Saturday, January 2, 2016

Alleluia, Augusta University, and Josey make Saturday's AugBball schedule

12:30 - Alleluia vs Gwinnett Barons

In the January 1st AugBball Power Poll, I mentioned Alleluia as a team that will not surprise me if it is to make it onto my list of the area's top ten teams. The Angels started slow after losing 6'5" senior Hayden Hebert for several games with a concussion in November and December.

Hebert is one of four Angels who have scored over 1000 career points. So in his absence Mac McBride, Ben Dresser, and others were able to give Augusta Prep and Augusta Christian a good fight.

But one player can make quite a difference. Especially one as good as Hayden. The Alleluia team that will take the court today against the Barons, one of the state's better homeschool teams, should resemble the one I saw beat the North Atlanta Flight, another homeschool program, on the first day of the high school season.

(If you are curious about homeschool basketball, here is a recent article that has been passed around social media.)

3:30 Augusta University vs Pembroke

The last time the Jags played at home, Keshun Sherrill exploded for 43 points and senior Trevor Foreman grabbed six steals on the way to a victory over Coastal Georgia in a special game played in front of every fifth grader in the Richmond County public school system

The Jags then dropped their first two conference games on the road at Georgia Southwestern and Montevallo before rebounding to win at Wingate of the Southland Conference on New Year's Eve.

As always, this year's Augusta University team is very well coached and the players compete fiercely. The medical redshirt loss of sophomore center Vlad Cobzaru and the slow start of other key players have made scoring difficult. Consistent second and third offensive options have not yet emerged.

Sherrill is playing great and is among the nation's leading scorers at 26.3 points per outing. Senior transfer Tommy Williams is the only other player averaging double figures, scoring just under 13 points per game.

But the Jaguars showed resolve in both conference losses, manufacturing points from various sources and remaining within striking distance before coming up short in both games' final minutes. Sophomore Tamyrik Fileds (8.8 ppg) is now a fixture in the starting lineup and he has shown great promise. Freshmen Deane Williams, Aaron Byrd, Ja'shawn Brooks and Tyvez Monroe have all played well in stretches.

Today's Peach Belt Conference home opener will be a great time for players to emerge and for the Jags to earn their first win in league play.

Josey vs WACO (boys and girls)

Today will be my first viewing of two teams I expect to be represented in the first AugBball Power Poll for area girls teams: Josey and Washington County. Josey has earned impressive wins over North Augusta, Richmond, and Evans already this season. And the Golden Hawks have a tradition of excellence that has lasted for many years.

In the boys game, the Eagles have a chance to begin the new year with its second region win in as many tries. Josey defeated Butler at home before the break while playing without senior leader Donald Jordan. Coach Kelly Winstead's team is probably the area's most talented group. Various events have led to inconsistency in the team's performance as Jordan and Domonique Hurst have missed games and the team has yet to get on track.

If we start to see the Josey team I saw handle Cross Creek in early December, region 3A teams will need to take notice, as this team is capable of beating anybody:

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