Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Richmond-Lakeside and Westside-Josey showdowns headline Friday's AugBball schedule

On the first Tuesday of area wide region play, Westside added to the pile of poundings it has been dealing to the city's top teams with a 79-52 home win over Butler. And Richmond delivered its biggest smack down of the season, a 69-38 win over Grovetown.

The wins set up two must-see region matchups between two of the area's best, Westside (#3 in Power Poll) and Richmond (#5), who will the surging Josey Eagles and the Lakeside Panthers, respectively:

Friday, January 8 - Key matchups

- Lakeside (1-0) at # 5 Richmond

- Josey (3-0) at #3 Westside (1-1)

A clash between two surging 3A region teams

Make Tuesday the fourth straight double digit win for Westside over a group of teams on the short list of what I consider to be the city's most talented: Butler, Josey, and Richmond. The Patriots have looked absolutely sharp in the past 28 days, winning all but two games (both to the area's number one team, Laney, on the games' final possessions) to open the season:



Trez Hawes led all scorers Tuesday with 28 points.

Josey comes into Friday's game sporting results in region play that I expected when I chose the Eagles as the area's second best team in my preseason special. I sincerely doubt Donald Jordan, Javen Whitehead and company have my Power Poll in their minds. But needless to say, a win at Westside will attach a rocket to the Eagles when it comes to AugBball's poll positioning. But more important to this talented group should be the prospect of starting 4-0 and picking up a road win on the floor of what may be Augusta's hottest team.

Jordan scored 28 points and 34 points the last two Josey games I've seen, most recently in a 66-44 home win over Washington County:



Not only will Friday's game have a significant impact on the 3A region's standings. It also features two of the area's very best players in Hawes and Jordan.

New chemistry gives us an intriguing 5A sub-region clash

With Madison Williams injured early in the season, DT Stephens nicely stepped into the Illinois State bound guard's role. With Williams now at full strength and Stephens coming along nicely (12 points in Tuesday's win), I can imagine Richmond playing at a level higher than at any time this season.

The Musketeers have won their last four games... by an average margin of victory of 26 points!

I can see why. Coach Steve Nobles was quick to remind me that while Williams and Stephens have found chemistry, senior Rashad Calloway has been the team's MVP. There aren't many young men tougher than Calloway.

I have missed Richmond's last four games. And I've only once seen the Musketeers in action when Williams, Stephens, and Calloway all play well at the same time. But I can understand such a team running off four wins by a total margin of 104 points when they play like the group that took down Butler one month ago:



Lakeside also has unveiled a new combination of weapons that features 6'5" sophomore Deon Berrien, who scored 16 points, grabbed 12 boards, and blocked 3 shots, in the Panthers' 66-54 home win over Evans Tuesday.

Another underclassman with an impressive stat line was Berrien's AAU teammate, the fantastic freshman Kalen Williams, who scored 14 points, secured 12 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists. You won't find a better guard than Williams anywhere within driving distance:



Both Lakeside and Josey are as talented as any area team. Both have the chance to establish leadership in the region standings on the home courts of their respective leagues' favorites.

I can't think of a better way to lead into a huge weekend, which ends Saturday with the most exciting evening of girls hoops we will have seen all season.

I'm tempted to think this weekend is special. But my guess is every Tuesday and Friday from here forward will bring its own story... I'll do my best to tell it.

In the meantime, I'll see you in the gym!

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