Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Josey vs Butler: A look forward to (and back at) Region 3A's high profile opening night matchup

The first night of region 3A action promises fireworks if last season's showdown between Butler and Josey was any indication of what we will see Tuesday when the Eagles host the Bulldogs in a matchup of region rivals and two of Augusta's best teams.

Butler currently stands 4-1 after a narrow loss at Richmond Friday, a rematch of the Bulldogs' win a week earlier at Paine College. Josey (2-2) has won two straight games, both at home against Evans and Cross Creek, respectively.

Both teams have a flock of perimeter players who attack the basket, shoot from long range, and defend all 94 feet of the court. Josey's Donald Jordan looked as good as any player has this season in Saturday's 68-60 win over Cross Creek. The senior, who missed Josey's first two losses due to injury, scored 24 points, making 5 three pointers and throwing down a thunderous dunk in transition, against the Razorbacks.

Butler's Jzwa Collier, Jerry Leverette, and Deandre Barton have all factored heavily in Butler's early success. Collier led all scorers with 21 points in Friday's 73-72 loss to Richmond.

Leverette scored 16 and Barton added 11 in the win over the Musketeers a week earlier.

Opposing junior post players, Will Lambert (Butler) and Javen Whitehead (Josey), make up for what they lack in height with athleticism, power, and guts. No inside players I've seen this season play the game more physically or higher above the rim than these two.

Tuesday's game will be hard pressed to live up to last year's duel between the area's top scorer's, Butler's Don Coleman and Josey's Darius Williams. The shot making during the two's back-and-forth first half exchanges was electric. I'll let the video footage do my talking.

In addition to the fireworks from the seniors, last season's big game was my first chance to see Josey's Jordan, who quickly became one of the area's best guards.

With the memories of last season's sizzling beginning of the region 3A schedule in mind, I look forward to this year's edition and the memories it may provide.

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