Tag Archives: southwest dekalb

Panthers’ comeback falls short at Day 1 of the Peach State Classic

No. 4 Fayette County 64, No. 6 Southwest DeKalb 56

Class AAAAA contenders collided at Day 1 of the Peach State Classic held at Clayton State University and hosted by Revelle Williams. No. 4 Fayette County and No. 6 Southwest DeKalb both had a chance to make a statement and shakeup the poll with a strong performance.

Darius Hogan got the Panthers off to a good start with back-to-back threes, but Fayette County didn’t blink and played an exciting brand of basketball led by Furman-signee Noah Gurley at the backend of the defense. The long and lean 6-foot-8 forward swatted away three shots in the opening period as the Tigers held a 12-9 lead heading into the second quarter.

Fayette County ran out to a 10-2 run to open the second quarter and led 22-11 following an Austin Nesmith alley-oop to Gurley. Sophomore Josh Dupree got loose in the quarter and scored nine of his 11 points, slicing to the basket and showing a deft jumper. The Tigers led 37-22 at the half using a balanced scoring attack.

Midway through the third quarter, Fayette County continued to extend its lead going up 40-24. Josh Archer and Mandarius Dickerson struck life into the Panthers and helped Southwest DeKalb close on a 15-4 run.

Nesmith drove to the basket late and didn’t get a foul call and barked at the referee which resulted in a technical with 1.2 seconds left. Hogan sank both free throws cutting the Tigers lead to 44-39 entering the fourth.

Southwest DeKalb’s steady climb back into the game rolled on. At the 4:51 mark, it looked like Gurley got a clean block on Eugene Brown III, but instead a goaltend was called and the lead was trimmed to 46-45.

The Panthers finally took their first lead of the second half off Kadarius Johnson’s offensive rebound and put-back with 4:10 left at 47-46, but the lead was short lived as Phillip Young sank a pair of free throws. Nesmith made it a three point game with 2:50 remaining on a floater.

Jaylen Holloway added on an And-1 layup, but missed the free throw, keeping it at 54-49, but Dickerson came down and drilled a three to make it a one possession game with 2:17 to play. Just six seconds later, the Panthers suffered a huge blow as Dickerson, their leading scorer, fouled out with a team-high 15 points.

With 59 ticks left after weaving around the defense and running some clock, Nesmith tossed another alley-oop to Gurley to extend the lead to 58-52.

Quincy Carter added a layup with 23.9 seconds remaining to make it 60-56 and Archer got a steal, but he missed the frontend of a 1-and-1 with 17.2 seconds left and Gurley grabbed the board and dished ahead to Young who was fouled and drained both free throws. The Tigers iced the game at the line, going 14-of-15 in the fourth quarter and 25-of-29 for the game.

My Take

This felt like an Elite Eight matchup; maybe even deeper. The Tigers look seriously poised to make a deep run at state this year with their bevy of seniors. The only question will be their depth if they get into foul trouble. Noah Gurley was dynamic defensively, blocking seven shots and flirting with a double-double. Four guys scored in double-figures for a balanced offense. Phillip Young is an active and willing rebounder from his guard position and his 12 points and 11 rebounds prove that. The lefty did a good job at getting to the foul line and converted when he was there, going 8-for-8. Fayette County’s excellent free throw shooting as a team will bode well come tournament time. Sophomore Josh Dupree was impressive with his explosiveness and jumper. He put on the quickest and tightest crossover I’ve seen all year in the first half. I would have liked to see him make more of an impact in the second half however as he was shutout over the final 16 minutes. Austin Nesmith is a clean ball handler while Jaylen Holloway brought some energy and toughness off the bench.

I feel like Southwest DeKalb is at its best when they are pressing. They used it on and off and it helped them get back into the game in the second half as they sped up the Tigers. Mandarius Dickerson played very well before fouling out. He was aggressive and it was the best I’ve seen him play in a Panther uniform. Coach Eugene Brown’s depth is fun to watch. He can throw flanks of men out there and each can contribute in their own way. Eight different players scored tonight. Tabais Long didn’t get in, but when he’s available he brings a nice physical presence to the low post. Southwest DeKalb’s aggressive defense led to 15 steals paced by four apiece from Darius Hogan and Kadarius Johnson. Offensively, I liked how the Panthers swung the ball around the perimeter which often led to open shots, even though Southwest only hit two threes outside of Hogan’s opening two from distance. The Panthers could have rolled over and took a beating when they were down 15 at the half but Coach Brown and staff does a great job of keeping them focused and not letting them give in. They fought back and took a lead in the fourth quarter, which is all you can ask for after a large early deficit.

