Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Colin Young hits the ground running at Miller Grove; I-20 Connection intro

SUVtv's Marques Burnett and I are connecting Augusta with Atlanta and all the great, 
hoops crazy spots in between in the I-20 Connection podcasts and shows.
Here is a link to episode 1.

Check out episode 2 (above) of the I-20 Connection podcast. SUVtv's Marques Burnett and I bring hoops action and commentary, focusing on the basketball played along the hoops crazy corridor between Augusta and Atlanta.

As you'll see in the game report video below
Laney transfer Colin Young looks to be
at home at Georgia power Miller Grove.
Basketball season is tipping off and we are wasting no time in bringing you some great action. Two of the state's best teams, 6A Miller Grove and 3A East Jackson squared off in a scrimmage last Wednesday. It was broadcast live on SUVtv. Two of Georgia's best players, UConn commit Alterique Gilbert (Miller Grove) and sophomore dynamo Drue Drinnon (East Jackson) headlined the preseason test.

Miller Grove is the winner of six of the last seven 6A state titles. East Jackson has the firepower to be as good as any team in any class the next few years. If the teams and players weren't enough of a draw, the game, in true "I-20 Connection" form, included Laney transfer Colin Young (Miller Grove). And Gilbert is a prized signee at UConn, where Augusta basketball legend Ricky Moore is an assistant coach.

Young's baskets last season were of the highest quality. He made the most of every opportunity, scoring 11 points per game and earning all region honors. His scoring sprees against Saint Francis, Pebblebrook, Norcross, and Washington County, among others, made a huge contribution to Laney's historic season.

But enough with the background information. On with the game report!

It's easy to get wrapped up in the hype of game previews. "Miller Grove's Alterique Gilbert versus East Jackson's Drue Drinnon" or "a battle between two of the state's best backcourts" may have led you to believe Wednesday's (globally streamed) scrimmage was likely to be close. But Brandon Clay, speaking on SUVtv's broadcast, nailed it, saying Miller Grove is probably Georgia's best team and a top 25 team nationally. And coach Sharman White's Wolverines proved it with a 94-68 win on the road against what has to be one of Georgia's most talented teams.

East Jackson's challenge was made clear early as Miller Grove pounded the offensive glass on one end and smothered Drinnon with pressure and plenty of help on the other, establishing an 18-9 first quarter advantage.

Clay nailed it again, saying Drinnon must have been seeing his two years older self (the more polished senior Gilbert) in the mirror. I'll extend that to East Jackson's entire young team. Drinnon, Travis Anderson, Lamont Smith, and others are highly capable. It will be scary if as they age they emulate Miller Grove's no nonsense, north-south attacking, ball moving, and ball hawking habits.

Flashes came during a second quarter as Drinnon started attacking the paint. Trailing 18-9, the gifted guard blew past Gilbert and fed Kamron Walters for a point blank dunk that he missed only to spark a five point East Jackson possession as an offensive rebound led to an Anderson 3. A simultaneous foul off the ball gave East Jackson another possession, and Walters tapped in a miss to cut the Wolverines lead to 18-14 in the first period.

Gilbert answered with a three in front of the student section, the same place where he had drained one to answer an earlier Anderson basket.

But Drinnon stayed aggressive. After getting and missing a high percentage 14 footer, the highly skilled sophomore worked his way deep into the paint and scored after a jump stop, a pump fake, and a soft finish. After seeing the ball go in, he followed with a couple bombs. After trailing by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, East Jackson entered halftime trailing 44-37 with solid momentum.

The momentum extended to the second half's first possession as a Travis Anderson brought East Jackson to within four, the closest the Eagles would get the rest of the night. George Wilson did his best Gilbert impersonation and answered Anderson's trey with his own. From there it was all Miller Grove as the Wolverines scored 54 second half points and took a 94-68 decision.

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