming off their 10-13 (7-9) season with junior point guard Jalen Mason taking over the reins. The former Miller Grove Wolverine is an outstanding athlete that has already made an impact on the football field as a wide receiver, but his long-term potential is on the hardwood. The highlight maker will join forces with 6-foot-6, 266-pound offensive lineman Shakeel Shaw who takes up space in the lane.


(15-7; 3-3)
Not Eligible For Postseason

Quietly, Dougherty was one of South Georgia’s better programs last season but due to multiple infractions under former head coach Ty Randolph’s watch, the Trojans had to forfeit their 2016-17 postseason eligibility. Legendary head coach Rufus McDuffie, a five-time state champion at Mitchell-Baker High School, stepped in and guided the Trojans to impressive wins over state playoff teams Westover, Lee County and Glynn Academy, along with beating all four state tournament teams from Region 1 at least once including region champ and Sweet 16 finalist Crisp County. Dougherty is anchored by Georgia’s biggest blow up prospect from the summer, 6-foot-11 senior Carlos Curry. The mobile center has received offers from Power 5 conferences and will get a chance to prove his worth his senior season. Curry is comfortable taking the outside shot and rebounds well. He will need to finish stronger around the basket. He will team up with 2019 6-foot-5 banger Justin Jackson, another tough player to keep off the glass. As seen at the high school level, you don’t win with big men, so Dougherty’s guards will have to play a major role for the Trojans to have more success. Sophomore Rod Jones and junior Jordan Green, a transfer from Albany, are expected to see major minutes.

Monroe Area

(15-15; 6-4)
Sweet 16

Only two seniors graduate from a mildly disappointing 2016-17 team that never quite cemented itself as the second-best team in the region behind state runner-up Morgan County. The Hurricanes still earned a postseason victory over Sonoraville before meeting their demise against Westside-Macon. All-Region 8 performers 6-foot-7 Elijah Goodman, Devin Sheets and Isaiah Glasper are set to return with major experience now under their belt. Bolling DuBose will be roaming an unfamiliar sideline after coaching 41 years at Jefferson. A fast start will be imperative for Monroe Area after they stumbled out of the gates to an 0-5 start last year.

Rabun County

(11-15; 5-7)
No Playoffs

They aren’t in a friendly region, but Rabun County returns nearly everybody back from last season’s streaky three-point shooting team. All-Region pick Bailey Fisher is coming off of a 17.3-point-per-game campaign and will be joined by fellow senior Tevan Dixon, who tore his ACL after 11 games. Dixon averaged a team-high 21.7 points while adding 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game before going down. A healthy Dixon provides an aggressive scorer that isn’t afraid to shoot from all three levels. Junior guard Chase Buchanan is a three-point specialist that drained 40-of-95 threes (42%) while attempting just 13 shots inside the arc. Rising sophomore Braxton Hicks averaged 9.7 points per game while senior Grayson Lane was the Wildcats best post presence chipping in 8.4 points, 5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a night. With Fisher and Hicks on the football field to open the season, Rabun County might take a while to hit their stride.


(6-21; 3-9)
No Playoffs

It’s time. It’s time for Northeast-Macon to come of age and battle for a playoff spot. Juniors Darius Dunn and Ty’ree Gilbert are both locks to pass the 1,000-point plateau this season. There’s no debating that the slight-of-build guards can fill it up offensively, but now it’s time to rack up the wins. Dunn, 6-foot-1, poured in 20.7 points per game and is coming off of a hot summer while Gilbert dropped in a cool 17.3 as a sophomore. The third-head of the attack is sophomore Cameron Cherry, a 6-foot-3 guard that has all the physical tools to be the best of the bunch when all is said and done, but he has to lock in and not rely on his potential to carry him. The big three will be relied upon to score early and often. With Dunn and Gilbert now upperclassmen, youth should no longer be an issue.