Augusta is presented its PBC East Division banner before the game. pic.twitter.com/SOEqYxduC9— David Lee (@DavidLeeAC) February 25, 2017
Augusta University followed its Peach Belt Conference regular season championship run with an explosive outing Saturday against Montevallo in the opening round of the conference tournament, topping the Falcons 107-99 at home to advance to this Saturday’s semifinal round against Columbus State at Lander University. Keshun Sherrill once again made an incredible 9 of 13 field goal attempts, including 4 of 6 from three point land, on his way to a game high 29 points. Deane Williams added 19 points, and Aaron Byrd tossed in a career high 18. The Jaguars sport an overall 23-6 record and have locked up a spot in the coming NCAA Division II tournament. But a conference tournament championship is the immediate goal for coach Dip Metress’s squad.
Laney graduate Christian Keeling of Charleston Southern was denied the Big South’s Freshman of the Year award this week despite having won the freshman of the week award 7 times this season after averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds and being the only rookie in the nation to lead his team in those two categories. But Keeling has the right thing on his mind, and that is not off the court awards:
“You forgot the win. That’s the most important stat I wanted,” Keeling said after CSU’s 79-74 win over Longwood Tuesday when reporters asked him about his 29 point, 11 rebound explosion in the first round of the conference tournament. Keeling’s Bucs face the conference’s top seed, Winthrop, Thursday in the next round.
@CSU_Mbball making noise! @BasktballPower leading the way. 2nd Round Bound. Just a few shots w/ Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth pic.twitter.com/SZe3yVnx0E— Brandon A. Baylor (@BBaylorWCBD) March 1, 2017
Elsewhere in college hoops, Matt Miller, who starred on Augusta’s home school high school team, finished his four year run at USMMA as the school’s eighth all time leading scorer with over 1,400 points. He was named to the Skyline Conference’s second team all conference unit after averaging 19.5 points, which was third in the league, and leading the league in free throw percentage.
Finally Ahmed Hill, a sophomore at Virginia Tech and a graduate of Aquinas, is averaging 12 points per game for the Hokies, who have won 5 of their last 6 games in the ACC, the nation’s most competitive conference.
Three area high school girls teams are scorching their ways through the state playoffs. North Augusta, Laney, and Cross Creek have coasted through the post season so far.
North Augusta will face Wilson in Columbia Saturday in the South Carolina class AAAA state championship game after topping Greenville 67-53, in Greenville, in the semifinal game last Saturday. Amari Young scored 26 points and Kiara Jackson added 18 in that win. The Lady Yellow Jackets are seeking not only a state title, but a perfect season as well as they enter Saturday’s game with a 27-0 record that includes a win over Laney and two over Cross Creek.
Laney has looked every bit as dominant in its march to Saturday’s class AA final four matchup with Model. The Lady Wildcats topped Heard County 85-30 Tuesday on the road as De’sha Benjamin led the way with 28 points. The Wildcats’ lone loss this season came to North Augusta on the second day of the season when Benjamin didn’t play. No team has come within 10 points of the Wildcats since her return.
Cross Creek blitzed Henry County 76-52 Tuesday at home in the quarterfinal round of the class AAAA playoffs. Alana Davis, who has signed with Memphis, scored 17 points; KymMya Thomas added 15; and Kianni Westbrook 14 in the win. The Lady Razorbacks face Carver Saturday in the semifinals. The game will be played at Augusta University at 6:00 P.M.
Five area boys teams are competing in the final rounds of their respective state playoff brackets. Laney hosts Dublin Wednesday in the elite 8 round of the class AA playoffs. The Wildcats topped Hapeville Charter last Thursday 72-59 at home in the sweet sixteen round. Fellow class AA squad Josey travels to Early County after picking up a win at Banks County last week.
Aquinas will face Saint Francis at home Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the class A private school bracket after topping Stratford 40-34 last week. Tre Gomillion led the way with 13 points and Trent Bowdre dropped 3 third quarter three pointers to propel the Fighting Irish to victory in that game.
After winning on the road in their first two playoff games, class AAAA’s Thomson will travel to undefeated Upson-Lee to try to keep its playoff streak alive. And Westminster will face Holy Spirit Friday in the semifinal round of the GISA class AAA playoffs.