Top Performers

Fayette County
Noah Gurley – 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 blocks
Phillip Young – 12 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Austin Nesmith – 12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals
Josh Dupree – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Jaylen Holloway – 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals

Southwest DeKalb
Mandarius Dickerson – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Josh Archer – 11 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals
Kadarius Johnson – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Darius Hogan – 8 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals
Quincy Carter- 6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals

Heritage rallies from 15 down to stun Southwest DeKalb

No. 6 Heritage 51, No. 8 Southwest DeKalb 47

Down 15 at the half in a hot gym on a late night, Class AAAAAA No. 6 Heritage-Conyers could have easily folded and called it a night. With both Isaiah Banks and Byron Abrams not 100%, no one would have blamed the Patriots for a season opening loss at Southwest DeKalb Showdown III against host Class AAAAA No. 8 Southwest DeKalb. But instead, a team with seemingly no pulse heading into the fourth quarter, found life and stunned the home crowd, 51-47, using a 20-5 run to end the night.

Southwest DeKalb held a 9-6 lead after the first quarter and used an aggressive press to disrupt Heritage. While the Patriots’ veteran guards searched for answers, the Panthers pounced using a deep bench. Jalen Lee entered in the second quarter and brought instant energy as a 6-foot-6 forward. He scored all seven of his points in the frame highlighted by a jam that got the crowd involved and pushed the Panther lead to 21-12 with 1:43 left to play in the half.

Quincy Carter ended the second quarter with a buzzer beater giving Southwest DeKalb a commanding halftime lead, 30-15.

Heritage’s big three, senior guards Isaiah Banks, Byron Abrams and Jordan Thomas combined for just nine points, the Southwest press clearly effecting them as there were chippy moments throughout the game when Heritage tried to advance the ball against the Panther defense.

Eight different players scored for Southwest DeKalb in the first half as the Panthers entered the break 16 minutes away from a quality season opening win.

Any thoughts of an easy rout were thrown out the window as the Patriots tore off a quick 7-0 run to open the third quarter and draw to within 30-22. Josh Archer and Eugene Brown III stemmed the tide however with Archer hanging for a tough bucket in the lane and Brown, the freshman, adding a right wing three to push the lead back to 35-25 at the 3:09 mark of the third quarter and leading to a 39-31 advantage heading into the fourth.

Up 42-31 with 6:37 remaining, Southwest DeKalb took its foot off the gas and called off the press. The result was Heritage’s big three breaking through. Banks hit a three-pointer and soon after Thomas put in an And-1, cutting the lead to 44-39 with 4:13 to play.

Banks then struck again for two more buckets, bringing the score to 44-43, Southwest DeKalb throwing the press back on to try and regain momentum.

Thomas was fouled and sent to the line where he made both free throws, but had his first waved off due to a violation resulting in a tie game and a 13-2 run. With 1:18 remaining, it was Abrams’ turn to hit a free throw giving the Patriots their first second half lead at 45-44.

Banks knocked down two more free throws to go up three. Carter drove the lane for a layup but couldn’t connect with 26.7 seconds left forcing Southwest to begin fouling. Banks, Abrams and Thomas combined to net 19 of Heritage’s 20 fourth quarter points, Banks leading the way with nine of his game-high 19 points in the final eight minutes.

My Take

Heritage did not look good at all in the first half. Southwest DeKalb’s defense frustrated them and a few of the Patriots’ younger players looked like deer in headlights. 6-foot-7 junior JaQuez Hicks was active in the first quarter with two early buckets. He looks like he will be an important piece bringing length into the paint replacing Makyle Wilkerson. The Patriots looked dead in the water heading into the fourth quarter with the Panthers maintaining a steady 10-point lead, but once the press was called off, Heritage gained a full head of steam and their senior guards took over. Isaiah Banks was the catalyst with his rim attacking mentality and his three-pointer at the 6:23 mark ignited the 20-5 run to close. The Patriots’ trio of combo guards are all big and physical. The lack of a true pass-first and ball handling point guard was evident however. Heritage tallied just two assists as a team. Once everyone is healthy and fits into their roles, Heritage is going to be a handful.

Southwest DeKalb has a nice blend of youth and experience. Their press gave Heritage fits. If they kept their foot on the pedal pressing non-stop, I’m not sure Heritage would have been able to string together as many stops and scores as they did. Nine players scored for the Panthers. They won’t be as reliant on a handful of go-to guys like they were with Keith Gilmore and TiQuan Lewis last season. A scoring by committee approach will benefit them for the most part, but down the stretch when they went cold and saw Heritage surge ahead, it would have been nice to have a true No. 1 option. Darius Hogan and Mandarius Dickerson are two guys that should be among the team’s leading scorers this year and both were kept in check with six points apiece. Add those two with Quincy Carter and Josh Archer and the Panthers have a deep backcourt. Eugene Brown III is only a freshman, but I think he will play a big role off the bench for his father. He’s a good shooter and looks like he has high IQ.


Top Performers

Isaiah Banks – 19 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Byron Abrams – 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Jordan Thomas – 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal
JaQuez Hicks – 7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Avante Lederer – 3 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

Southwest DeKalb
Josh Archer – 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Quincy Carter – 8 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 steals
Jalen Lee – 7 points, 1 rebound
Mandarius Dickerson – 6 points, 3 rebounds
Darius Hogan – 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Eugene Brown III – 5 points, 4 rebounds
Tabais Long – 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks

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