Contributed by Rob Grubbs (@RCGJr226070)
Fayette County 67, 4ANo. 3 Sandy Creek 65
It’s still a week until Thanksgiving, but the menu for early season GHSA basketball games has whetted our appetite for the season ahead. One such game was the cross-county rivalry between two Final Four teams from last year, the Sandy Creek Patriots from AAAA and Fayette County from AAAAA. Playing before two huge student sections, the game stayed within six points the entire night. The ending was dramatic, as the Tigers would score the winning basket on their last possession for the 67-65 win.
Coach Andre Flynn is back on the Tiger bench, he has coached there for over 20 years, but the players that took them to the Final Four in Columbus have moved on. He is working with a clean slate, but because of his consistency and the system he employs, the new players know exactly how they fit in. This year’s group is built around athleticism and discipline. For Sandy Creek, they brought back much of the talent that took them to Augusta last year for the semifinals but have welcomed a new coach, Jon-Michael Nickerson. Coach Nickerson, who comes with an impressive resume as a player, high school coach and college coach, brings a more defensive mindset than the past. He has a deep, talented roster with height and leadership.
On this night, there was a buzz before the tip that lasted until the final whistle, both coaches and players would say it’s early, this is a non-region game, it is not that important in the grand scheme of things, but actually, it was important to them and their play proved that. In a game that was crisp and full of athleticism and sportsmanship, Sandy Creek took a two-point lead to half. You could tell the defensive energy that both coaches were looking for was there which kept the game low scoring.
— Robert Grubbs (@RCGJr226070) November 15, 2017
The fourth quarter, which started with Fayette County ahead 48-45 was almost a blur. It felt like the first three quarters were warm up and this was for real. Josh Dupree and Rickey Knight would hit back-to-back threes to give the Tigers the largest lead of the night at six, only to see Sandy Creek come back. Jarred Godfrey would hit two threes himself within 15 seconds of each other and with 2:50 remaining, the Patriots were up 60-59. Ultimately, it came down to a tie game with under a minute. Fayette County point guard JeKobe Coleman, an ELCA transfer, worked from the top of the key as the Tigers waited patiently for their opportunity. With 9 seconds remaining, Coleman found Jordan Brown who had snuck in behind the Patriot zone defense for the game winning shot.
— Patrice Coleman (@PlColeman329) November 15, 2017
Sandy Creek had eight seconds, but Josh Dupree stole the basketball and ended the night
Afterwards Flynn said, “Our guys are so young, you don’t know how they will compete until the game starts, we did not play well on Saturday in a loss to East Coweta, but I am proud of how they fought tonight. We want to see how they respond when they get beat up because it gives you an indication of the growth. We will need to continue to grow as the year goes on.”
- JeKobe Coleman threw the pass to Brown for the winning score just like he did this season for the Fayette County football team as their QB. He was very calm and collected, the moment was not too big for the sophomore. It is always great to see the two sport athletes play.
- Jarred Godfrey has bought into Coach Nickerson’s philosophies on the court. Godfrey has developed into a true leader, the college watching last night loved his performance.
- Patriot Kameron Miller has one speed – wide open; he scored, he passed, he rebounded and he was everywhere.
- The Tigers are young and are liable to have a bad game from time to time, but they are good and will get better.
- The Patriots lineup of Miller, Godfrey, TJ Bickerstaff, Xavier Brewer and Julian Alexander has a good mix of height and quickness.
- Look for both teams to make noise in the post season.
Rickey Knight – 20 points, 2 rebounds
Josh Dupree – 15 points, 2 rebounds
Terrell Bradley – 14 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists
JeKobe Coleman – 9 points, 2 assists
Jarred Godfrey – 22 points, 3 rebounds
TJ Bickerstaff 22 points, 11 rebounds
Kam Miller – 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists
JRs Josh Dupree (15) and Ricky knight (20) combine for 35pts to lead @FayetteBball past Sandy Creek 67-65 in a back and forth affair. JR Terrell Bradley chipped in 14pts 8ast 6reb @KyleSandy355 @og_josh32 @CammDaGoat13 pic.twitter.com/Enk8ifTnQ9
— FCHS Basketball (@FayetteBball) November 15, 2017