Sunday, January 10, 2016

Richmond, Lady Razorbacks, Lakeside, Greenbrier, and Cross Creek headline "5A Sunday"

I am writing stories and making videos for what I am calling "5A Sunday*." I'll be updating this post with stories and videos about the weekend's most exciting developments in the 5A sub region.

***I plan to start "3A Monday" on Monday evening.***


11:53 AM (Monday) update:


Lakeside, Greenbrier, and Cross Creek are playing winning basketball


After a three game long opening week to the 5A sub region's schedule, three teams with 2-1 records are locked in a second place tie: Lakeside, Cross Creek, and Greenbrier. All three are playing winning basketball.

In a 55-52 win over Greenbrier Saturday, Lakeside's Kaylen Williams scored 8 of his 15 points after the Panthers trailed 46-42. The fantastic freshman converted a three point play to cut the deficit to 1. Then he answered two Greenbrier free throws, tying the game with a deep three after his defender bothered with a ball screen. Finally he put the Panthers ahead 50-48 after being fouled on a drive to the basket and making two free throws.

I didn't capture his spurt on camera. But I did watch Williams play impressively Friday against Richmond during a second quarter stretch in which Lakeside cut the Musketeers' lead to 11 at halftime. He handles ball screens like coaches teach college guys to. Will Avery tells me his three to tie the game Saturday working off such a screen was from "about 26 feet." During Friday's stretch, he was more conservative, but just as effective.



Williams and teammate Deon Berrien, who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Saturday's win over Greenbrier, are shown in the video directly above.

Greenbrier can't quite get third straight league win

Williams's heroics derailed Greenbrier's hopes for a 3-0 start to sub region play. A deliberate offensive attack helped the Wolfpack get key contributions from six players during the team's two wins over Cross Creek and Grovetown.

Will Avery described junior David Harris as "the heart and soul" of the team. After posting 9 assists against Cross Creek Tuesday, Harris scored 11 points and grabbed 11 boards in Friday's 72-70 win over Grovetown. And Avery had more praise for freshman Richard Crawford, calling him "the best player on the court" during the first three quarters against Lakeside.

Harris and Crawford were impressive in Tuesday's 59-54 region win over Cross Creek, the last time I captured the Wolfpack on camera. Crawford scored 10 second quarter points on his way to 17 for the game.



The two players with the most experience putting the ball in the basket are seniors Justen Hartfield and Jakob Nelson, four year starters and the team's leading scorers. Hartfield averaged 17 points and Nelson 16 in Greenbrier's pair of sub region wins last week. I've been impressed by their maturity, and with Nelson's willingness to attack the basket, with and without the ball.



Jones leads Cross Creek to second straight league win

While Lakeside's Kaylen Williams was unleashing his fourth quarter barrage to stop the Panthers' potential slide to 1-2, Cross Creek's Moses Jones was across town making the gutsy plays needed help his Razorbacks earn a 58-56 home win over Grovetown. Jones led Cross Creek with 18 points, following a team leading 18 points in Friday's 64-58 win over Evans.



Cross Creek leaves the weekend tied with Lakeside and Greenbrier in the sub region's second slot. One thing is certain. The ties will be broken, or possibly rearranged, after the four teams playing very good basketball in the league all meet Tuesday.



I look forward to the following questions being answered Tuesday, when the four teams playing the league's best basketball square off to break, or at least rearrange, all ties:

Will Greenbrier be the first team to challenge Richmond? Will Cross Creek win its third straight and move Lakeside towards the back of the pack?

11:20 PM (Sunday) update:


#5 Richmond looks untouchable


No area team is as hot as Power Poll #5 Richmond. And no team looks more likely to go through league play unscathed. Three Musketeers scored in double figures in Saturday's 61-39 win at Evans.

The region win was Richmond's third this week by a combined 79 points. Add the team's three preceding wins at a holiday tournament in Dublin and the Musketeers have won 6 consecutive games by a combined margin of 151 points. The math enabled will tell us that is an average margin of victory of over 25 points per outing!

Don't let the blowouts fool you. This team is battle tested. Valuable experience was gained in giving up double figure leads and losing to Laney twice and falling to Westside at home. The team now appears supremely confident in each other. And they have good reasons.

DT Stephens scored 18 points to lead the team Saturday after leading the way with 24 in Friday's 81-56 win over Lakeside.



Madison Williams scored 16 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists Saturday.



And Chris Jones made 3 second quarter threes Saturday, finishing with 11 points. Jones, Rashad Calloway, Nick Roberts, Moses Williams, and Jason Weaver make five more proven contributors who impact games.



9:45 (Sunday) update: 

Let's start with the game of the week: #4 Cross Creek vs #3 Grovetown


The weekend's most well played and exciting contest was Power Poll #4 Cross Creek's 59-50 home win over then undefeated region foe Grovetown, the poll's #3 team.

Grovetown (17-1, 2-1) had no answer for 6'2" center Alana Davis, the area's most dominant player. Davis led all scorers with 23 points and scored 7 points on three opportunities late in the fourth quarter, including a nifty finish with her left hand after being fouled.



Davis has played lights out since the day before Christmas Eve, when she scored 32 points in a loss to Laney. She followed that performance with 32 points in a win over Lakewood and 39 in a loss to Ridgeland.

But even Davis was not able to beat Grovetown without the help of stellar play from the Lady Razorbacks' sharp shooting perimeter duo, Nya Daniels and KymMya Thomas. With so much attention paid to Davis, Daniels picked apart Grovetown's zone, scoring 8 first half points making runners and floaters, and burying two fourth quarter threes to give Cross Creek its first second half lead. Thomas also made a key three during that stretch.



Davis (23), Daniels (18), and Thomas (10) accounted for 51 of their team's 59 points. The trio scored all 24 of Cross Creek's points in the fourth quarter in which the Lady Razorbacks out scored Grovetown by 11.

Grovetown will certainly remain a major force during the remainder of the sub region schedule and through the region tournament. The Lady Warriors were led Saturday by junior Destiny Marshall, who scored 20 points and appeared to be on her way to finishing off the Lady Razorbacks after making a sweet pull up in transition and a contested three early in the fourth quarter to give Grovetown a 42-38 lead.



Ayana Collins and Kwajelin Farrar scored 12 and 9 points respectively, impacting the game with extra effort, offensive rebounding, and scores after Cross Creek turnovers.

5:00 PM (Sunday) update:
The first thing I share is Will Avery and my Sunday morning conversation about the first week of 5A hoops. He and I watched 12 5A games in the last 5 days. Check it out and stay tuned for much more.




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